Marcus Berkmann

James Blunt’s sense of entitlement is so palpable you could wear it as a hat

7 February 2015 9:00 am

Only a fool would mess with James Blunt. As his Twitter followers know, he has a sharp wit, and, as…

His lyrics are hopeless, his covers are catastrophic, yet I still love Bryan Ferry

10 January 2015 9:00 am

There were two new albums I wanted for Christmas — the Bryan Ferry and the Pink Floyd — and to…

Why we love hating the music we hate as much as we love loving the music we love

13 December 2014 9:00 am

It’s all gone now, of course. Not just the magazines themselves, but the legendary bile of old-school rock criticism

From Stephen Collins’s Some Comics

The 10 best loo books of 2014: why we sing so much better in the shower and what became of Queen Victoria’s children’s milk teeth

22 November 2014 9:00 am

Nancy Mitford would not call them ‘toilet books’, that’s for certain. Loo books? Lavatory books? One or two people I…

Is there anything a gospel choir can't cheer up?

8 November 2014 9:00 am

‘I’m starting to think that all of the world’s major problems can be solved with either oyster sauce or backing…

Michael Frayn’s new book is the most highbrow TV sketch show ever

1 November 2014 9:00 am

Enough of big ideas and grand designs. Instead, here are 30 unusually small ideas from the giant pulsating brain of…

Why everyone wants what Nora Ephron was having

18 October 2014 9:00 am

I have come late to Nora Ephron — a little too late for her, anyway, as she died in 2012.…

Why Yes are still the funniest rock band in the world (although Radiohead are catching up)

11 October 2014 9:00 am

My favourite comment about the Scottish referendum came from the eminent comedian and novelist David Baddiel. ‘What if Yes wins,…

The secret to a long and happy pop career? Don’t die

13 September 2014 9:00 am

As everybody in the world except me seems to have seen Kate Bush’s live shows — against all apparent arithmetical…

A toast to beer, from Plato to Frank Zappa

16 August 2014 9:00 am

‘He was a wise man who invented beer,’ said Plato, although I imagine he had changed his mind by the…

Interviews with the great, the good, the less great and the really quite bad

9 August 2014 9:00 am

The TV chat show, if not actually dead, has been in intensive care for a while now, hooked up to…

My daughter wants to know why you haven't heard of the Jayhawks

9 August 2014 9:00 am

One of the many delightful aspects of having children is that you can get them to do things you are…

Illustration, from World War I in Cartoons, Mark Bryant, Grub Street.

The completely ludicrous – and sometimes believable – world of the First World War spook

12 July 2014 9:00 am

There can’t have been this many books about the first world war since — just after the first world war.…

How do you like your pop: clean, dirty or downright soap-shy?

12 July 2014 9:00 am

I am still listening to the new Coldplay album, and liking it more and more, and not just because everyone…

Has any band of the past 20 years been as consistently irritating as Coldplay?

14 June 2014 8:00 am

It’s a long time, a very, very long time, since I bought a Coldplay album. Has any band of the…

Why is 'loo' slang? Because Simon Heffer says so!

31 May 2014 9:00 am

Did Simon Heffer’s new book come out on St George’s Day? If not, it probably should have done. If we…

One man’s guilty pleasure is another’s palpable greatness

10 May 2014 9:00 am

The film critic Anne Billson wrote a typically pugnacious piece recently about the phrase ‘guilty pleasures’, which has spread like…

Roger Mortimer writes again

19 April 2014 9:00 am

After Dear Lupin and Dear Lumpy, here’s a slightly more prosaically titled collection of letters from Roger Mortimer, longtime racing…

Pop has become a conservative art form and an old man’s game

12 April 2014 9:00 am

It is coming to something when relatively young pop stars die not of drugs or misadventure but, essentially, of old…

When posters told us our place

29 March 2014 9:00 am

As a sign of the way things have changed, nothing could better this. Hester Vaizey, Cambridge history don and ‘publishing…

Addicted to Vole

8 March 2014 9:00 am

Earworm: what a wonderful word. It describes, as nothing else quite can, the effect a really invasive melody can have…

Prefab Sprout's comeback gives hope to the over-50s

8 February 2014 9:00 am

Every musical career has its own narrative, and most of them include at least one comeback. To come back, you…

All I want next Christmas is new Christmas songs 

11 January 2014 9:00 am

Three months until spring. Four months until the start of the cricket season. And only nine months until the radio…

Albums of the year? Some years we can answer it, some years we can't 

14 December 2013 9:00 am

Albums of the year? What a good question. Some years we can answer it, some years we can’t. The essence…

'Here's looking at you, kid' —  the best lines from the movies

7 December 2013 9:00 am

Many of us, I get the feeling, don’t go and see as many films as we used to, or want…