Culture House Daily

Spectator competition winners: The ballad of Mar-a-Lago

1 April 2018 9:45

This week’s challenge marks the centenary this year of the birth of Muriel Spark. ‘I still take a poetic view…

Civilisations isn’t ‘dumbed down’ – it’s too intellectual

30 March 2018 9:00

I have been faithfully watching Civilisations. It is not at all dumbed down. Indeed, the series suffers from the opposite fault.…

The weird world of the hapax legomenon

29 March 2018 17:15

Today is National Indexing Day (#indexday) – at least according to the UK’s Society of Indexers. ‘Celebrating book indexes, indexers,…

Books Podcast: Waiting for the Last Bus

29 March 2018 14:16

In this week’s Books Podcast, I’m talking to Richard Holloway about his new book Waiting For The Last Bus. Richard is…

Spectator competition winners: averse to verse

25 March 2018 9:30

For the latest challenge you were asked to come up with poems against poets or poetry. Plato started it, of…

Books Podcast: Gimson’s Prime Ministers

22 March 2018 18:18

In this week’s Books Podcast, I’m joined by the Telegraph’s former parliamentary sketch writer Andrew Gimson, and the Guardian cartoonist…

Spectator competition winners: a life in three words

18 March 2018 9:30

The latest challenge was inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s phenomenally successful memoir Eat, Pray, Love. Competitors were invited to choose a…

Books Podcast: St Paul, the biography

15 March 2018 16:11

In this week’s Books Podcast, I’m talking to N. T. Wright, one of the world’s foremost scholars of the theology…

Nope, I’m not nostalgic for the NME

14 March 2018 11:24

It’s no secret that my career isn’t quite what it was (lucky I’m rich!) so imagine my feeling of glee…

Our verdict on this year’s Man Booker International Prize longlist

12 March 2018 15:49

The longlist for the Man Booker International Prize for fiction – judged by a very impressive panel headed by Lisa…

Spectator competition winners: sequels to a six-word story

11 March 2018 9:30

The latest assignment was to provide a (longer) sequel to the six-word story ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn’. Long…

Bring back our bitchy celebs!

9 March 2018 14:45

You would have to be quite odd not to approve of the sudden surge of solidarity amongst Hollywood stars of…

Books Podcast: Wendy Cope

8 March 2018 15:12

In this week’s Books podcast, I’m joined by the great Wendy Cope, whose new collection Anecdotal Evidence is just out. I talk…

Angela Carter biography wins award

7 March 2018 13:09

I had the privilege – alongside the wise and learned Caroline Moorehead and Ian Kelly – of helping judge this…

The 2018 Oscars were indulgent, overlong, and weirdly amateurish — again

5 March 2018 7:37

It was always going to be difficult for this year’s Oscars to balance politics and entertainment, the sweeping declaration with…

Books Podcast: Jay Heinrichs’ How To Argue With A Cat

1 March 2018 14:18

In this week’s books podcast, I’m talking to Jay Heinrichs about his new book How To Argue With A Cat:…

How the spirit of The Spectator dates back to 1711

1 March 2018 8:35

Few sights are commoner in the second-hand bookshop than battered sets of the eighteenth-century Spectator. Common enough too is the…

Hollywood stars have lost their shine

28 February 2018 10:45

Reading the lip-smacking reports of the latest troubled celebrity relationships  (Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux definitely high and dry, Cheryl…

How the MeToo movement is affecting YouToo

27 February 2018 12:57

A well-placed source told me recently that late last year the BBC pulled plans to show the Oscar-winning film American…

‘I never had anything against Nancy’: coffee and cookies with Tonya Harding

26 February 2018 11:47

The film I, Tonya, has been well-received and is even up for an Oscar or two. I’m pleased about that…

Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine

Churchill did not have an affair – so don’t fall for Channel 4’s spin

25 February 2018 15:44

To present this story without interviewing any Churchill historians, or members of the family, is a disgrace

Spectator competition winners: Resignation letters (Anna Soubry channels Virginia Woolf)

25 February 2018 9:30

The latest challenge, to cook up a resignation letter in the style of a well-known author, was inspired by the…

Books Podcast: Steven Pinker

22 February 2018 13:53

This week’s books podcast was recorded live at a special Spectator subscriber event in London, where I was talking to…

Spectator competition winners: The Love Song of Donald J. Trump

18 February 2018 9:15

For this year’s Valentine-themed challenge you were invited to provide a poem entitled ‘The Love Song of [insert name of…

Books Podcast: Mick Herron

15 February 2018 16:01

My guest in this week’s podcast is the incomparable spy writer Mick Herron – these days, happily, a less and…