CD Choice: Cara Dillon – Upon a Winter’s Night

CD Choice: Cara Dillon – Upon a Winter’s Night

(Charcoal Records) Sometimes I wonder whether the really good Christmas albums – a rarity at any time – may have become so elusive that it is hardly worth trying to find them. Their pitfalls are many and well-known: cheesy remakes of American ‘50s crooners; reject songs buffed up with bells and seasonal lyrics; artists abandoning […]

A very British drama based on reality

A very British drama based on reality

By Revd Steve Parish In a year where overt racism has been a factor in western politics, A United Kingdom (cert. 12A) is a superb fictionalised telling of the true story of the heir to Bechuanaland’s throne marrying a white English woman. David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike star as the couple facing opposition from Britain […]

CD Choice: Foy Vance – The Wild Swan

CD Choice:  Foy Vance – The Wild Swan

(Gingerbread Man Records) Keen to avoid fame, but respected by the cognoscenti in the music industry, Vance enjoys a career that works on his terms. That means a lot of live performances, but only a few albums over the last decade – which makes this one as special as it sounds. Vance doesn’t share his […]

Can JK Rowling pull off the magic again?

Can JK Rowling pull off the magic again?

By Rev Steve Parish Maybe there are no more Harry Potter stories, though I wouldn’t bank on it. Hogwarts spin-offs are certainly in the frame. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a book on Harry Potter’s reading list, and in 2001 it was published for charity as a book by JK Rowling, though […]

A different perspective on alien life

A different perspective on alien life

Rev Steve Parish   Arrival (dir. Denis Villeneuve, cert 12A) is the latest in the line of Close Encounters, Contact, and any number of recent cinematic visits of extra-terrestrials to earth. It begins with a woman (Amy Adams), dealing with her daughter’s death from cancer, before moving to the day when 12 elliptical objects, 1,500 […]

The spiritual landscape of Leonard Cohen

The spiritual landscape of Leonard Cohen

By the Rev Steve Parish   …and Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water. Leonard Cohen’s songs are littered with biblical allusions, and, even during his time exploring Zen Buddhism, his Jewishness remained formative. His death, at the age of 82, gives another chance to assess his contribution to music (and to […]

Masterworks of Medieval Church Embroidery

Masterworks of Medieval Church Embroidery

Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery Victoria & Albert Museum — until 5 February 2017 In 1300, workshops around St Paul’s Cathedral were busy with highly skilled artists and craftspeople creating exquisitely embroidered ecclesiastical vestments for England’s clergy – and especially for thriving export trade to cathedrals and abbeys across Europe, notably in France, […]

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