Ho for Hay

Let’s go to the Hay Festival. Three days of books and people, just over the border into Wales. Well, I’d not been to the Festival before now, for all its fame, and it’s been too long since I visited the book town that gave the world book towns. Staying just outside Hereford. A so-so townRead More

Our stories

There is no time for complacency, the next attack on knowledge is about to happen. Richard Ovenden, Burning the Books (2020) The British Library has been a news story of late, and not a happy one. On 28 October 2023 the Library fell victim to a cyber-attack. A criminal group named Rhysida infiltrated the Library’sRead More

Sawdust and spin

‘I saw them play.’ Those are precious words to be said of any notable sporting figure, that you played your part in making them great because you were there in the crowd, witness to their exceptionalism. So I saw Derek Underwood play, the Kent and England left-arm spinner, who died aged seventy-eight on 15 AprilRead More

Living London

One of the great fascinations of early cinema is the archaeology involved. While for later periods of film issues of identification are relatively clear (title, authorship, duration, variations, ownership etc), for early films when the business was young and its nature indeterminate, things are not always straightforward. If you combine this with all the changesRead More

Motion and time

In 1830 two men were born who were to have an immense influence on the creation of cinematography, both technically and aesthetically. Both died in the same year, 1904. Eadweard Muybridge and Etienne-Jules Marey are recognised as the twin pillars on which the art and science of motion pictures were formed. It is a measureRead More

The ideal home

Although a regular visitor to the Lake District, the one lake that I seldom visit is Windermere. Windermere is where the unadventurous go, seeking out cake shops, boating trips or Beatrix Potter-themed attractions. The countryside surrounding the vast lake is attractive enough, in a benign way, but the spirit of the lakes lies to theRead More

Stephen Herbert

On 21 February 1996, the former Regent Polytechnic Theatre at the University of Westminster hosted a film show. It recreated the first exhibition of projected films for a paying audience in the UK, at the same venue, 100 years before. It was entirely appropriate that the projectionist on that centenary day, operating a Lumière Cinématographe,Read More