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Graham Greene and Our Man in Havana Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana, Cold War, Novella, Books, Kettle Mag, Jordan Hindson
The life of Graham Greene, contradictory and bohemian as it was, furnished him with the material for much of his fiction. His was a seedy world of double agents, exotic climes and a pervasive and peculiarly acute sense of shame and guilt. All of this is couched in the language and symbolism of the Roman...
Review of Sherlock: The Abominable Bride Review, Sherlock, The Abominable Bride, TV, BBC, Kettle Mag, Jordan Hindson
Spoiler alert: this review contains spoilers for Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, which aired on New Year’s Day. Television reviewers around the world may have been slightly disappointed when the recent episode of Sherlock actually turned out to be quite good. Part of them would have been hoping to be able to write a variation on...
Understanding General Relativity black hole, space, science, Einstein, general relativity, theory, Kettle Mag, Jordan Hindson
While Stephen Hawking was busy writing his surprise bestseller A Brief History of Time, he was advised by a sagacious editor to shy away from using any mathematical equations; each one, the editor said, would halve his readership. Though unable to resist including one or two, Hawking largely followed this advice, and my recent effort...
Review: The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh
Dennis Barlow, hero of The Loved One, Evelyn Waugh’s mordant satire on the American funeral industry, is about to enter ‘Whispering Glades’, a southern Californian organisation purporting to specialise in the proper and respectful (and wallet-shrinking) burial or cremation of loved ones: “As a missionary priest making his first pilgrimage to the Vatican, as a...
Review: Bertrand Russell by Ray Monk Books, Review, Bertrand Russell, Ray Monk, Kettle Mag, Jordan Hindson
Ray Monk, already renowned for having written the definitive biography of Wittgenstein, was confronted by greater difficulty when he came to write the life of Bertrand Russell. His subject contained multitudes, and made Janus look faceless in comparison. Monk has trawled through the entirety of Russell’s prodigious output: many books (several of them hefty and...
Review of Nabokov’s Laughter in the Dark
To members of the public, Nabokov is (if they've heard of him at all) the author of Lolita. To critics and book lovers, his was the pen behind the dazzling and jewelled American trilogy – Lolita, Pale Fire and Pnin, with the memoir Speak, Memory perhaps mentioned with an admiring nod as an afterthought. The...
Review of Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet
Like most who tried, I was unable to procure a ticket to the theatrical event of the year – Benedict Cumberbatch playing the lead in Lyndsey Turner’s direction of Hamlet. My period of mourning ceased when it was announced that, courtesy of NT Live, thousands of cinemas across the world were to live-stream the October...
A Wilde Life
I suspect that I am not the only lover of literature who, were I known as the author of the definitive biographies of Joyce and Yeats, might be content to leave it there. But Richard Ellmann, literary critic and biographer extraordinaire, was determined to complete his triptych of Irish geniuses, and on his deathbed produced...
Top Five: Bradley Cooper performances
After shining in The Hangover, Bradley Cooper is now one of Hollywood's most famous leading men. To coincide with the release of his latest film Burnt, Jordan Hindson takes a look back at his five best performances. 5) American Hustle In this critically acclaimed 2013 movie, Bradley Cooper plays Richard DiMaso, an FBI agent who enlists con-artists...
Review: Michael Fassbender as Macbeth
The film industry pleasingly believes that there can never be too many adaptations of William Shakespeare’s immortal plays, and this is certainly true of ‘The Scottish Play’, Macbeth. Roman Polanski’s 1971 directorial effort, and Patrick Stewart’s heady performance as Macbeth in a more recent BBC production, are two of the greatest adaptations of any Shakespeare...
Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code revisited Kettlemag, Books, Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown, Jordan Hindson
One of the enduring mysteries of the literary world is how such poorly written books can be so thrilling. Dan Brown is at the centre of this conundrum, and his 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code (in this article, I’m assuming that the reader has a passing familiarity with the book) is the best known...
Review: Stephen Fry in Central America, Episode 1 Kettlemag, TV, Stephen Fry, ITV, Jordan Hindson
The Englishman abroad is a documentary formula that has never lost its appeal; the comic, stereotypical insularity of England might be partly to blame. This format has been practised and perfected by Alistair Cooke and Michael Palin, and Karl Pilkington has more recently taken the English distrust of anything foreign to parodic heights. Stephen Fry...
Jesus had two children claims new book The Lost Gospel
In a new book called The Lost Gospel, written by Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson, the authors make the claim that not only was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene, but that they had two children. They have arrived at this conclusion with the help of a 1,500 year old papyrus found in the British Library....
Speak, Memory confirms Vladimir Nabokov is a literary magician
“The cradle rocks above the abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.” So begins the stupendously talented autobiography of the greatest literary magician of the twentieth century. Speak, Memory is an account of the first half of Vladimir Nabokov’s life, and...
Gregory House – A Tortured Genius
The enormous success of House, a medical drama which aired from 2004 to 2012, was largely dependent on the scintillating personality of its eponymous anti-hero, Gregory House (Hugh Laurie). House was rude, abrasive and wonderfully sarcastic. He was a pill-popping cynic, and none of this was helped by the limp that forced him to use...