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Category: Arts

The Lonely Life of Nina Simone

The Lonely Life of Nina Simone

I step carefully into the deep water and lie down. There’s just the right amount of bubble bath, the lights are off and a red candle flickers in the steamy haze, lighting up the walls. The hot water embraces every bit of me, I’m hugged, my eyes close and I start to relax. I’m listening to I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free by Nina Simone and I decide that this is my lockdown song —…

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Drawing Bella’s Curves

Drawing Bella’s Curves

Whether we are all alone or squashed together, working or not, worried or relaxed, everything has changed because of coronavirus, and this feels deeply unsettling for everyone I know. The death rates are mind-boggling. How will we get out of this? What was true last year is now nonsense, things we now know to be true were unthinkable a few months ago, and nobody has a clue what the world will look like once the virus is under control (if…

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Treasures of the British Library

Treasures of the British Library

Every book published in the UK and Ireland is deposited, catalogued and archived by the British Library at St Pancras in London. So, having just self-published my own book, I decided to go there and have a look around. The British Library receives around three million new books every year, along with a huge number of newspapers, maps, scripts, databases, music recordings, drawings, films, digital content, magazines, and all sorts of other tasty fruits picked from our fast-growing cultural and…

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Review: Foo Fighters

Review: Foo Fighters

We arrived late for Sunday’s Reading Festival because we were only there to see Foo Fighters. It’s a mainly young crowd here — a grubby throng of demob-happy teenagers, although I hear the average age went up on the Sunday — so, heads down and sunglasses on, we grabbed a quick cider and headed straight for the main stage. The mighty Foo Fighters. One of the last remaining bastions of rock ‘n’ roll. But it’s not old school, it’s better…

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Shakespeare at the Globe

Shakespeare at the Globe

We all stop talking and turn to watch the cast of Twelfth Night sashay out on to the stage. I am visiting Shakespeare’s Globe on London’s South Bank – a replica of the Elizabethan playhouse where William Shakespeare was playwright, actor and co-owner between 1599 and 1613. A circular thatched roof covers the stage and three tiers of seats, but my £5 ticket has me standing in the open-air yard, thrillingly close to the action. Patches of blue peep through the…

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Review: Jo Whiley’s 90s Anthems

Review: Jo Whiley’s 90s Anthems

DJ Jo Whiley, perennially cool in her baggy gold top, tight black trousers and floppy blond hair, stood atop a big flashing screen at the Henley Festival and took us on a musical stomp through a collection of dance anthems and Britpop classics from the Nineties. The audience danced wildly and sang along with gusto to the familiar sounds of Funk Soul Brother by Fatboy Slim, I’ve Got the Power by Snap, Ride on Time by Black Box, Set You…

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