“A non-chain chain”

My latest fit of apoplectic rage has been gifted to me by the arrival of the bread shop Gail’s in Crouch End. The statement on their website is quite breathtakingly irritating: Like our bread, we handcraft each GAIL’s shop to be unique and have its own personality. GAIL’s fits into its local environment, adapting to…

Howl: the film

I saw the Howl film last Wednesday (written and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, with James Franco as Ginsberg). It wasn’t what I was expecting, but in quite a good way. I thought it would be a straightforward biopic of young Ginsberg and his fellow Beats against the background of the Howl obscenity trial….

On Spoilers and Novelty

I have a book called Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy which does what it says on the tin. It has ‘The Cossacks’ in it, which is my favourite shorter bits of his writing. This book was the first Tolstoy I’d ever read, and I loved it. The only trouble was the introduction by John…