The most striking aspect of the commemorative events marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings last year was the testimony of the veterans who participated in the conflict and who spoke eloquently and movingly about the events of 6 June 1944.These interviews should be compulsory viewing so people understand the courage and sacrifice of a generation of men and women who displayed the “unconquerable resolve” the Queen spoke about during her speech in Portsmouth.
Christopher Tolkien, the son of The Lord Of The Rings author JRR Tolkien, has been hailed as a “titan” of fantasy literature following his death aged 95.The Tolkien Society, which promotes the life and works of the revered fantasy writer, confirmed the news in a statement on Twitter.
The Friends reunion special is in limbo as negotiations have stalled at HBO Max.Kevin Reilly, the platform’s chief content officer, shared a status update on Wednesday as part of the Television Critics Association’s press tour.
On 15 April, 2015, Aaron Hernandez, once a tight end for the New England Patriots, was found guilty of murdering Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player. Two years later, on 19 April, 2017, Hernandez died by suicide in prison, days after being acquitted on most charges in a different, double murder case. The Hernandez story has lived on as a shocking page of the National Football League’s history, understandably so – the New England Patriots, for whom Hernandez still played at the time of 2013 his arrest in the Lloyd case, are considered one of the league’s best ever teams, home to Tom “greatest quarterback of all time” Brady.Hernandez was 21 years old when he played alongside the Patriots during the 2011 Super Bowl. To put this into perspective, odds of being drafted into an NFL team, even for skilled athletes, are famously microscopic. Playing alongside a team like the Patriots during America’s biggest sporting event of any given year, in your early twenties, is a life-defining event. Before his arrest, Hernandez was a sports superstar by most metrics, having signed a reported $40m, five-year extension contract in 2012.
Issa Rae said a slow-moving teleprompter led to her subtle-yet-searing quip about the Oscars’ lack of diversity.The ‘Insecure’ star went viral after reading out an all-male list of nominees for best director, then looking into the camera and saying “congratulations to those men”.
A new Netflix docuseries will examine the true story of how a star athlete fell from grace after being convicted of murder.Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez attempts to piece together the double life of NFL player Aaron Hernandez, who played for the New England Patriots until being arrested in the summer of 2013 for the murder of Odin Lloyd.
TEST TESTNot many TV shows from 1997 are still going. You remember 1997, surely? The year Tony Blair ended 18 years of Tory rule, Princess Diana died in a Paris car crash and the first Harry Potter book was published. The dawn of New Labour was also when the potty mouths of South Park first appeared on our screens, the first tweedy corpse was discovered on the village green in Midsomer Murders, and the pilot for Cold Feet, a series about thirty-somethings making their way in a changing world, first aired.
The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins is the latest celebrity to be unveiled on controversial singing competition The Masked Singer UK.Fans were stunned to see the musician unmasked after wearing a chameleon costume during the show.
It’s the new year. I could have given up booze and bacon, or embarked on a punishing new fitness regime. But these seemed too harsh for the drab days of January and besides, I had more ambitious plans for personal transformation. Namely, to turn myself into a witch.At this opening of a scary new decade, we’re in the midst of a resurgent interest in all things mystic, superstitious or more than a little bit woo. As the New Yorker magazine observed, “astrology is currently enjoying a broad cultural acceptance that hasn’t been seen since the 1970s”. And its cousin in dogged resistance to logic, specifically witchcraft, is also having something of a moment, refitted for the age of self-care as a way for women to reconnect with themselves and the natural world. Think crystals, not cauldrons. Last summer, Publishers Weekly noted that witchcraft was one of the strongest trends in the “mind-body-spirit” category, and the interest shows no sign of abating.
Three hundred years ago, intellectuals of the European enlightenment constructed a mythology of technology.Influenced by a confluence of humanism, colonialism and racism, this mythology ignored local wisdom and indigenous innovation, deeming it primitive.
One evening in October 1969, Elizabeth Kendall went to a bar in Seattle with her friend Angie. Kendall had just received a parking ticket, which had left her – a divorced mother of one – upset. In a counter-intuitive move, Angie’s roommate’s boyfriend had suggested she go out to celebrate the ticket, rather than lament it.At the Sandpaper Tavern, two men invited Kendall to dance. One of them was a “tall, sandy-haired” stranger, while the other “turned out to be a creep”. Luckily for Kendall – she thought – the sandy-haired man was still there, providing her with the perfect escape.
We all have cherished memories of the books we read and shared as children. Big friendly giants, honey-loving bears, hungry caterpillars, iron men: these figures populate the vivid imaginary landscapes of our childhoods. Everybody will remember the book that made them laugh and cry, the one that they turn to again and again. Like totems, we pass them on to our own children, each book a spell in itself.But there isn’t room in this list for everything. I’m sure that every single reader will gasp at omissions and query the order. There are many personal favourites that I’ve left out, and many more 20th- and 21st-century writers whom I would have liked to include.
If January is anything to go by, 2020 will be a terrific year for books. Two outstanding new novels share a theme of holding on to love during desperate flight. Isabel Allende’s A Long Petal of the Sea and American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins are also linked by the work of Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda. The late Chilean chartered the SS Winnipeg to bring migrants from fascist Europe to his homeland, a journey taken by the refugee doctor Victor in Allende’s haunting novel.A quote from Neruda’s The Song of Despair (“there were grief and the ruins, and you were the miracle”) is used in the epigraph that opens American Dirt, a sensational story about the gruelling experience of illegally crossing the US-Mexico border. The stories by both women, although full of despair, are also life-affirming triumphs.
According to the Vegan Society, there are three and a half times as many vegans as there were in 2006, and since the Veganuary campaign started back in 2004, more than 500,000 people have registered with reasons for taking part, which include health, environment and animal welfare.In fact some of the biggest news stories of the year have centred around this growing movement, with Greggs’ vegan sausage roll making the headlines and the realistic plant-based bleeding burgers from Beyond Burger and the like gaining huge popularity.
Bestselling books of 2019: cleaning guides and diet books hit bigThis year’s UK charts saw domestic cleaning overtake domestic noir, and women winning all the top spots in literary fiction
From the cultural splendour of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur to the glamour of Bollywood, India is a fascinating place.It’s the second most populous country in the world and there’s no better way to learn about its diverse culture and complex history than to read about it.
“The truth isn’t going to bend itself to suit you” – Malorie Blackman“Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat” – Ralph Ellison
I’ve just turned the page on my 52nd book of the year and completed my New Year’s Resolution for 2019 – to read one book every week.OK, so some books actually took a little longer than a week, and others I finished in days, but if you cut me some slack I’ll let you in on how I managed to do this and still have time to work, eat and hold together something resembling a social life.
Once upon a time, Christmas television was a far simpler affair.While picking out the films and television shows for the festive season, you were limited to five terrestrial channels – and maybe a film subscription service, if you were lucky.
Whether you’re a first-timer or a parent to many, pregnancy – and navigating life with a newborn – can be exhilarating, overwhelming and daunting all at the same time.Whether it’s sleepless nights or a lack of routine, maternity and motherhood can be a trying time, with self-care often going out of the window, too.
There’s no cure for being on Earth, Samuel Beckett used to joke. In 1938, one event in his own life had all the elements of absurdity, black comedy and fatalism that pepper his finest works, such as Waiting for Godot or Krapp’s Last Tape. It happened on a Paris street, when an argument ended with the writer being stabbed by a small-time pimp. He narrowly escaped dying of his wounds.There was a whiff of farce, too, with the newspaper accounts of the attack, Le Figaro reporting that “Samuel Peckett” had been stabbed in Paris. Beckett survived the assault, went on to win the 1969 Nobel Prize for Literature, and kept going until his death, in the same area of the French capital on 22 December 1989, at the age of 83.
Books, books, books. They will increase your lifespan, lower your stress and boost your intelligence. They will give you fuller, thicker hair.Whatever the breathless claims about reading, one thing is certain: losing yourself in a great novel is one of life’s most enduring and dependable joys. Job satisfaction comes and goes, partners enrapture and abscond, but you can always fall back on the timeless ability of literature to transport you to a different world. From Jane Austen’s mannered drawing rooms to the airless tower blocks of 1984, novels do something unique. They simultaneously speak to the heart and mind. They teach you about the history of our world, the possibilities of our future and the fabric of our souls.
Few shows have as many great characters as Game of Thrones.Some have gone through huge changes across the series’ seven seasons, such as Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), who went from annoying teenager to battle-worn ruler of Winterfell.
You've been looking forward to taking a break all year, but now you've set everything up with blankets and mince pies you've drawn a blank on what you actually want to watch.Several new Christmas films come out every year - you've got far too many films to choose from, and most of them aren't much good anyway.
“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.” So said Oscar Wilde – and it’s witticisms like this that remind us how important it is to put pen to paper in this digital age.You’d be forgiven for thinking everything had gone digital, but paper diaries are still very much in demand.