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How early is too early for the Christmas celebrations to officially start? 597971302_1280x720.jpg (1280×720)
The shops that put Christmas cards and festive decorations out in August- too early. Way too early. I think we can all agree that the summer holidays are no time to be reminded that the season of cold, darkness and last-minute-panic-buying presents is coming. But when exactly is the right time to start up on carols...
Selfies – why the hate? selfie, photos, worth, culture, Alison Edwards, Kettle Mag
Selfie – the Oxford English Dictionary’s ‘Word of the Year’ for 2013 – is synonymous with the smartphone generation. A photo of yourself, by yourself; who under the age of 30 can say they have never even attempted it? Digital photography is suddenly in our pockets at all times, and social media is the new...
Should you judge a book by its cover? A row of book spines with no titles, books, cover, Kettle Mag, Alison Edwards
    Should you judge a book by its cover? We’ve all heard that saying. Along with ‘Beauty is only skin deep’ and other pointless sayings, it is supposed to teach us that the inner truth cannot be adequately conveyed through appearances alone. But appearances are important, even idealists admit that… The trouble is, a long...
Review: Prom 67 by the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra Royal Albert Hall, BBC Proms, culture, Alison Edwards, Kettle Mag
Prom 67, on the afternoon of Sunday 4th September, saw a return of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. On the classical music scene, this group is something of a legend. Although Venezuela does not have the classical music roots of a Western European country, since the creation in 1975 of 'El Sistema' (The...
Review: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
A Little Life, Yanagihara’s second novel, came from quiet beginnings to general critical acclaim, placed on the shortlists for the 2015 Man Booker Prize and the 2016 Baileys Prize. It is not surprising; it is a weighty tour de force which explores much of the best and worst of humanity. The novel bases itself at...
Review: Proms 11 and 12 Royal Albert Hall, Proms, Review, Prom 11, Prom 12, Culture, Music, Classical, BBC, Kettle Mag, Alison Edwards
The Proms are a chance for Londoners to enjoy what the classical music scene has to offer during those long summer evenings and weekends. The Proms which were put on over the weekend of 23-24 July were a perfect example of the variety of people who can enjoy the season. Prom 11 On Saturday night,...
Review: Prom 9 – Mozart & Mendelssohn The Royal Albert Hall advertising the Proms
Some Proms are made to be groundbreaking, showcases for new or rare music, or aimed at niche audiences. Others are just classics for pure, undemanding pleasure. On a Friday night after a long week, the second kind is perfect, and Prom 9 delivered. Any programme which is half Mozart is promising if you are after...
Review: First Night of the Proms Image of packed Albert Hall interior
There may not be much sunshine, and our political system may be in chaos, but a few things are reliable in a British summer; Wimbledon, Glastonbury, and the Proms. The two-month music festival is justifiably famous. Although classical music has a reputation of being exclusive and elderly, the Proms draws an extraordinarily varied and enthusiastic...
Is Britain really racist?
We all know that phrase: ‘I’m not a racist, but…’, invariably followed by a deeply insensitive racist comment. It used to be a bit of a joke, something said by a grandparent who is out of touch with modern society. Since the referendum result was announced, racism in Britain cannot be joked about any more....
Military History: Where are the women?
A few years ago a boy in a history seminar made a comment which has stayed with me ever since. When asked to discuss the role of women, he leaned back and casually said, “Well, women have nothing to do with war really, do they?” I still regret that at the time I was too...