Celebrating Literature

Surrounded on all four sides by shelves and shelves of Victorian books, students from Years 7 – 13, their supporters, and a handful of acclaimed writers gathered under the Portico Library’s magnificent ceiling dome for a celebration of reading, writing and all-things-literary. I was invited to attend after having been awarded a Special Commendation for…

Take a Walk on the Writer’s Side

If you walk straight down Oxford Road with Central Library at your back, you’ll pass the Palace Theatre on your way out of town. If you keep walking you’ll pass the Aquatics Centre, the RNCM and, if your legs aren’t tired yet, you’ll come to the Manchester Museum. If you walk a street across to…

Auf diese Stadt

‘Und wir ahnten, die Völker der Welt schauten auf diese Stadt.’ So sings Reinhard Mey in his beautifully poetic Mein Berlin, released in 1990. It refers to the Berlin air lift, when Allied countries flew planes over their sectors of Berlin (which was divided into four occupied zones following WW2), dropping much-needed supplies to citizens…

Full as Much Heart

‘Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless?’ So questions fiery and beloved heroine Jane Eyre, the title character of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel. I was struck by her outburst recently, when visiting the little village of Haworth which was home to the four surviving Brontë children…

Perhaps You’re Smiling Now

Over a year ago, when the world reeled at the death of glam rock superstar David Bowie, he certainly ‘became the special man’ just like his fictional alter ego, Ziggy Stardust. Hailed as a creative genius, the legacy of his enormous influence on pop music and stagecraft was undeniable and all-pervasive. Everyone knew Bowie was…

The Tempest

A review of the RSC’s production of ‘The Tempest’ in January 2017.

And I’m Busting Up My Brains for the Words

Unfortunately, I don’t think that there’s room enough in a single blog post to do justice to the whole of David Bowie’s ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ album. This concept album follows a sexually-free, rock ‘n’ rolling alien messiah who comes to earth in the final five years…

The Answer, My Friend?

This December, at the Oslo City Hall, Norway, a representative of Bob Dylan will collect his Nobel Prize for Literature, around two months after he was announced as the winner of the prestigious award. The public surprise and controversy over the songwriter’s receipt of the accolade inevitably raises the question: what is literature? We use…

A Streetcar Named Desire

A review of the September 2016 production of Tennessee Williams’ ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ at the Royal Exchange theatre.