Category Archives: Culture

What made America great? On the trail of Laura Ingalls Wilder

It was the 2008 crash that somehow inspired me to finally read the Little House on the Prairie books. I was clearly craving comfort, safety, a kind of nostalgia for a vaguely remembered 70s girlhood in which I half watched … Continue reading

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Filth, fury and the funny way Britain feels about Joe Orton

You never forget your first time. I was 19 years old. I descended into a dark, cramped basement where student actors brought to life a weird, twisted sexual triangle. Going to student drama productions in odd spaces around the University … Continue reading

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Oh Boy! Why certain Radio 1 DJs are missing believed wiped

If you sat down to watch a night of lost pop music TV shows from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, what would you expect to find?  Fun, nostalgia, eye popping colour and experimentation, some great music. What I didn’t expect … Continue reading

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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

Posted in Books, Comics/graphic novels, Culture, Film, Media, Music, Politics, Radio, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Theatre, TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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