These are mainly reviews I've done for theatre, exhibitions, art and books with some arts and culture related interviews. 

Book Review: Why We Get The Wrong Politicians by Isabel Hardman

Isabel Hardman is a political journalist, who is currently assistant editor of The Spectator is the author Why We Get The Wrong Politicians. The obvious answer some politicos have is ‘you keep voting for them!’ but Hardman’s book is a brilliant, thought-provoking analysis answering the question. At a point in the book, she acknowledges her book is perhaps more of analysis of why we don’t get the right politicians. Using her experience as a member of the ‘lobby’, journalists at Nationals, who w

Book Review: Policing Hong Kong: An Irish History by Patricia O’Sullivan

Throughout the history of the British Empire, men from the British Isles would travel to colonies to work in administrative positions and even the police. Hong Kong was one of those, with several of the recruits moving to the colony from Newmarket a town in County Cork in what is now the Republic of Ireland from the 1860s. In the summer of 2009, Patricia O’Sullivan’s 90-year-old aunt asked her to find what happened to her Uncle Murt in Gresson Street. From this point and looking at family histo

Book Review: Quotations from Mao Tse-tung

Colloquially known as the Little Red Book in the western world and widely distributed during Chairman Mao’s cultural revolution, Quotations from Mao Tse-tung is a collection of speeches and writings from the CCP leader published in the 1960s and 1970s. In Hong Kong, it is not that difficult to find, being available from several street vendors and some museums. The book was compiled by the People’s Liberation Army and distributed to delegates in 1964 before being expanded after feedback. By 19

Book Review: The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang

Book Review: The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang Purchased from a book store in Hong Kong International Airport, I read Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking in one sitting. The atrocities committed by Imperial Japanese troops in Nanking and throughout Asia are well known, but they were not in 1997 when Chang wrote this book. Indeed, it was one of the first books to make Western readers aware of the events that took place and indeed some in the East, due to Japanese nationalists denying the events t

Book Review: Ross Kemp Gangs II

Ross Kemp: Gangs II follows parts of Season Three and Season Four of Sky One’s documentary series Ross Kemp on Gangs. Kemp, who had shot to prominence for his role as Grant Mitchell on Eastenders during the 1990s begun his career as an investigative journalist in 2004 with the filming of Gangs. The Essex born Kemp would write books about his experiences filming the documentaries and the second book delves into the episodes focusing on Colombian sicarios and paramilitaries, Polish football hool

Book Review: The Fall by Albert Camus – Gursimran Hans –

Albert Camus’s The Fall tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Clamance, a former Parisian lawyer staying in Amsterdam, who is very similar to the characters of Meursault in prior Camus novels, only he is on a nuclear scale. Clamance bumps into someone in the bar one night, the reader and recounts his story. First published in 1956 and totalling under 100 pages, Clamance has lived the high-life and tasted all sorts of physical pleasure but metaphysically it’s a different story. Feeling empty and ful

Book Review: Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang (25th Anniversary Edition)

Translated into 37 languages, Wild Swans tells the story of 20th Century China from the last days of Imperial China to the Japanese Occupation, Civil War, Revolution and post Mao era. Jung Chang narrates the biographies of her grandmother, Yu-fang, her mother Bao Qin and herslef. It begins with the tale of how Yu-fang was married off as a concubine to a high ranking general, and eventually married a doctor in Manchuria. Bao Qin joins the Communist Party at the age of 15 and eventually meets W

Book Review: The Plague by Albert Camus – Gursimran Hans –

Albert Camus, one of the world’s greatest philosophers began writing The Plague sometime in 1941. His time in the French Resistance meant it was not completed until after the Second World War. The book can work as an allegory to life in France under the Third Reich. It is set in Oran, a town on the Algerian coast, in the midst of a devastating plague. Through this, Camus works an allegory of life under the German occupation, without any political leanings getting in the way of the interpretatio

Humber Bridge to see broadcast of poems and positive mental health messages

The project called You Are Not Alone is being organised by Headstart Hull and has been created by 12-20-year olds in the city. The Humber Bridge Board are supportive of the plan. The aim of the campaign is to break the stigma around mental health and show young people that they are not alone and there is help available. to see a video including some of them being recited. Headstart plan to install the soundscape throughout other parts of the city. The poems were written by the young people b

Theatre Review: Orpheus The Mythical @ The Other Place

The performance tells the story of Orpheus (Angus Morton), son of Apollo (Luke Tye) who has the ability to make everyone agree with him using the power of his singing. He accompanies Jason (Simon Anthony) and his Argonauts (Hampus Lee Strand, Alex Wheeler, Benjamin Mundy, Ben Stacey) as they attempt to retrieve The Golden Fleece. There's also the story of Euridice (Charlotte Rowling), Orpheus's wife who is trapped in hell. The show begins with an introduction from Richard Stilgoe, before a c

Book Review: Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets

That fact that my copy of Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets got battered in the post is quite poetic. It is a gritty, hard-hitting story. David Simon who would go on to produce hit TV series The Wire, spent 1988 shadowing the homicide squad of Baltimore Police Department whilst on sabbatical from his job as a reporter at The Baltimore Sun. It is quite simply, a stunning example of immersive journalism as Simon gets under the skin of the detectives, the suspects, the lawyers, the witnesse

Theatre Review: You Can't Polish A Nerd @ Soho Theatre

Stand-up comedian Matt Parker, TV scientist Steve Mould and singing scientist Helen Arney are on tour as part of Festival Of The Spoken Nerd. A fantastic night of comedy mixed in with science awaits you. Mould and Parker both have wives who are "enablers" apparently and that is shown with some fascinating, quirky experiments. Want to know what happens when you put certain everyday items a microwave? Want to see experiments involving π and actual pie? Well, this is the show for you. Arney meanw

Theatre Review: Cirque Berserk @ The Orchard Theatre, Dartford

The show wastes no time in getting started. The Timbuktu Tumblers rush on stage, performing amazing somersaults and pyramids. There's also some dramatic limboing underneath fire and the transition well into the Bolas Argentinas. Gabriel and Germaine from Argentina juggle the bolas and dance to the rhythm, the beat, and the speed really is something else and the two certainly played up to the crowd. South America also provides Jose and Gaby, two Colombian dancers who are quite simply excellen

Talking tingles with ASMRtists

ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is taking the internet by storm. YouTubers producing ASMR visitors are enjoying massive success in terms of both subscriptions and views. This summer, GentleWhispering became the first channel to hit one million subscribers. W Magazine meanwhile, began a series where they invited celebrities to try and make their own ideas. So, what exactly is ASMR? Simply put, ASMR is a way of making, usually through videos, soft, relaxing sounds to trigger somethin

Theatre Review: Amadeus @ The National Theatre

The play begins with Salieri declaring it "the last hour of my life" before summoning "the ghosts of the future" to tell them of his tale. Salieri had made a deal with God to serve him in return for his talents and grew on to become a legend in Vienna, the city of music, where at the time the music scene was dominated by Italians and everyone important knew each other. The former child prodigy, Mozart resigns his position as Konzertmeister in Salzburg and journeys to the Austrian capital. This

Review – Flight Club Shoreditch

Get in the zone, mind focused, elbows straight, ready to let go – and explode on the dartboard with style. Yes, this isn’t your average bar. This is Flight Club, Shoreditch, one of two locations in London where guests can book a session to throw darts in an ‘oche’ – a small private booth – taking part in a series of games,  while enjoying a  selection of food and drink. Situated a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of Old Street roundabout, Flight Club is on a quiet, unassuming street co

Review: La Casa de Bernarda Alba by Federico García Lorca

The last play to be penned by Federico García Lorca, just a few short weeks before his execution in 1936 as part of Franco’s purge of Spanish intellectuals, La Casa de Bernarda Alba was first premiered in Buenos Aires in 1945. It is sometimes grouped with Blood Wedding and Yerma as part of Lorca’s rural trilogy, though, it was incomplete at the time of his death, at the age of just 38. I must admit to being unaware of this piece, however, a friend of mine is starring in a production of it, so

Book Review: Sybil by Benjamin Disraeli

This summer, I found a copy of Sybil, sometimes referred to as Two Nations by Benjamin Disareli, who was British Prime Minister in 1868 and again from 1874–1880 in a charity shop. The book was in a far better condition then it looks in the scanned picture, it didn’t survive spending months in my bag. In the story Disraeli examines the living conditions of Britain’s working poor, a by-product of the nation’s growth during the Industrial Revolution. Charles Egremont, Lord Marney’s younger broth

Theatre Review: The Slightly Fat Show @ Leicester Square Theatre

performed in two parts by the touring troupe Slightly Fat Features is a throwback to a good old-fashioned British variety show. You could imagine a grandparent of yours walking down a promenade to see it in the 1940s or 50s. It has everything you could want - slapstick humour, magic, escapology and does everything really well. The humour isn't overly complicated, it's quite simple, basic, sometimes even crude and therein lies it's beauty. It's a relaxed, easy-to-follow show with a feel-good v
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