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The Globe Guide to Shakespeare

Lavishly illustrated, The Globe Guide to Shakespeare is a joy to behold and a pleasure to read. Written by Andrew Dickson, with contributions by Joe Staines, this isn’t a musty, fusty academic treatise thick with jargon. As the authors say in the introduction, “Above all, this isn’t intended to be […]

Pop music and hit parades

British 1956 Hit Parade record album

The first regular UK singles chart was published on this day, November 14, in 1952 by the New Musical Express, reminds the website On This Day. Someone has duly posted that on Twitter including even a scanned copy of the newspaper clipping “announcing the first record hit parade”. Yes, that’s what we […]

RK Narayan’s Malgudi Days

RK Narayan

RK Narayan enjoyed writing short stories more than novels. He said so in the introduction to his collection of short stories, Malgudi Days. First published in Penguin Books in 1984, Malgudi Days includes selections from his earlier collections, An Astrologer’s Day and Other Stories (1947) and Lawley Road and Other […]

Julius Caesar

Bust of Julius Caesar

Scholarship is like technology, always evolving. The Arden Shakespeare edition of Julius Caesar I picked up from the library can’t be the Arden edition of Julius Caesar I read in my schooldays. This edition, first published in 1998, is edited by David Daniell, who begins his introduction to the play […]

As You Like It, Rosalind

Rosalind has been my favourite Shakespearean heroine from the first time I read As You Like It. That was shortly after the Beatles had disbanded, when soft rock was ruling the airwaves and there were no such things as PCs and the World Wide Web. The world has changed utterly […]

Forever Fats Domino

Blueberry Hills belongs with Elvis Presley’s Are You Lonesome Tonight?, Joan Baez’s Diamonds and Rust, and Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right and It Ain’t Me Babe among the sweetest, saddest love songs of all time. And now the voice and piano behind Blueberry Hill is dead. Fats […]

Homage to Adrian Henri

The poems of Adrian Henri are as catchy and simple as pop songs. He, Roger McGough and Brian Patten were the three Liverpool poets presented in The Mersey Sound, a bestselling poetry anthology of all time. First published in 1967, The Mersey Sound has sold over a half million copies.