10 ways to play Winston Smith

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In the beginning was the book: George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, published 8 June 1949. Eleven-and-a-half weeks later, on 27 August, American radio broadcast the first adaptation, starring David Niven as its much put-upon hero, Winston Smith… although, given the rape-and-murder fantasies he admits to, maybe we should call him an antihero. Winston’s a complicated guy, […]

The PJ O’Rourke principle

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the American satirist PJ O’Rourke recently – in particular his funny, acerbic travel books, which I became fond of in the nineties. I tend not to bother with travel articles, because (a) they’re usually aimed at well-off families and (b) you can almost guarantee that stories about the developing […]

Paperback writer

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Well, that’s it. I’m no longer just a journalist, I’m an internationally published author. My book George Orwell on Screen is out and people are reading it. I can only speculate on what, if anything, this means for the rest my life. I’m writing this on Sunday, 23 September, nine days after an editor at my […]

I heard it through the grapevine

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Gladys Knight doesn’t have pancreatic cancer and isn’t on the verge of dying, whatever the hysterical press coverage of Aretha Franklin’s funeral might say. This is wonderful news, as I’m going out of my way to see the Empress of Soul perform in Hyde Park next week. I wasn’t always a fan, but after stumbling upon […]