Zoë Anderson on The Ballet Lover’s Companion

My guest in this podcast is Zoë Anderson, ballet critic of the Independent and author of The Ballet Lover’s Companion, recently published by Yale University Press. Zoë’s book traces the history and development of ballet as an art form by focusing on 140 works in the repertoire: classics, revived rarities and modern masterpieces. Sarah Crompton, reviewing the book in the Sunday Times, called it authoritative and praised its ‘crisp ability to convey an affection for ballet and a clear-eyed view of its oddities’.

Continue Reading · 8 June, 2015 · art and music, podcasts

LMD podcast: Ed Emery on the Kurdish songbook project

My guest in the most recent podcast for Le Monde diplomatique was Ed Emery, who is an ethnomusicologist at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and also the presenter of Ed Emery’s Revolutionary Radio Show.

Ed wrote a piece for Le Monde diplomatique in which he described the regular visits he and fellow musicians make to Calais to talk to and make music with Kurdish people who have fled from Syria and hope to gain entry to the UK: what he calls ‘musical solidarity work with migrants’ as part of a wider Kurdish songbook project. In this interview he told me more about the project and plans for the reconstruction of the devastated Kurdish town of Kobane.

kobane

Continue Reading · 22 May, 2015 · art and music, history and politics, podcasts

Of stones, bones, and wolf-dogs

pat shipmanIn Pat Shipman’s recent book, The Invaders (Harvard University Press, 2015), she argues that our last close relative, the Neanderthals, were driven to extinction not solely by climate change – though that played its part – but by the incursion of an invasive species: homo sapiens. We modern humans – the invaders of Pat’s title – completely changed the ecosystem when we arrived in Eurasia between 45 and 50 thousand years ago and made life much tougher for our Neanderthal cousins. One of our critical advantages, Shipman believes, may have been that we domesticated the wolf as a hunting companion much earlier than previously thought, as early as 32,000 years ago.Pat Shipman Invaders quote

Continue Reading · 8 April, 2015 · anthropology, natural history, podcasts

From the archive: Kat Banyard on The Equality Illusion

Here’s a ten-minute video interview I did with Kat Banyard four years ago about her book, The Equality Illusion: The Truth about Women and Men Today. I’ve just watched it again and am reminded of how powerfully eloquent she is: Kat Banyard introduces The Equality Illusion from George Miller on Vimeo.

Continue Reading · 31 March, 2015 · history and politics, video
Akhil Sharma Family Life pb cover

Congratulations to Akhil Sharma

Last week Indian-American novelist Akhil Sharma won the Folio Prize for his novel Family Life. I met Akhil when he visited London last spring to talk about his eagerly awaited second book. Akhil was born in New Delhi and migrated to the US in the late seventies. Having initially pursued a career in investment banking, […]

Continue Reading · 30 March, 2015 · literature, podcasts
Anna Karenina Bartlett OUP

Anna Karenina revisited

“The text of Anna Karenina is like a Persian carpet of intricate symmetrical design, whose workmanship can only be appreciated by seeing the reverse side.” Rosamund Bartlett I had the pleasure of chairing Rosamund Bartlett‘s event at the Oxford Literary Festival yesterday afternoon in which she talked about Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, and the experience of […]

Continue Reading · 28 March, 2015 · literature, podcasts
stanford world without apes

Craig Stanford on Planet without Apes

“Evolutionary success is not a birthright nor is it a guarantor of survival in perpetuity. Natural selection wrought the living ape species, and like all animals their time on Earth is limited by changing environments, the emergence of competing species, predators, and the like. Some species cope well in a variety of environments. Such generalists […]

Continue Reading · 18 March, 2015 · podcasts, science and philosophy

The Philosopher in the Kitchen: 2. Stewardship & einkorn bread

Here’s the second of the series of short films I made with Julian Baggini one hot afternoon last summer. In this one he tackles the vexed question of food and stewardship:   Julian Baggini: The Philosopher in the Kitchen – 2. Stewardship: Einkorn bread from George Miller on Vimeo.

Continue Reading · 16 March, 2015 · food and drink, video

Julian Baggini: The Philosopher in the Kitchen – 1. Practical Wisdom and hummus

Here is the first of four short films I made with Julian Baggini last summer and released last month to coincide with the paperback edition of his book, The Virtues of the Table. In this first film he asks: Do we really need to follow recipes?   Julian Baggini: The Philosopher in the Kitchen – […]

Continue Reading · 16 February, 2015 · food and drink, science and philosophy, video
Graham Farmelo Churchill’s Bomb

Graham Farmelo on Churchill’s Bomb

I thought this might be an appropriate time to re-post my interview with Graham Farmelo from December 2013 about Winston Churchill’s interest in science and in particular nuclear weapons. Click on the player above to listen to the interview. Here’s what I said about the book in my introduction: I first became aware of Graham’s […]

Continue Reading · 31 January, 2015 · history and politics, podcasts, science and philosophy

David Harsent on his T.S. Eliot Prize-winning collection, Fire Songs

One of the most enjoyable interviews I recorded last year was with poet David Harsent. I’ve long been an admirer of David’s work; since I first encountered in the early 1990s, in fact, when David was on the long-departed Oxford Poets list and I was the junior editor, whose duties were mainly putting things in […]

Continue Reading · 28 January, 2015 · podcasts, poetry

In tribute to P.D. James

Here, in tribute to P.D. James, who died last week, is my interview with her from 2011 in which she looks back over her career.

Continue Reading · 4 December, 2014 · crime fiction, podcasts