Monthly Archives: January 2016

Buika is back

As I write in my review [£] in today’s Sunday Times: “There isn’t a voice quite like hers.” The last time I saw Concha Buika perform live, at the Barbican almost a year ago, I couldn’t help wondering if she’d … Continue reading

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Oddities, sporting & cinematic

James Fallows proves he is fallible after all by confessing that he doesn’t like football. One of his readers – an American based in Europe – agrees. He’s being ironic, I think: American football is very “American” in the good … Continue reading

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Early on in the war small-denomination Reichsmark coins began to disappear rapidly, as metal was needed for other purposes. By 1919 all the low-value denominations had vanished. Enter the ersatz Mark and the ersatz pfennig, usually made not from metal, … Continue reading

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Thirty years ago, I was working at the BBC’s Westminster unit, scraping together sound clips for “Today in Parliament” and “Yesterday in Parliament”. When the Challenger countdown began I didn’t pay much attention to the TV monitors on our desk because, … Continue reading

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An early contender for headline of the year, from The Spectator’s Coffee House: Finally, the world has realised that George Osborne is a hottie.

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At full tilt

The musical highlight of my week – no contest. Twenty-odd years ago, I heard them blasting away in the basement of the Time Cafe in the East Village, where the music sometimes competed with the rumbling of subway trains. To … Continue reading

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The political bubble

This is worth reading in full. A perplexed Rod Dreher on the gulf between conservative intellectuals and Trump supporters:

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The literary bubble

I think I posted this on my old blog, but it’s worth repeating anyway. From The Paris Review’s “Art of Fiction” interview with a young-ish John Updike.

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Stat of the day

“The waiting list for a Trabant, a two-stroke, minuscule car produced virtually unchanged from the 1950s to the 1980s, was 18 years.” And the price was prohibitive. One of the scarcely believable nuggets of information from an academic’s assessment of … Continue reading

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To express this ideal, they had a new song, the “Deutschlandlied”. Its initial phrase — “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles” (“Germany, Germany above everything “) — was designed to mean that Germany was more important to people than their local monarch, … Continue reading

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