Learning Italian for middle-aged dummies

I don’t own a copy of Italian for Dummies or the ambitiously titled Italian All-in-One For Dummies. If either of these books can fulfil the publisher’s claim of ‘Making Everything Easier’, then it might be time to take the plunge…. Continue Reading →

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Desperate times call for ingenious measures – especially if you’re a writer who has gone out of fashion. That’s the premise of Can You Ever Forgive Me?, in which Melissa McCarthy gives a powerhouse performance as literary forger Lee Israel. In 1991… Continue Reading →

The Favourite: royalty through the keyhole

Director Yorgos Lanthimos’s bawdy, expletive-ridden historical romp, The Favourite, often feels as though it is veering off into Carry On film territory. Centring on the love triangle between Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz), and… Continue Reading →

You Must Remember This – misogyny, madness and monomania in Hollywood

I’ve forgotten where I first heard about You Must Remember This, ‘the podcast dedicated to exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century’. Despite that clunky tagline, this show, which is devised, written and presented with breathy enthusiasm by… Continue Reading →

The Mash Report could do better

BBC2’s ‘satirical and surreal news show’, The Mash Report, returned for a second series last Friday. Sadly, any evidence of improvement in this would-be comedy is about as hard to detect as progress in the Brexit negotiations. It remains an awkward mash-up… Continue Reading →

Brutalism in Bloomsbury: going underground at the St Giles London

A fellow member of the C20 Society has a Twitter profile pic in which she’s hugging one of the concrete walls of London’s Brutalist masterpiece, the Barbican Centre. I didn’t see author and architectural historian Barnabas Calder (@BrutalConcrete) embracing the… Continue Reading →

Never mind the bollards – the London Society talks street furniture

Last night Londonist editor-at-large Matt Brown, author of Everything You Know About London Is Wrong, talked pointless bollards to a sell-out audience of London Society members. I’m not being disrespectful: Matt’s illustrated talk ‘Never mind the bollards’ on London’s extraordinarily… Continue Reading →

Martina Navratilova spells it out for Arron Banks

The highlight of Wimbledon 2018 so far hasn’t been the glorious weather, the form of the young British players or the sight of Roger Federer, resplendent in his new Uniqlo outfits. No, the contest of the week has been the… Continue Reading →

From Battersea Reach to Chelsea buns: the London Society book group

The cast of characters in Penelope Fitzgerald’s Offshore is not a large one. Published in 1979, this short novel charts the fluctuating fortunes of five houseboat owners on the Battersea Reach stretch of the Thames during the early 1960s. We… Continue Reading →

Why blue is still my warmest colour

This picture of a Drizair 1200 dehumidifier isn’t something I expected to be posting on my blog. This spring the latest bit of tech that landed in my flat wasn’t from the Apple store or the growing range of Amazon… Continue Reading →

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