Darkness is the time to think, to dream, to love …

October 31st, 2016

It’s human to want light and warmth. Our pagan ancestors had a calendar of fire festivals, and God’s first recorded words, according to the Hebrew Bible, were: “Let there be light.” Night belongs to the dark side, literally and metaphorically: […]

On writing a cover version of Shakespeare

September 26th, 2015

On the day of the first new moon of June 1599, at 3 o’clock, the new Globe theatre opened its doors with a new show – Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. Everything was new – it was the spirit of […]

Barbara Hepworth’s epic works changed the face of sculpture

June 12th, 2015

Barbara Hepworth liked to say ‘There is no landscape without the figure.’ She was born in Wakefield in the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1903. What she saw, the earliest imprints on her retina, were dramatic forms; outcrops and crags, peaks […]

The Whitworth Gallery reopens

February 14th, 2015

The Whitworth Gallery in Manchester re-opens this weekend with the message “Fall In Love Again”. It’s the right message. Creativity in all its forms is a passionate engagement with making something happen. Like falling in love, art is a disturbance […]

On the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy – of course it’s political

January 17th, 2015

Poetry is pleasure. Sometimes people say to me, ‘why should I read a poem?’ There are plenty of answers, from the profound – a poem is such an ancient means of communication that it feels like an evolutionary necessity – […]

The Look of Being Looked At

December 13th, 2012

His famous line about being famous bored him. It was a throw-a-way that turned out to be a message in a bottle. Andy’s prediction/warning/fortune cookie for the future washed up on the shores of Facebook and the X-Factor, American Idol […]

Money and Me

November 13th, 2012

Some years ago a coffee company came to me with a proposal to lease the ground floor and basement of my little house in Spitalfields, East London. They wanted a period property and were enthusiastic about the 1780’s late Georgian […]