Still from Björk's Black Lake at MoMA, New York. Photo: MoMA/ Wellhart/ One Little Indian

MoMA’s new Björk exhibition cramps the singer’s style

6 March 2015 13:46

Was intimacy the goal of Björk at MoMA? Co-curated by the Icelandic musician herself and Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA chief curator at large, the exhibition allows for a closer look at… Continue reading

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How Kraftwerk did more to shape modern music than anyone since the Beatles

19 January 2015 9:00

Normally, few things in life are quite so tedious as listening to a bunch of academics discussing pop music. However this week’s Kraftwerk Konferenz at Aston University may be the… Continue reading

Band Aid 30

Like everyone else, I want to think Bob Geldof’s awful – but I can’t

19 November 2014 12:04

Band Aid 30 is officially the fastest selling single of 2014. Yet this attempt by successful musicians to heal Africa through song has not met with universal cheer. Instead, a… Continue reading

Album artwork for Pink Floyd's swan song, The Endless River

Pink Floyd’s new album: it’s not hip – but it is good

11 November 2014 13:02

Yesterday, I popped into Rough Trade West record store to purchase the new Pink Floyd album. That isn’t something I expected to say in my lifetime, but 20 years after their 14th album The… Continue reading

Chelsea Hospital Chapel

Pop stars at prayer – from Madonna to the Beatles, and jihadist Cat Stevens

3 November 2014 15:12

A spoof in the Israeli Daily recently had Eminem planning to convert to Judaism and move to Tel Aviv. But I don’t think we’ll be seeing that any time soon… Continue reading

Alasdair Gray: 'You can only learn to govern yourself by doing it'

A No vote will create a schism between the voters of Scotland and its artists and writers

18 September 2014 10:37

With the Scottish independence referendum drawing closer, two Newsweek Europe magazine correspondents and friends – Finlay Young (Scotsman), and Simon Akam (Englishman) – travelled the length of the United Kingdom… Continue reading

The Festspielhaus in Bayreuth, Bavaria, shortly before its official opening in 1876. Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Spectator at war: Bayreuth on the eve of war

23 August 2014 8:00

The Spectator, 22 August 1914: Inter arma silent Musae; but Bayreuth on the eve of the war showed very few signs of the coming cataclysm. It is true that on… Continue reading

The poster for Incubator Theatre's 'hip hop opera' The City

Cultural boycotts are ineffective and wrong

25 July 2014 12:57

Scotland’s national poet Liz Lochhead has been at it again. Two years ago she was petitioning against a dance company from Tel Aviv, this year it’s an Israeli theatre company… Continue reading

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Three cheers for being miserable

10 July 2014 14:26

I prefer the music and lyrics of Pharrell Williams’s Happy to Morrisey’s Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now (because I loathe the smug insincerity of Morrisey more than anything else) but –… Continue reading

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Crusties, trustafarians, Chris Martin and mud: the deadly predictability of Glastonbury

26 June 2014 13:47

Glastonbury weekend is upon us, and the bores are out in force. West London buzzes to the sound of hoorays buying drugs, and the army surplus stalls of Portobello Market… Continue reading

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Is a Luis Suárez musical on the cards?

26 June 2014 13:29

For the moment we only have one genius song by Tom Rosenthal, Hey Luis Don’t Bite Me (hear it below), but surely a full-blown musical isn’t far away. In the meantime we… Continue reading


The BBC’s music strategy is a shambles

17 June 2014 16:14

Tony Hall made some terrible music announcements yesterday. They come hot on the heels of some terrible arts announcements he made a few months ago. Among the most lousy is… Continue reading


Michael Jackson’s back from the dead. Again.

13 May 2014 11:34

Pop humpty-dumpty Michael Jackson has a new album out today. If that statement seems odd, you don’t know the half of it; five years after his death, Jackson is only… Continue reading

Conchita Wurst representing Austria performs the song 'Rise Like A Phoenix' after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2014. Photo: AFP/Jonathan Nackstrand

Eurovision: It was the beard wot won it

11 May 2014 11:10

I enjoyed Fraser’s preview of the Eurovision Song Contest; I had not known that he was such a fan. You work with someone for years, oblivious to their dark secrets,… Continue reading

Blur and Oasis at the height of their fame.

Britpop 20 years on: the Tory voters who love Oasis

17 April 2014 15:57

It’s twenty years since the height of Britpop, but does anyone still care about it? YouGov has carried out some polling on the subject today. Although 35 per cent stated… Continue reading


House music is great music – or can be

8 April 2014 12:14

When Chicago DJ Frankie Knuckles died last week, a novelty number by a Brylcreemed Aussie pop punk group had just reached number one. It displaced Duke Dumont & Jax Jones’s… Continue reading

"The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles" - Roaming Show

Sir Paul McCartney’s media manipulation

27 February 2014 18:49

Having been whole-heartedly hacked off during the phone hacking scandal, one assumes that Sir Paul McCartney has always been an advocate of high standards in journalism. Not so. While collecting… Continue reading

Members of the punk group Pussy Riot staging a protest performance in Sochi. Photo: AP/Morry Gash

Is Pussy Riot’s music actually any good?

25 February 2014 6:30

Victims of state persecution, ambassadors for day-glo knitwear and wank fodder for beardy liberals the world over, the members of Pussy Riot have been filling both prison cells and column… Continue reading

David Cameron's state of the union speech was peppered with song lyrics. Why? (CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

Lyrical Dave – PM’s union speech packed with song lyrics

7 February 2014 12:39

David Cameron’s speech on the union this morning prompted many questions. Why was he in London? Why were there so many empty seats in the Olympic velodrome? Etc, etc, etc.… Continue reading

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We’ve got to hold on…

27 November 2013 9:22

Hats off to the Duke of Cambridge for joining Jon Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift on stage at Kensington Palace last night for a sing-along of ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’.… Continue reading


Old England died in 1963

21 November 2013 12:55

There is no better measure of the pivotal importance of 1963 than to recall what Britain was like in the early 1950s, as we slowly emerged from the shadows of… Continue reading

Paul Heaton of The Housemartins doesn't much care for David Cameron.

The PM’s musical tin-ear

20 November 2013 13:09

The news that Hull has been crowned the UK’s City of Culture for 2017 was discussed at PMQs. The PM extolled the virtues of the city, and made special mention… Continue reading

Alex Salmond Makes His Keynote Speech At The SNP Autumn Conference

One Great Thing gets embarrassing for the Yes campaign in Scotland

15 November 2013 16:47

Big Country’s song ‘One Great Thing’ is an anthem for the Scottish Yes campaign: it was soaring in the background during an item recorded at a ‘Yes’ rally on the… Continue reading

Harry Styles has been offering fans some insights into his political philosophy.

Political philosophy, Harry-style

1 November 2013 14:34

Boy-band super-hero Harry Styles proclaimed on Twitter earlier today: ‘All social change comes from the passion of individuals.’ His shrieking fans were enthused by this insight. Some even asked if they… Continue reading

Stella McCartney: Front Row - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2014


15 October 2013 17:31

When did Sir Paul McCartney become so shifty? The ‘National Treasure’ has been on Sky News promoting his latest album. There were more than a few awkward, if not downright embarrassing, moments.… Continue reading