Barbarian Days

I like to think I’m pretty adventurous. For a pussy. I lived on several continents and travelled to many countries but William Finnegan has me beat. His book ‘Barbarian Days’ chronicles a surfing life that saw him travel the world in search of the finest breaks, from his native Southern California to Hawaii, where he …

Beatles vs The Stones

Just when I thought I’d tapped out my Beatles obsession comes a new book to get me reading about the Fab Four once more John McMillian finds a new angle on the subject through the competition between the loveable mop tops and the big bad Rolling Stones. Up to this point I’d always thought of …

Sun and Shadow

The Beautiful Game is even more beautiful when Eduardo Galeano is writing about it. Better known for his political works, Galeano endears himself to me through his fabulous football book ‘Soccer in Sun and Shadow’. It’s perfect subway reading with each piece rarely longer than two pages and covering some of the most magical and …

Those Feet: A Sensual History of English Football

Having watched yet another highly depressing England world cup defeat at the hands of silky skilled Continentals, I am tempted to throw my hands to the heavens and scream ‘Why, oh Lord, why can we never play with style and grace? But I don’t because I’ve just finished David Winner’s excellent book ‘Those Feet: A …

The Man with the Blue Scarf

What would it have been like to sit for Goya? Or Velasquez? Or Ingres? We’re never really going to know but we will certainly know exactly what it was like to sit for Lucien Freud thanks to Martin Grayford’s book ‘The Man with the Blue Scarf‘. Art critic Grayford sat for a portrait by the …

Fifth avenue. 5am

Sam Wasson’s fascinating little bio of the making of Breakfast at Tiffany’s ‘Fifth Avenue 5am’ not only made me want to review the film it also made me want to re read the book. On doing both I began to realize how different they were from one another and how right Wasson is in declaring …

The Future is Past

Something has been worrying me. Am I living in a present which has completely given up on the future? Pretty much, according to Simon Reynolds in ‘Retromania’ his superb dissection of western societies current obsession with ‘retro’ and ‘vintage’. The brave new world of the sixties, where unless something was modern and new it simply …

Darkness Falls

For a few years in the nineties I lived in Hong Kong and I can still remember the incredible thrill I got from waking up and realizing ‘I’m living in a different continent!” But I can also remember the sense of distance I had from local people, who even if friendly would only be so …

Think Small

I work in advertising! Fuck yeah! I’m the luckiest man alive! How lucky I am to be born in such a time! It’s like the sixties. Except instead of the Beatles we have twitter! I’m just trying to give you an idea of the tone of  ‘The Idea Writers’ by Teressa Iezzi She’s really excited …

Island

This book is so much more than I thought it was going to be. I first became aware of it through a friends blog and instantly loved the angle. An atlas focussed only on remote islands. Awesome idea. What I didn’t realize is the philosophy behind it – the whole questioning of what a map …