Tag Archives: music

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

Posted in Culture, History, Media, Music, Religion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wilderness Years: From Rapunzel to Travolta and General Zod

A blind prince wanders through a Biblical-looking stony desert. The strange coda to Rapunzel is often forgotten, but it’s what I remember most about reading the Ladybird storybook as a child. And it’s where I chose to start today’s Something Understood … Continue reading

Posted in Books, History, Politics, Radio, Religion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Plotting the arc of darkness with Joss Whedon

Here’s a link to my interview with Joss Whedon for Radio 3’s Night Waves on June 12th. We covered his writing for Roseanne, Shakespearean superheroes, his love of musicals — especially Brigadoon —  the way studios treat writers, (take Firefly … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Children, Comedy, Comics/graphic novels, Culture, Media, Radio, Science Fiction/Fantasy, TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Poor Cows and Angry Young Men: 50 years of Kitchen Sink Drama

The director Ken Loach and the theatre critic Michael Billington remember the dawn of the 60s well. “The 50s weren’t bleak and depressing,” spluttered Loach, listening to art critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston explain the grim postwar era that spawned the new … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Film, Theatre, TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Red Velvet: The Victorian womb of the Royal Albert Hall

The first rule of presenting the Proms is.. No one wears red at the Proms. The second rule of Prom club is.. No one wears open toed shoes on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall. (This is apparently a … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Music | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Raise your kids the David Bowie way

As a child David Bowie frightened me. I mean, really frightened me. The lyrics to Space Oddity, overheard on the radio,  left me in existential torment for the lingering death of Major Tom. Then there were those creepy emaciated illustrations on his 70s album … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Education, Film, Germany, Music, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What happened, pop pickers? Teenagers & radio

The decline of the teenage radio listener is not unique to Radio 1. I wrote this piece about the demographic challenge for The Guardian this week. One of my key sources in researching the piece was Will Page, chief economist … Continue reading

Posted in Business/Economics, Children, Culture, Media, Music, Radio | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

My secret life in the Albert Hall: Backstage at the Proms

The first rule of presenting the Proms is.. No one wears red at the Proms. The second rule of Prom club is.. No one wears open toed shoes on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall. (This is apparently a … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Film, Music, TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

America’s sweetheart and the star malfunction: Doris Day and Jennifer Aniston

In Jeanine Basinger’s book on the old Hollywood studios’ star-making system, The Star Machine there is a great little section on how Doris Day became a huge name, while the similarly talented and wholesome Rosemary Clooney did not. Basinger put … Continue reading

Posted in Comedy, Film, Music, TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Swingeing (cuts) 80s: Lessons from The Ghost Town Generation

They were playing the jaunty TV theme tune to “Jeeves and Wooster” on Monday night when guests walked into the Financial Times summer party at Lancaster House near Green Park in London. It reminded me of how much I enjoyed … Continue reading

Posted in Business/Economics, Culture, Education, Film, Music, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment