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a shaggy dog story

A famous photograph came into my mind today, prompted by a passing mention in the latest edition of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Desert Island Discs.’ The TV presenter Sue Perkins was talking about ‘a difficult time in her life’ after a relationship ended and to illustrate the point, she chose Nick Drake’s ‘Northern Sky’ as one of her 8 tracks. But what caught my attention... read more

thanks to the unthanks

The latest chapter in a musical story I have followed for the past three decades is currently being played out at venues across the UK. The Unthanks – sisters Rachel and Becky with a wonderfully sympathetic band of supporting musicians – are touring their show ‘How Wild The Wind Blows,’ featuring the songs and poems of Molly Drake. Regular visitors to this blog will know Molly as... read more

nick drake remembered

Forty years ago today, the singer-songwriter Nick Drake died. You will find many tributes elsewhere on the web and in publications large and small. But I thought you might enjoy reading a couple of previously unpublished pieces, written nearly a decade ago, about two encounters from my own journalistic pursuit of Nick. The first with his mother Molly and sister Gabrielle in 1992. The second with the actor... read more

stereo works of art

3D is going through one of its periodic ‘hot’ periods with assorted Hollywood blockbusters being screened and appreciated by a cinema full of people wearing big glasses. But as a new exhibition at Tate Britain reveals, the phenomenon has its roots in the middle of the 19th century. “‘Poor Man’s Picture Gallery’: Victorian Art and Stereoscopic Photography”... read more

finding vivian maier

Documentaries are perhaps my favourite form of story-telling – either for radio or tv. But increasingly really amazing documentaries are getting a cinema release, and that’s what’s happened to the truly remarkable ‘Finding Vivian Maier (12).’ The story of the nanny photographer Vivian Maier (1926-2009) is one that has generated the sort of column inches any documentary maker... read more

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