I was amused to see that Private Eye, Britain’s leading satirical magazine, Britain’s only satirical magazine, is now fifty years old, an event celebrated at a bash recently in London’s Guildhall. Once the most irreverent publication on the newsstands it’s become – The horror! The horror! – a national institution, something of a kiss of death for a publication that is noted for it’s brilliant lampoons of all sorts of people, from pompous politicians to talentless celebrities.
I’ve been reading it on and off for years. It was a regular source of amusement when I was at school, the most... Read More
Thomas the Tank Engine, I confess, was one of my formative influences when I was little. I loved the simple little tales of W. V. Awdry about railway folk, tales that helped with my early reading.
No pre-school Christmas would have been complete, moreover, without seeing Thomas on video, all voiced by Ringo Starr. But I wasn’t being delighted and entertained, you see, I was being indoctrinated; for, according to Professor Shauna Wilton, these stories are not only sexist but they also present a ‘conservative political ideology.’ Ah, so that’s where my politics come from; I’ve long wondered... Read More
What follows is a slightly amended version of a piece I wrote for my personal blog about Rupert Murdoch and News International, a corrective to the hysteria that presently surrounds this whole story. I hadn’t intended to add it here, though it follows on from an article I published under Letters from Ana (No More News of the Screws).
However, there are issues that I think an American audience specifically may not be fully aware of, especially if Murdoch is perceived purely through the partisan perspective of Fox News. There are all sorts of extraneous details now... Read More
I had a date with Kevin Spacey on Saturday. Yes, I did, one I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while. There we were, Kevin and I, an intimate evening for two; or it might have been but for several hundred others!
Off I went to the Old Vic Theatre, tickets purchased well in advance, where he is currently performing the lead in a modern dress production of Shakespeare’s Richard III. Directed by Sam Mendes, the play is being staged as part of the Bridge Project, a touring collaboration between the Old Vic and New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Spacey himself has been... Read More
It is Sunday afternoon, preferably before the war. The wife is already asleep in the armchair, and the children have been sent out for a nice long walk. You put your feet up on the sofa, settle your spectacles on your nose, and open the News of the World. Roast beef and Yorkshire, or roast pork and apple sauce, followed up by suet pudding and driven home, as it were, by a cup of mahogany-brown tea, have put you in just the right mood. Your pipe is drawing sweetly, the sofa cushions are soft underneath you, the fire is well alight, the air is warm and stagnant. In these blissful circumstances,... Read More
Highgate Cemetery, in the north of London, is a fascinating kingdom of the dead, a place I think that people who do not know the city would find completely beguiling; I certainly do. It’s not that old, though parts of it are so overgrown that it gives the appearance of something ancient. A lot of the memorials are built of stone, allowing moss to gain a purchase, unlike marble. As far as I am concerned moss, trees, death and stones all make perfect partners!The cemetery was opened in 1839 as part of a plan to deal with the overflow of the dead. There were other cemeteries created under the... Read More
This is the beginning, the first in a series of Tuesday letters, home thoughts from England! It’s super to have this slot, to be given this opportunity, to be able to communicate with you, as I intend, in a wholly informal manner.
Yes, I do have a ‘you’ in mind, an ideal reader, the person to whom I address my remarks. It seems clear to me, from a fairly brief acquaintance, that most people who read BrooWaha are from places firth of my Sceptred Isle, as are most of the contributors.
So, what I intend to do is to write about life in my country in a loose and discursive fashion,... Read More
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