Category Archives: Books

Marriage, Margaret Thatcher & the closet of female expectations

This article first appeared in The Big Issue. Journalism worth paying for (subscriptions available) For years my mother kept an entire cupboard where she used to save up things for my trousseau; the old fashioned concept of a bride’s personal … Continue reading

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What should we read into bookshelf wallpaper?

This article first appeared in The Big Issue Magazine in August 2015 I went to a fancy middle class holiday camp the other week. You know the ones. It was fabulous. We did fencing, crossbows, rode Segways and swam every … Continue reading

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Leaving home: The 60s and getting out

The roots of this Sunday’s Something Understood for Radio 4 are in one song – The Beatles’ She’s Leaving Home and one time: the 1960s. Over the course of the decade young people found greater opportunity through a huge growth … Continue reading

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Celebrity Masterchef: Its part in my downfall

All photos copyright Samira Ahmed. No re-use permitted More in The Big Issue magazine. So I was in heat 4 of Celebrity Masterchef 2015. As the hack in the pack alongside actual showbiz celebrities (Dancer Natalie Lowe, presenter Keith Chegwin, … Continue reading

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On location for HG Wells and the H Bomb

As well as this documentary I’ve written this feature for BBC Culture about how the Atom Bomb changed our culture and imagination. And I discuss it with Robert Elms on BBC London here. Listen from 1 hr 39 minutes. In … Continue reading

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The White North Has Thy Bones: Ice stations, submarines & the woman who swam the North West Passage

Here’s a programme to listen to huddled by the fire, like Jane Eyre with her book of polar wildlife as the wind howls outside. Producer Kevin Dawson came up with the idea of our latest Something Understood  programme about the … Continue reading

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Body swap Muslims & playing “The Jew”

Had a great discussion with David Baddiel and David Schneider on Front Row this week about why Britain was hosting its first Jewish comedy festival. It  made me revisit  this 2009 news film I made on location at the shoot … Continue reading

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Electric cars, the tinned sardine aquarium & the stink of Hearst Castle – an eco-trip through John Steinbeck’s California

This column first appeared in The Big Issue magazine. Journalism worth paying for. A giant eye in an inky mass rose up of the water and beheld me. It was a humpback whale calf surfacing unexpectedly close to the prow … Continue reading

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On The Road with Buddha: The Prince Who Walked Out of His Fairy Tale

UPDATED SEPT 2 What happens when a prince walks away from his kingdom? I love the symbolism and and dream like metaphors of fairy stories. So  a “real life” one is all the more intriguing. I’d been fascinated with the … Continue reading

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Richard Dawkins & the humanist’s dilemma: When faced with Islamic State does “moderate” religious discrimination really matter?

This piece first appeared in The Big Issue magazine – journalism worth paying for. Available from street vendors UK wide or subscription. Blackwell’s bookshop in Oxford has 3 and a half miles of books. It’s a wonderful place. The deputy … Continue reading

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