Monthly Archives: December 2016

The best (and worst) of 2016

I’ve already posted my favourite folk/world music and jazz albums of the year, so here are my  other cultural highs and lows. Best gigs. Audra McDonald, Leicester Square Theatre, Jan. I’ve always found her studio recordings too icily perfect, but … Continue reading

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Leipzig dominated the conversation at the Steinitzes yesterday. A married sister of the wife lives there. When the warning came, the couple ran down to the cellar, the bombs started exploding, and most of their house collapsed. They were rescued, … Continue reading

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Morning fog, Cookham Bridge

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All lit up

Out of step in the Virginia boondocks, a Christmas lights snob learns how to enjoy being gaudy: After the first Christmas, when I didn’t put up any decorations outside our house, the lady next door—a sweet, Christian Secret Service agent—presented … Continue reading

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They take their Nativity play very seriously

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There was one day, unforgettable, when I did go back to Hoxton… I was thirteen or fourteen and had been at Christ’s Hospital for two or three years. Suddenly, after the years of Hoxton’s emptiness, I once more had a … Continue reading

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Homeless, Oxford 

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The man, not the legend

Another biography of Elvis Presley, another opportunity to wonder what went wrong. And to imagine what might have happened if The King had said yes to La Streisand. From my review in The Times: Two years before his death, when … Continue reading

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A singer in search of the right song

  If only she’d sung “Vámonos”, I told my companion after another frustrating show by Concha Buika. I fell in love with her voice the first time I heard her in a showcase in Lisbon a decade ago. She was one … Continue reading

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Hats & Gunners

Arsenal fans at Highbury, 1933. (Via @TerraceImages)

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