Category Archives: Culture

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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Bye Bye Baby: The Bay City Rollers & the lost innocence of the 70s

Three ageing rockers are holding up big glasses of milk in a toast. There’s always something poignant about seeing how teen stars have aged, but the Bay City Rollers really were angelic faced teeny boppers, and I am stung by … Continue reading

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The Other Place: A journey into the Underworld with the Witch of Endor

(image from Genius.com) At the age of 6 or so I drew a picture pretty similar to this one in my school RE lesson and it’s been a question in my mind ever since and inspired my latest Something Understood … 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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Only Connect: An encounter with Charles Correa and the power of the empty centre

(Jun 17th 2015) I was saddened to hear the news of Charles Correa’s death. An international name who declared he was proudly an Indian architect first, I was fortunate to interview him for Radio 3’s Night Waves in May 2013. … Continue reading

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We gotta get out of this place: Small town boys & the curse of pop stardom

“I used to scrump apples in the grounds here here,” says Jim Dale, smiling that boyish smile as we sit for our interview in a grand medieval manor house. Now a country house hotel it used to be a school … Continue reading

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Shylock: A Traveller in Time

The film producer Davina Belling once said of Jonathan Pryce that she always uses him as a lesson for actors “not to count their lines when they’re offered a role. He had 20 lines in the whole film [Breaking Glass] … Continue reading

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Desert worlds: JG Ballard, Lawrence of Arabia, Dune & the story of Ishmael

My latest Something Understood for Radio 4 on Sunday April 19th was conceived as a sequel  to The White North Has Thy Bones, about our fascination with the Arctic and the North West Passage. Together with producer Natalie Steed we … Continue reading

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Sixty years on: Has Cinderella on film got trapped in The Valley of the Dolls?

I rather enjoyed the new live action Disney Cinderella. We’re reviewing it on Front Row on Monday Mar 23rd. But the issues raised here still stand. Imagine Cinderella as a anti social tomboy with cropped black hair who acts well, just … Continue reading

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