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Friday 08 October 2010
Born above a brothel in a rough sea port, a tenth child of mixed-race parentage, she should have had no future beyond the streets or factories. But Shirley Bassey has shown that even a triply underprivileged black Welsh woman could make it to the giddy heights of showbiz. This is the story that John Williams tells in this fascinating book: the way in which she negotiated herself into another world.
Thursday 30 September 2010
Friday 16 July 2010
She's 00-Devon ... West Country soul star Joss Stone was unveiled as the latest Bond girl today.
Tuesday 29 June 2010
This column began with high hopes of sustaining a series of stories on rappers-turned-actors.
Tuesday 18 May 2010
We are used to fine wines that hail from New South Wales. But old south Wales? What a turn-up. Richard Morris, who runs the Ancre Hill Estates vineyard in Monmouthshire, deserves congratulations for producing White Welsh Regional White 2008, which has been praised by three major global wine competitions.
Sunday 28 March 2010
Thursday 25 March 2010
Police have re-opened their investigation into the death of Dame Shirley Bassey's daughter almost 25 years ago.
Wednesday 24 March 2010
Fresh inquiries are being made into the death of Dame Shirley Bassey's daughter after the family of a convicted killer's victim handed detectives fresh information.
Sunday 21 March 2010
Here's what the Human Library website says about journalists: "In human circles also known as the parasite. The leech that sucks your blood and spills your guts in a global forum." Thanks for that.
Friday 19 February 2010
The news this week that Terra Firma, the troubled equity company and current owners of EMI Records, is trying to sell Abbey Road Studios, in St John's Wood, London, has music fans around the world justly concerned about the fate awaiting the recording facility. When John, Paul, George and Ringo named their last album after the EMI studio facility in 1969, they turned the zebra crossing into the most famous rock landmark in London and a tourist magnet. But, even before the Fab Four, the grand Georgian house that EMI bought for £100,000 in 1929, had seen its fair share of historical moments in its three studios. In November 1931, Sir Edward Elgar conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in a performance of "Land of Hope and Glory" to mark the opening of Studio One. The following year, the composer invited a 16-year-old Yehudi Menuhin to record his Violin Concerto in B Minor for EMI's HMV label. The Second World War saw the recording of government propaganda and also the last session by bandleader Glenn Miller in September 1944.
Friday 01 January 2010
'The Map of Me: True Tales of Mixed Heritage'; 'The Swimming Pool Library' by Alan Hollinghurst; and tons of short stories for the BBC National Short Story Awards, for which I was a judge last month.
Friday 30 October 2009
In the true tradition of the BBC's Electric Proms, acts performing this year were challenged to reinvent their music.
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice/My Real War 1914 - ?, The Vaudeville Theatre/ Trafalgar Studios, London
Thursday 22 October 2009
There may come a day when you will have to have featured in a viewer-voted TV talent contest to do anything of note in London theatre – not just star in a West End show, but direct Shakespeare, run a flagship national company, the whole shebang. So I suppose we should be relatively calm about the containable fact that an X Factor finalist, Diana Vickers, is currently failing to add either lustre or plausibility to Terry Johnson's energetically mediocre revival of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Jim Cartwright's lovely blowsy-yet-poetic Northern tragicomedy which was first seen in a production by the young Sam Mendes at the National in 1992. The blame lies not with Ms Vickers, but with the misguided producers.
Tuesday 29 September 2009
Sunday 26 July 2009
This London band’s third album is undoubtedly their most focused and consistently engaging.
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
- 1 'Kidnapped boy may have been abused and murdered by VIP paedophile ring,' say police
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football