There’s something thoroughly un-British about spontaneously bursting into applause

11th September 2019 ‘If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands’ is a hideously repetitive nursery song many of us were brainwashed with as children – which perhaps explains the spontaneous applause when Speaker Bercow resigned in the House of Commons earlier this week.  Ultimately, it is a mass behaviour. Watching Bercow’s resignation at home, [...]

CARRY ON UP THE ZAMBEZI: ALEXANDRA FULLER’S ‘TRAVEL LIGHT, MOVE FAST’ REVIEWED

7th September 2019 I loved this book so much I was appalled. Why, when bookshops are stacked full of memoirs by authors who can’t write, isn’t Alexandra Fuller heaped up in perilous piles so near the till it’s impossible to evade her? This is like one of the most alluring Svetlana Alexievich testimonies, as if [...]

‘Bob Dylan? He’s like Confucius’: Cerys Matthews interviewed

31st August 2019 ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ was a Christmas classic for more than half a century until people suddenly began to worry that it was about yuletide date rape. ‘It was because of the video Tom Jones and I made,’ says Cerys Matthews, in her smoky Welsh lilt. She recorded a cover with Jones [...]