With all this talk of the NSA and its activities, espionage has stormed back onto the front pages. Perfect time to publish a spy novel set in China, the USA and Germany, one should think, and cometh the hour, cometh the man in the form of Olen Steinhauer. That surname suggests another Nordic star but [...]
Archive for April, 2012
The standoff earlier this month — “Philippines Warns China in Naval Crisis” — between a Filipino warship and two Chinese surveillance vessels was ostensibly about disputed fishing rights in an area of the South China Sea where both countries claim sovereignty. This is about something more controversial than shark fin soup, though. China wants to [...]
“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami.
Here’s my mother’s recipe for smoked haddock, a dish that appears on the home table on Fridays. This serves four, by the way: 500g smoked haddock 1 onion 2 carrots nut of butter 1/2 cup of milk 1 tablespoon of white flour salt and pepper Preparation: Cut the haddock into four strips and dust with [...]
Everything that people admire about the Japanese: their reverence of tradition, their dedication to craft, their respect for family, their work ethic, their politeness towards customers… is captured in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a documentary about 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono. Filmed in his Tokyo restaurant, it focuses on his work and his relationship with his son and successor, Yoshikazu.
With the Olympics drawing nearer by the day, interest in the host city is at a new high, which means that John Lanchester has picked the perfect time to issue his latest novel, Capital. When we first meet Usman Kamal in the book, he’s assisting his brother, Ahmed, who runs a shop at the end [...]
On this day in 1971, US National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger took a phone call from the poet Allen Ginsberg. The icon of the Beat generation proposed a meeting between the Nixon administration and various peace advocates to discuss ending the Vietnam War. Snippet: Ginsberg: I am calling to request partly of Senator McCarthy… My [...]
One of the world’s greatest festivals, the Feria de abril de Sevilla, kicks off on Tuesday and runs until Sunday. There will be eating, drinking, singing, dancing of sevillanas, handsome men wearing the traje corto, beautiful women attired in the traje de gitano, horses and, especially, bulls.
In 1997, a group of Mancunian musicians who were watching the BBC drama The Singing Detective, had an epiphany when the Philip Marlowe character said that “elbow” was the most sensuous word in the English language — not for its definition, but for how it feels to say it and how it looks on the page. They immediately decided to call their band Elbow.
In 2008, Penguin Press published Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, a book on the effect of the internet on modern group dynamics by Clay Shirky, who says it’s about “what happens when people are given the tools to do things together, without needing traditional organizational structures.” The title, Here Comes Everybody, [...]