Magic

The best podcasts to help you become a better painter

30 October 2021 9:00 am

There’s a great documentary film on Netflix at the moment about the late artist Bob Ross, he of the happy…

When family viewing was full of creeping menace

7 August 2021 9:00 am

Strange, really, that the scheduled output of traditional broadcasters became known as ‘terrestrial’ television, given that TV is an etheric…

A Danubian Narnia: Nostalgia, by Mircea Cartarescu, reviewed

5 June 2021 9:00 am

Mircea Cartarescu likens his native Romania to a Latin American country stranded in eastern Europe. Certainly, his writing delivers not…

Why AI will never write a great song

19 December 2020 9:00 am

Two years ago, the songwriter Nick Cave told his fans that he’d speak to them directly — not through an…

Magic and miasma: Mordew, by Alex Pheby, reviewed

15 August 2020 9:00 am

Mordew ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids, as Elton John nearly sang. If they escape the ravages…

Stuffed doll in Edwardian-style black dress with stiletto through face, south Devon, England , 1909–13

The objects that sound witchiest on paper just look sad: Spellbound reviewed

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Just in front of me, visiting Spellbound at the Ashmolean last week, was a very rational boy of about seven…

‘If ever there was a Renaissance Man, John Dee was it’: from ‘The Order of the Inspirati’, 1659

John Dee thought he could talk to angels using medieval computer technology

16 January 2016 9:00 am

John Dee liked to talk to spirits but he was no loony witch, says Christopher Howse

Seeds of a mystery in a great-aunt’s will

27 June 2015 9:00 am

There is something cruelly beautiful, delightfully frustrating and filthily gorgeous about a Scarlett Thomas novel. Two family trees open and…

A bit silly: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell reviewed

23 May 2015 9:00 am

BBC One’s 2015 choice of Sunday-night drama series is beginning to resemble the career of the kind of Hollywood actor…

The best new children's books

7 June 2014 9:00 am

A children’s author and illustrator, Jonathan Emmet, created a stir recently by saying that women are effectively gatekeepers of children’s…

Death by Dior, by Terry Cooper - review

10 August 2013 9:00 am

This book may sound like it’s going to be about high fashion, but it’s actually about Nazism, satanism, incest and…

Magic, by Ricky Jay - review

3 August 2013 9:00 am

People, they say, want different things from a book over the summer than they do the rest of the year.…