Category Archives: Culture

The making of The Stars of Sergeant Pepper

What are Mae West and Diana Dors doing on the cover of Sergeant Pepper’ Lonely Hearts Club band? If you feel you’ve heard too much already about the 50th anniversary of  the record, then fear not. Producer Luke Doran (who … Continue reading

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The making of Do Pass Go: boardgames in the internet age

Do Pass Go my BBC Radio 4 documentary, airing on Friday April 14th 2017, has its origins in a piece I wrote about the Libyan dictator General Gadaffi playing chess on TV in the run up to his toppling, and … Continue reading

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The poison that is destroying civility and how to fight it

‘How did you get into first class? You don’t deserve to be in first class. ‘You should be in common class. In fact, you shouldn’t be in this country at all. ‘You don’t deserve to be here. 
Bloody foreigners. Where … Continue reading

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The making of John Ruskin’s Eurythmic Girls

John Ruskin’s Eurythmic Girls is a Radio 3 Sunday Feature which airs this Sunday Feb 26th at 645pm Intellectual and art school champion of medieval art he may have been, but it is John Ruskin’s alleged horror of female pubic … Continue reading

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How to win the coming culture war in 2017

A version of this article first appeared in The Big Issue magazine in January 2017. Journalism worth paying for. Available weekly from street vendors or subscriptions here. History rarely falls into neat numerical decades. I would assert the 1980s (yuppies, … Continue reading

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Adjust your privacy settings now, fool! Reading The Woman In White in the instagram age

  (Warning contains some partial but not big spoilers!) “Habits of literary composition are perfectly familiar to me. One of the rarest of all the intellectual accomplishments that  man can possess is the grand faculty of arranging his ideas. Immense … Continue reading

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Ladybird books: Constructing the future past of modern Britain

I used to visit a beloved university English professor  and his wife. He had won the Military Cross for hand to hand combat in the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945 but never talked about the terrible things he’d seen. … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Children, Culture, Design, Environment, Germany, History, Media, Uncategorized, War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

We’ll get the President we deserve: Suzan Lori Parks on Hillary Clinton & America’s woman problem

“You’ve consumed too much of the Kool-Aid that the man has been serving you.” Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Susan Lori Parks came into the Front Row studio last week to talk about When Father Came Home From The Wars opening at … Continue reading

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When Cathy met Ken: Revisiting Cathy Come Home in Brexit Britain

The other night I watched Ken Loach meet Cathy – or rather the young actress Elle Payne, playing Cathy in a Cardboard Citizens’ staging of his 1966 landmark TV play Cathy Come Home. The production featured many actors with experience of homelessness. … Continue reading

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From Jane Eyre to Mary Poppins – de-coding the Brontes on film

I wrote this blogpost for a panel discussion we held with a screening of Jane Eyre (1943) at the Picturehouse Cinema at the National Media Museum in Bradford last Saturday. Novelist Mick Jackson, Bronte Parsonage Museum arts officer Lauren Livesey … Continue reading

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