Tag Archives: literature

Call Me Sir: Ben Kingsley, Fifty Shades of Gray and Victorian erotica

A tech journalist once told me that if watching tv on your mobile phone was such a great idea, loads of people would have been walking around with a primitive giant tv on their brick sized phones long ago. By … Continue reading

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Casablanca: When refugees were glamorous

This was written for the Spectator Coffee House blog, ahead of the Casablanca night at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum on June 22nd, to mark Refugee Week.  “I don’t buy and sell human beings,” says Rick to the rival club … Continue reading

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Aliens, abortion and baby machines: HG Wells & John Wyndham

Woman’s Hour ran a fascinating interview today with novelist Kishwar Desai, about India’s burgeoning  surrogate baby industry. Her exploration of this massive business (an estimated 20,000 babies produced  each year) seems to differ from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale only … Continue reading

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The Fantasies of Youth

Every generation has its teen moral panic exploitation movie. In the 1930s it was Reefer Madness. In the 50s it was Beat Girl (the evils of Soho coffee bars and bongos). For my generation it was 1982’s Mazes and Monsters … Continue reading

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From Roots to Amina: A history of the well-meant liberal hoax

The liberal hoax for a “good cause” has a long tradition. Most bizarre in Tom MacMaster’s defence of his long and increasingly reported fake identity as Amina Arraf, an imprisoned lesbian Syrian blogger, was his claim that he was challenging … Continue reading

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The Truth About The Jam Generation (80s remix)

Since David Cameron claimed class war anthem “Eton Rifles” as one his Desert Island Discs, many political journalists seem to have bought the argument that they are “The Jam Generation”; the subject of a recent Radio 4 series. It seemed … Continue reading

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Whose Bible is it anyway? A discussion on the King James version

After all the celebrations for the poetry and power of the King James Version, I chaired a rather more revisionist public panel discussion for the Royal Shakespeare Company on March 9th. In the atmospheric setting of the Stationers’ Hall, off Ludgate … Continue reading

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When I Lived In Groovy Times – an interview with the Novelist Linda Grant

I spent a fascinating afternoon with award winning British writer, Linda Grant, this week, discussing her timely new novel, We Had It So Good, (published January 20th 2010) about the babyboomer generation and going through photos she’d dug out for my news cameras, to help analyse … Continue reading

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Putting a value on the cost of Bookgifting

Government backtracks on funding for Book Trust Monday 27 December 2010 As the Book Trust charity confirms the government will now help the book gifting programme continue in England, Samira Ahmed reflects on how to put a cost on the … Continue reading

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