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Sunday 24 November 2013
Having for more than 50 years travelled mentally in Stateside realms of literary gold, Iain Sinclair trekked round North America in person in 2011 “hoping to reconnect with the heroes of my youth”. These included the Beats Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and William Burroughs, among other mavericks and rebels whose artistic visions burgeoned, coast to coast, in avant-garde hothouses of the 1950s such as Black Mountain College in North Carolina where the new leading (albeit then underground) lights of Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Ed Dorn, and their ilk were kindled.
Sir David Attenborough wants Professor Brian Cox to take his throne. But who else could be the face of natural history?
Thursday 31 January 2013
Saturday 27 October 2012
This fictional portrait of Jesus's mother breaks with tradition to deepen her humanity
Monday 02 May 2011
Sunday 12 September 2010
I thought carefully about whether or not to include Margery Allingham in this column. She's hardly ever out of print, and many readers know her name, even if they haven't read her. However, very few of them have really got to grips with her books. The ones who have are passionate fans, and she has her own society which holds literary events throughout the year. For many years I had her wrongly pegged as an Agatha Christie knock-off, until I took time properly to read her prose.
Friday 18 June 2010
If you think that title sounds bland, wait till you see the movie.
Saturday 03 April 2010
Through the fug of spray, wisps of copal incense and blockade of human-sized candles, the band at the back of the church crept into life with the Pink Panther theme tune. I grinned widely. The locals clearly had a sense of humour on this, the most solemn day in the Catholic calendar.
Friday 27 November 2009
Friday 25 September 2009
In a typical US diner, a waitress serves a cross-section of society.
Tuesday 16 June 2009
Sunday 31 May 2009
Glenn Close has come and gone. Forest Whitaker has come and gone. But this season – the last in this quite extraordinary series – has no need of guest stars to make it special. Vic Mackey, surely the most corrupt cop ever to take the lead in a TV show (murder of a fellow officer, abduction, torture, robbery, drug kingpin...) is about to get his comeuppance. And the end, when it comes, is not far off rivalling The Sopranos for sheer gob-smacking brilliance.
Friday 28 November 2008
Though some of its inclusions are odd – are Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation or Oliver Stone's Platoon really B movies? – this appreciation of 50-odd "low-budget beauties" will remind film buffs of such hard-core examples of the genre as Monte Hellman's laconic Two-Lane Blacktop (Warren Oates: "I go fast enough." James Taylor: "You can never go fast enough") and John Boorman's deep-noir Point Blank. It also whets our appetite for such obscurities as Budd Boetticher's Seven Men from Now, a 1957 cheapie described as "not just a terrific Western, it's a cinema masterpiece", and even The Rage: Carrie 2, "far richer and more absorbing" than the original.
Friday 16 May 2008
"When a butterfly leaves the safety of its cocoon, does it realise how beautiful it has become?" And when a writer-director christens his main characters Love, Happiness, Pleasure and Sorrow, does he realise what a prat he looks?
Sunday 20 April 2008
The big bands might not be coming back but the form won’t go away. This incredibly assured debut from composer/arranger/saxophonist Richards and a 20-piece aggregation of young, often Royal Academy-trained players with Gwilym Simcock on piano, adopts a Maria Schneider or Vince Mendoza method with more sighs and whispers than rasps and growls. It’s at its best on the opening track "Dropping Pennies", with a show-stopping duo for Simcock and vibes-man Jim Hart heard between ticking rhythms and subtle reeds and brass harmonies. This is truly thrilling stuff.
Thursday 28 February 2008
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'