Monthly Archives: January 2015

Before Tracey Emin

Debbie Harry in her New York apartment, 1970s. Photo by Chris Stein. [Via PunkAndStuff]

Posted in Music, Photography | Tagged , , ,

Screening history

Can we trust film directors to tell the truth about the past?  If “Belle” and “The Imitation Game” are any guide, the answer has to be no.  And now along comes “Selma”. In The New York Review of Books Elizabeth Drew … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

The perfect placard

At yesterday’s march in memory of the staff of Charlie Hebdo and the other victims of the Paris terror attacks. [Via Arthur Goldhammer]

Posted in France, Paris | Tagged ,


Mrs Oscar Hammerstein, so the story goes, once overheard someone praise “Ol’ Man River” as “a great Kern song”. “I beg your pardon,” she said, “But Jerome Kern did not write ‘Ol’ Man River’. Mr Kern wrote ‘dum dum dum … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Music, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Charlie Hebdo

Awful, awful news from Paris. I have the words of “La mauvaise réputation” rattling round and round in my head: “S’ils trouv’nt une corde à leur goût, ils me la passeront au cou…”

Posted in Music | Tagged ,


Outside my work the thing I care most about is gardening, especially vegetable gardening. I like English cookery and English beer, French red wines, Spanish white wines, Indian tea, strong tobacco, coal fires, candle light and comfortable chairs. I dislike … Continue reading

Posted in Journalism, Literature | Tagged , ,

Cold front approaching

The sky over Cookham.

Posted in Photography | Tagged ,

A cautionary tale for all columnists

In the end, you always risk outstaying your welcome…. From a 2005 British Journalism Review article by Tom Stoppard, whose fascination with the news business dates back to his apprenticeship on the Western Daily Press, a staid broadsheet I used to deliver on … Continue reading

Posted in Journalism, Media | Tagged , , , ,

Americana queen

Early days, I know, but something tells me Rhiannon Giddens’ solo album, due out next month, is going to be one of my picks of the year.  (If you’re a fan of the magnificent Carolina Chocolate Drops, you’ll already know she’s … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged ,


“Well, well,” observed Mr Norris. “Dear me, what a very small place the world is.” “You never met my mother, I suppose? Or my uncle, the admiral?” I was quite resigned, now, to playing the relationships game. It was boring … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Notebook | Tagged