Category: Blog

Total 79 Posts

‘Everybody Dies’: bodies in art

Sam Mendes’s current production of King Lear at the National, starring Simon Russell Beale, is fascinating in many ways, perhaps the most notable being the ramping up of the body-count of this bloody play. In most stagings, the Fool disappears, his death referenced in a passing sigh, “my poor Fool… Read more

My turn, Straight Pride UK

A student named Oliver Hotham posted the following on his blog. He had contacted an organization called Straight Pride UK (yes, apparently not a parody. Who knew?), telling them he was a freelance journalist, and asking some questions. They sent him a press release. Noting that some of his queries… Read more

The Mystery of the Albert Hall

What is the Albert Hall up to? Despite my best endeavours, damned if I know. Summer is Prom season for many. At the Albert Hall, it is also queuing season, whether you’re a Prommer or have bought a seat. The Albert Hall ushers are now all armed with scanners. Your… Read more

What your mother never told you.

I had a recipe published in the Guardian yesterday. The Graun cut out all my footnotes, for space reasons I presume. I hadn’t realized how many chicken-soup enthusiasts there were out there, and there have been lots of additional queries. So in the hope that the footnotes will solve some… Read more

Selfridges, history and TV: a rant

In 2008, I reviewed Lindy Woodhead's book, Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge. It was, by a long way, one of the worst books I had ever read: sloppy, repetitive, self-contradictory and filled with factual errors. It has, of course, now been made into a television 'period drama'. I reprint my… Read more

Bad Writing at its Best

Oh, happy, happy day, the Bulwer-Lytton prize for the worst opening sentence in a novel has announced its 2012 winners (here). The prize has a long and proud history. Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton was a 19th-century novelist and friend of Dickens whose books have deservedly fallen out of favour. (Trust me,… Read more

Holyrood bed-trick?

The historian of design Mario Praz reports that, when Darnley was ill at Kirk o’ Field, Mary Stuart had her bed moved to Holyrood, saying she would sleep there: that night, the house blew up. The assumption is she liked the bed well enough that she didn’t want to lose… Read more
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