Wednesday
20
November
2013

Red December issue

 

 

 

Red’s December issue features a celebration of the art of letter-writing, including Shaun Usher’s Letters of Note, which I love, and Simon Garfield’s addictive study, To the Letter: A Journey Through a Vanishing World.

There was also a chance to mention my favourite Marilyn Monroe letter, which comes from the Letters of Note website:

 

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Sunday
27
October
2013

Downton Series Four, Episode Six

 

 

It sounds uncharitable to say it, but I just don’t know how much more of Downton I can take. I have started surreptitiously watching The Paradise on BBC1 on Sunday evenings (surreptitious because I have to fool myself into watching it as I just can’t get caught up with watching anything else). And The Paradise is so much better than Downton! They have a crazy lesbian French lady retailer who is really into lavish firework displays! I’m blogging the wrong series.

Here’s the review of Episode 6 of Downton. Beware spoilers. At least there are only two more episodes to go.

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Sunday
27
October
2013

Review: What the Frock in Exeter

 

 

Very entertained by this review of Saturday’s What the Frock comedy in Exeter (complete with evidence of my transformation into the undead). We did our best despite a double booking with a zombie disco…

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Sunday
27
October
2013

Fab children’s reads

 

 

Here’s a few of my favourite children’s books in Red. Very pleased to see this week’s Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize has gone to Rebecca Stead for Liar & Spy — great book.

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Sunday
27
October
2013

BBC R4 Front Row: Raving at Hampstead Theatre

 

 

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row about a new play, Raving, at Hampstead Theatre, starring Robert Webb (Peep Show), Sarah Hadland (Miranda) and Tamzin Outhwaite. Since this was recorded, it has had stinker reviews. Two stars pretty much everywhere: “A collection of slack stereotypes” — The Daily Telegraph. 

As you can tell from the radio review, the play has its flaws — and where the writing isn’t as tight as it could be, the acting basically has to make everything work. But it’s a comedy and a comedy should be judged a success by the noise in the room. And it was the loudest rumpus I had ever heard at a press night. (Where, famously, no-one is supposed to laugh. Because it’s against the Critics’ Charter or something.)

Note: I was very sad not to meet Elizabeth Gilbert who had pre-recorded her item. But enjoyed meeting Sarah Thornton, who was on to talk about who buys what in the art world.

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Monday
21
October
2013

Downton Series Four: Episode Five

 

This is worrying. I think this series may be IMPROVING. But it is Too Late, Uncle Julian. Too  Late.

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Monday
21
October
2013

Eat, Pray, Love: The Next Chapter

 

 

I can’t say enough good things about Elizabeth Gilbert’s wonderful new novel The Signature of All Things. I really did not think I wanted to read a novel about a 19th century botanist, and I resisted my proof copy for a couple of months because of that. But I was wrong. I really did want to read about a 19th century botanist, Alma Whittaker, and she’s one of the greatest heroines I’ve come across in a long time.

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Monday
14
October
2013

Downton Series Four: Episode Four

 

 

Thankfully this was a return to form (not that Downton Abbey has any reliable form), as most of the commenters seem to agree. In fact it almost felt like an apology for last week’s shenanigans. Which I won’t go into here for (a) fear of spoilerising and (b) fear of recurrence of my post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Sunday
13
October
2013

Baking Bad: The duffin/cronut craze

 

Not the first piece written on the cronut/duffin craze (in today’s Observer) and it won’t be the last. The most irritating thing about this “Franken-pastry” story, which has particularly caught the American imagination, is that all it does is make you want to try the hybrid sugar vehicles in question to judge for yourself. Which makes it all into a big marketing exercise. I’ve held off the Starbucks duffin for now. But this won’t last.

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Saturday
12
October
2013

“Selfish Mother: Love Your Life and Your Kids”

 

Very proud to be part of this brilliant new idea: a website celebrating Selfish Mothers. Being a decent person and parent is all about what they tell you on a plane: put on your own sodding oxygen mask first before you try and save anyone else.

Of course, I would say that, though, wouldn’t I? What other way do you justify doing 100 gigs in 100 nights? “When it comes to being a selfish mother, I have quite literally written the book on it. You can’t get more self-centered than doing something you want to do just because you want to do it for a hundred consecutive nights. Something which you do for the love of it and to scratch an itch and because you know you have to. I neither regret it nor would I recommend it. But it made me understand that sometimes it’s OK to be outlandishly selfish, as long as there’s an end in sight.”

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