The Guardian6 min read
‘It Was A Way To Share Your Musical Experiences’: Why Cassette Tapes Flourished, And Still Endure
Everyone who grew up with a tape deck remembers mixtapes, or compilation tapes, as we used to call them in the UK. They remember sitting with a pile of records or CDs, assembling the perfect order, sending the right message. The narrator of Nick Horn
The Guardian5 min read
‘Unique In The World’: Why Does America Have Such Terrible Public Transit?
“North America really is unique in the world in the lack of good public transit,” the author Jake Berman told me while discussing his new book, The Lost Subways of North America. The oversize, map-laden volume is a slickly designed deep dive into the
The Guardian7 min read
There Goes The Knighthood! How The Crown Blew The Palace Doors Off
It is the beginning of the end for The Crown, much praised for its A-list acting and circa $277,000-per-minute production values, but widely criticised for its screenwriter Peter Morgan inventing dialogue for the royal family in actual and imagined s
The Guardian5 min read
‘If It Doesn’t Smell Like Funk, Something’s Wrong With Your Recipe’: Brazilian Baile Funk Goes Global, Again
Harsh, thunderous kicks; offbeat, crispy cymbals; powerful – sometimes incomprehensible – vocals, all preferably blasted out of sturdy speakers. This is the sound of baile funk, an electronic music born 40 years ago the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Bra
The Guardian5 min read
Obsession, Jealousies And Joséphine: Has Ridley Scott’s New Film Captured The Real Napoleon?
Napoleon Bonaparte is probably the most famous Frenchman of all time and is, according to academic sources, second only to Jesus as the most filmed figure in cinema history. Napoleon is a complex subject whose aura, monstrosity and genius is a perfec
The Guardian8 min read
Wild At Heart: Liz Bonnin’s Mission To Wake Us Up To The Natural World
In April, Liz Bonnin returned from a three-month stint of island-hopping around the Caribbean in a surprisingly upbeat mood. The science and wildlife presenter, 47, is well aware that statement could sound a bit ridiculous. She is careful never to de
The Guardian5 min read
‘It Never Ends’: The Book Club That Spent 28 Years Reading Finnegans Wake
For a quarter century, Gerry Fialka, an experimental film-maker from Venice, California, has hosted a book club devoted to a single text: James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, one of the most famously difficult texts in literary history. Starting in 1995, be
The Guardian4 min read
Mike McCormack: ‘If I’ve One Gift As A Writer, It’s Patience’
Mike McCormack was born in London in 1965 and raised on a farm in County Mayo in the west of Ireland. He published his first story collection, Getting It in the Head, in 1996, followed by three novels that have marked him out as an experimentalist. N
The Guardian8 min read
Pinkpantheress: ‘I Don’t Think I’m Very Brandable. I Dress Weird. I’m Shy’
PinkPantheress no longer cares what people think of her. When she released her lo-fi breakout tracks Break it Off and Pain on TikTok in early 2021, aged just 19, she did so anonymously, partly out of fear of being judged. Now, almost three years late
The Guardian6 min read
‘I Had No Idea It Would Be So Painful!’ Could You Survive The Real-life Squid Game?
My feet are numb. I’ve been trapped in an awkward squat for several minutes, lactic acid eating through my thighs. The 20ft-tall mechanical doll stares mercilessly, her dress orange, her head full of motion sensors, laser precise. At the edge of my v
The Guardian4 min read
Yoko Ono: Her 20 Greatest Songs – ranked!
“I felt like soldiers were dying next to me,” said bassist Klaus Vormann of the scourging Ono-led improvisation that ended the Plastic Ono Band’s set at Toronto Rock and Roll Revival festival. An endless, agonised torrent of wailing feedback and scre
The Guardian6 min read
Pushing Buttons: Why Fortnite Is Suddenly The Most Popular Game In The World Once More
Over the weekend, almost 45 million people returned to Fortnite. The beginning of the battle royale shooter’s’s “OG” event saw the map restored to its 2018 state, back before the entire in-game island was memorably sucked into a black hole. Those peo
The Guardian4 min read
Murky Reflections: Why Sci-fi Needs To Stop Imitating Black Mirror
It’s a tale as old as time: two young people hit it off. They’re living in a vaguely future-ish, vaguely retro world, with the technology to read potential couples for compatibility within the accuracy of a percentage point. A match, and you’re golde
The Guardian4 min read
Robbie Williams’s Tale Is One Of Tabloid Vitriol, But Our Dark Obsession With Celebrity Lingers Still | Elle Hunt
Netflix’s new documentary delivers on its promise of presenting Robbie Williams as you’ve never seen him before, and not just in showing the era-defining cheeky chappy, now rounding on 50, mostly in bed, lounging around in his pants. Its director, Jo
The Guardian5 min read
‘It Will Change The Way We Think About Their Story’: Mythical Archive Of ‘First Beatles Historian’ Comes To Light
Behind every creative genius, there often stands a cast of supporting players. “I don’t care if you’re Charlotte Brontë, James Joyce, or Steve Jobs,” says writer Kenneth Womack. “Nobody does it alone.” He should know, having spent the last three year
The Guardian4 min readLGBTQIA+ Studies
Icky, Pointless, Invasive – Is This The Death Of Sex On TV?
From TV shows such as Sex and the City and Game of Thrones to films including Basic Instinct and Call Me By Your Name, many of screen’s greatest hits are known for their steamy sex scenes. A new report , however, has found that this might not be the
The Guardian4 min read
‘It’s A Civil Rights Story’: How The New York City Marathon Became A Bastion Of Diversity
Today, the New York City Marathon is one of the most inclusive races in the world, often called the world’s most diverse marathon. For instance, in 2021 the race made headlines for including nonbinary runners, among the first to do so, and in 2022 th
The Guardian4 min read
Elf At 20: Will Ferrell Ensures That This Remains A Christmas Staple
The first rule in the Code of Elves is to “treat every day like Christmas”, and that, in a nutshell, is Will Ferrell’s comic style. At 6ft 3in, he’s almost always the tallest actor on screen yet his instinct is to play even bigger, with an ungainly e
The Guardian6 min read
‘We’re Like A Frat House’: Meet Gob Nation, South London’s Oddball Music Collective
“Benefit fraud,” someone jokes when I ask what it takes to sustain a music career in 2023. I am huddled in a flat overlooking south-east London’s Surrey Quays docks with a small cross-section of Gob Nation – the collective name for a universe of band
The Guardian4 min read
The Big Idea: Why We Should Spend More Time Talking To Strangers
The stranger struck up conversation on a delayed flight between Florida and New York. We were both struggling to entertain our toddlers, and we commiserated awhile. After the children fell asleep, he told me he’d recently left the Mormon church. He s
The Guardian6 min read
The Lazarus Project Creator Joe Barton: ‘TV Writers Are Like Antelopes Walking Through A Pack Of Lions’
When Joe Barton was at junior school, he and his classmates were set a project. After being put into groups and given camcorders, they were instructed to make an advert for toothpaste. “Everyone wanted to be in the advert, whereas I wanted to film it
The Guardian5 min read
Love Actually At 20: Richard Curtis’s Imperfect Yet Irresistible Christmas Romcom
Of the many gestures of love, small and, more frequently, supersized, in Love Actually, the one that always stood out to me is of the former kind. Hugh Grant’s prime minister sits in a grand yet cosy drawing room at No 10, alone on Christmas Eve, rif
The Guardian7 min read
‘Doubt Is Exciting’: Cellist Mabe Fratti On Chaos, Curiosity And Climbing Volcanoes
When Mabe Fratti turned 18, she decided she wanted to celebrate by climbing a volcano in her native Guatemala. “I had climbed a couple of small ones and I wanted to climb a slightly bigger one,” says Fratti, now 31. On the ascent, she and her friends
The Guardian4 min read
Poem Of The Week: From ‘Proof …’ By Peter Riley
(6) The Refugee in a sleeping-bag on a steel floor opens his eyes on darkness and wonders did he remember before he left to visit the old holm oak up the fields, to hold the spiked leaf in his hand and listen to what it said? Go, it said, go now
The Guardian5 min read
‘Dull And Unremarkable’ Or ‘Just Fab’? Readers On The Beatles’ Now And Then
As soon as I heard John’s voice in the opening lines, I was transported back to December 1980. A 16-year-old schoolboy sitting in a small empty cafe in an outer southern suburb of Brisbane listening to the track Starting Over on the juke box and mour
The Guardian5 min read
Dennis Cooper: ‘I’m Saddled With This Cult Writer Thing’
Dennis Cooper, 70, was born in Los Angeles and lives in Paris. His novels include The Sluts (2004) and the five-book George Miles cycle, an experimental tableau of disturbingly violent gay desire that began with 1989’s Closer, now reissued as a Serpe
The Guardian6 min read
‘Queer Art Can Be De-sexed – I Don’t Want To Be A Part Of That’: Author Justin Torres On Going Gothic
It is morning in Manhattan, and the 43-year-old novelist Justin Torres is lying in bed, head propped up on one hand. He uprooted to the west coast of America a decade ago to teach English at UCLA, but was out late last night partying with friends fro
The Guardian10 min read
Naomi Alderman: ‘A Writer’s Job Is Courage. You’ve Got To Be As Honest As You Can”
Naomi Alderman, author of the bestselling novel The Power, is just getting over Covid and feeling a bit wiped out. “But don’t worry, I still seem able to talk for England,” she says cheerfully from her home in north London, when we meet to talk about
The Guardian9 min read
‘It Starts With Women Getting Angry’: The Giant Exhibition Giving Art’s Feminist Trailblazers Their Due
The first time the Women’s Liberation Movement landed squarely in the imagination of the British public was 1970. Twenty-two million people watched the Miss World host Bob Hope on TV being flour-bombed by protesters, after he joked that he was “very
The Guardian5 min read
Ashley Jensen Looks Back: ‘Somehow I Got To The Point Where I Was Sitting At An Awards Show With Glenn Close Winking At Me’
Born in 1969 in Dumfries and Galloway, Ashley Jensen is a stage and screen actor. Raised by her mother, Margaret, in Annan, she left home at 14 to study drama at the National Youth Theatre in London. After graduating from Queen Margaret University in
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