Monthly Archives: November 2011

It Really Is Time

This Australian ad has been seen by millions, but it’s worth running again. Daily Mail readers, look away now.

2011: Welcome To The Decade Style Forgot

I never dressed cool. In my teens I was broke so it looked like I was wearing outfits cast off by circus clowns. My favourite outfit was an orange nylon polo-neck shirt with velcro fastenings, bought from one of the catalogues my mother then sold. I looked like Simon Dee. In my twenties I went […]

Re:View – ‘Pippin’

I can’t help thinking that the Menier Chocolate Factory is a victim of its own success; lately too many shows have been chosen for their ability to transfer to the West End, and too many have disappointed since the genius reworking of ‘Sunday In The Park With George’. Now comes the Stephen Schwartz/ Bob Fosse […]

If You’ve Been Naughty This Year, Start Running

One From The Tabloids: The Scottsdale Gun Club in Arizona is offering families, including toddlers and babies, the chance to pose against a festive backdrop with their choice of gun for their Christmas cards. The club, which is taking the pictures for the second time after hundreds flocked to the event last year, have called […]

The Twitter of 1860

As if I don’t have enough to read, with reviews and award-hopeful books to plough through by the caseful, the British Library (which is right on my doorstep) is making available more than 4 million pages, drawn mainly from 19th-century regional newspapers, which were previously kept in decent obscurity at the library’s newspaper archive in […]

Goodbye, Mr Naughty

Ken Russell, iconoclastic director of ‘Women In Love’, ‘The Devils’ and ‘Tommy’ has died at the age of 84. The archetypal naughty boy, he directed BBC biographies of musicians that gave way to excessive satires and biographies, including ‘The Music Lovers’ (Tchaikovsky), Liszt (‘Lizstomania’), Valentino, Mahler and Isadora Duncan. Much of his work remains unavailable […]

More Christmas Foreign Films

My first selection of Christmas movies wasn’t deliberately picked from Western Europe (see Comments) – I wasn’t planning to pick one from every country, just some I’ve enjoyed. Besides, a lot of the Eastern Europe films I’ve seen lately as a member of the European Film Academy have been incredibly depressing, so a very slow […]

Mummy And Daddy Are Stoners

The Guardian is running a piece today about a right-on children’s book on cannabis. ‘It’s Just a Plant’ is written and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés, whose work recently graced the bedtime story bestseller ‘Go the Fuck to Sleep’. Recently reissued, it follows Jackie, a girl who smells dope and goes to her parents’ bedroom to […]

Go Directly To Jail, Eat Dinner

Wild mushrooms en croute, guinea fowl, quince jelly. The Clink restaurant at HMP High Down in Sutton, Surrey is a gourmet restaurant at the centre of a prison for 1,100 criminals where the prisoners themselves cook and serve food. The Clink is not on the outside of the prison, but bang in the middle of […]

Ten Great Foreign Films For Christmas

At Christmas I won’t be watching M&S ads and X Factor specials on TV but my favourite foreign films. You know the accepted list; in the same way that Hollywood Top Tens place ‘Citizen Kane’ at the start, there’s usually ‘Jules Et Jim’, ‘A Bout De Souffle’, ‘Les Enfants Du Paradis’ and so on. I’ll […]