I’m not there

‘I’m Not There‘ is the title of one of Bob Dylan’s most remarkable songs, mysterious in word and tune. It was recorded as part of his ‘Basement Tapes‘ sessions with The Band in 1967, but not released when the Basement Tapes album was published in 1975, presumably because of the unfinished state of the recording.Read More

Dickensian

What sad news that there is to be no second series of Dickensian, the superlative mashup of Charles Dickens’ characters by Tony Jordan, the Eastenders writer. Over twenty episodes the series ingeniously wove together back stories to Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Bleak House and A Christmas Carol, together with several other characters taken from Dickens’sRead More

The art of the spine

I have just finished reading The Speechwriter, by Barton Swaim. It’s an account of the writer’s experience as speechwriter for the Republican politician Mark Sanford, whose presidential ambitions were crushed by revelations of an extramarital affair. Sanford isn’t mentioned by name but is readily identifiable, and I found the the book to be an awkwardRead More

Letters from Sancho

It’s always fun to play that game where you choose the person from history that you would most like to meet. Of course it would be fascinating to meet Cleopatra, or Socrates, or Dante, but language problems would hamper the encounter. So then among the English-speaking I could pick from warriors, composers, thinkers and writersRead More

13 unread classics

Next up, a confessional list. Here are 13 great novels that I have failed to finish. They sit there on the shelves, bookmarks positioned halfway through, taunting me for my lack of staying power. Characters with their lives unfinished, stories left hanging, conflicts unresolved, lessons unlearned. Such books are different to those classics I haveRead More