Culture

On The Thrown

[J]ust how effective is it to insult someone in an alien cultural idiom? Bush, naturally enough, looked bewildered, but he ducked speedily and seemed none the worse for wear afterwards. Gordon Brown, I suspect, would have stolidly absorbed the blows; Obama would probably have caught one shoe in each hand before throwing them across the […]

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Let’s Saint George!

While I’m on a Radio 4 kick, I heard Mark Lawson interviewing the soon-to-be-stepping-down Andrew Motion and Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, on Front Row yesterday evening about the appointment of the next Poet Laureate. Apparently, although they were quick to say it wouldn’t be a TV talent contest, there’s going […]

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More Happy Stuff

It’s one in the morning. About fifteen minutes ago, I got back from working hard at a delightful wedding. Thanks to Jason Hare, I’ve just read this piece by Stephen King about the joys of junk culture and listened to Petra Haden’s uplifting and progressively sillier cover of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’. I’m grinning like […]

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Scissored Sisters

The official name for the place where I live is “Brighton & Hove”. A friend of mine was recently asked at interview to characterize the difference between Brighton and her non-identical Siamese twin town and came up with something along the lines of Hove being a respectable older aunt and Brighton a wayward younger sister. […]

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Overheard In New York

Someone at Harry’s Place comments that Until now, I thought Gwyneth Paltrow was Welsh.” which reminds me of being in a video rental store in NYC in the late 90s with a local. An old Tom Jones song starts playing. “Well, I never,” says I to my native companion in my conspicuously British way, “This […]

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A Magician

When I was a kid I was fascinated by a 3-D photo viewer called the View-Master. Last night as I lay in bed with my ThinkPad having finished off my latest post on the Wedding Photography Blog, I followed Design | asides from my blogroll there to the Magnum Photos site and experienced the same magic I […]

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How Cool Is This Man?

I’ve just had one of those “ain’t life sweet?” moments: finally, after a long hot drive home from my parents’, I got to eat my dinner whilst I listened to the BBC Radio 4 Front Row special about musician and producer Quincy Jones. Asked about his famous Las Vegas live recording with Frank Sinatra, he begins: […]

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Yo Ho Ho

Mainstream hip-hop has become cock rock in blackface. Twenty years from now we will look back and laugh ourselves silly that it was possible for a lardy munter like the stupidly named “Notorious BIG” (that’s “Bee-Eye-Gee”, ladeez) to be Number One in the UK charts with an unironic Feed-The-World style ensemble display of sexual bragaddocio […]

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My Life!

As at least one of my Jewish friends will testify, it was during my years living in a North West London flat with a caricature of a Jewish grandmother for a resident landlady (rather than my time in the kosher house on Osney Island) that members of the Global Conspiracy stole my brain and replaced […]

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A Case For Dylan

This morning (whilst looking for something else of course) I stumbled upon this post entitled “Even Dylan Hates Hippies” from the ‘Blog the zoo last year. I thought I should share an extract with you (and not even the bit containing the phrase “Rasta wannabe”): Earlier this week Bob Dylan released his memoirs, and in […]

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Instant India

The online Indian superstore, Memsaab, offers the complete Bollywood experience—“Ideal to create that Indian ambience in any home!”—in a box. For the giveaway price of £39.99 you too could be moving your head from side to side in time to the funky massed strings of the Transglobal Outsourcing Orchestra. According to their site, the contents […]

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Russian Dolls?

A while ago I wrote about Bratz dolls in a flippant way. It seems I didn’t take the subject as seriously as it deserved. Charles Laurence in the Sunday Telegraph has been reflecting on the usurping of Barbie by the Bratz: In toy terms, this is an upheaval on the same scale as the fall […]

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