Homage to Catalonia

One of the pleasures of lockdown is to read and also reread. It’s been a long time since I picked up a George Orwell book, decades in fact, but I was moved to take up his classic depiction of fighting in the Spanish Civil War to be reminded in an age of keyboard social justice …

Sheltering in Place

One of the few delights of being holed up in your tiny apartment for weeks at a time is a chance to revisit some favorite books. With not much else to do, you can also enjoy the added benefit of truly concentrate on what you’re reading.Paul Bowles was an American expatriate who had been taught …

Night Moves

A simple spoken word sound as if he was so laidback, he couldn’t be bothered to sing, Baxter Dury has one of the most distinctive and literate styles in modern pop music.The characters that populate his songs are seedy, often semi-criminal, lounge lizards who are strangely unaware of themselves. They speak to us in a …

Dubliners

Legendary street photographer, Martin Parr, described Eamonn Doyle’s photos as the best he’d seen in years. It’s hard not to agree with that statement. Taken on the streets of Dublin, they are graphic and raw and like all good examples of the genre hint at the lives of their subjects. A book featuring a sample …

Kiwanuka

Michael Kiwanuka’s new self titled album is probably my favorite release of the year. It’s production has a slightly early seventies feeling and is packed with hooks and choruses that would be effective in any era. In short, it’s the sort of album you can put on and leave on

Old Fellas

At three and half hours Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman might be called epic but for the entirely personal and character driven storyline, which drills down onto the films main subjects, hitman Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa ( Al Pacino) and mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci.) The lives lived by men …

African Ambiance

Nouvelle Ambiance revisits 80’s Paris to tell the musical tale of African music made in the French capital. The compilation is full of sunny upbeat grooves, superbly played with that addictive quality that means many of the tracks quickly get under your skin making it the sort of album that you’ll be playing ten years …

Love in a Cold Climate

In Pawel Pawlikowski’s film ‘Cold War’ it’s tough being true to yourself as a musician in Communist Poland. Not only do you have to sing Polish folk songs and tributes to the glorious revolution but you also have a hard time living with the one you love. The films two main characters composer and pianist …

Seymour reads the Constitution

Brad Mehldau is one of the greatest exponents of jazz piano in the world and has released a new album ‘Seymour Reads the Constitution’ with his regular trio that shows the power of beautifully played well-interpreted songs, whether they be by Paul McCartney or Frederick Loewe.

Patrick Melrose

A couple of years ago I saw the author Edward St. Aubyn interviewed at the New Yorker Festival. He came across as shy and self-deprecating with a wicked sense of humor, and if you had never read anything by him, the kind of English gent who might write Evelyn Waugh-ish satires of the upper classes. …