Book Review: Steve Martin’s “Born Standing Up”

steve martinIn 1981, when Steve Martin finally hung up his mike or whatever stand-ups do when they retire, he was if not bigger than Jesus, then certainly up there with some of the disciples. (more…)

Book Review: Slavoj Zizek’s “In Defence of Lost Causes”

415-31-defence-lost-causesIf you had to put money on which academic would be the first to play Wembley Arena live, you’d have to go for Slavoj Zizek. Once dubbed the “Elvis of Cultural Theory”, Zizek is the prolific author of some 40 books ranging in subject from Hitchcock to Christianity, from the Iraq war to Lacanian psychoanalysis, books that are so full of erudition and eclectic thought that to write just one of them would have killed an ordinary man. (more…)

Book Review: Michael Simkins “Fatty Batter”

fatty batter Fatty Batter: How Cricket Saved My Life (Then Ruined It)

Is there any sport which divides people as much as cricket? There are those who don’t understand it and don’t care; then there are those who do understand it and still don’t care; and then there are those who see the whole of life through leather-on-willow coloured spectacles. Cricket is not just a game, it’s the Ultimate Metaphor. A friend of mine told me the problem with the Middle East peace process is that everyone’s bowling left arm over the wicket. So that’s that sorted then. He recently got divorced, or, as he put it, he recently “declared on 17 for 2”. That’s 17 years and two children. It’s a miracle his wife has never gave him a taste of his own medicine and hit him for 6 (months in intensive care). (more…)

Book Review: Tim Guest’s “Second Lives: a journey through virtual worlds”

secondlives“Dear Diary. Today I met Wonder Woman as I flew over the mile-high Scrabble board. We hoverported under the sea where we had a snowball fight, then went to a night-club where a 6-foot cat dressed as Kylie Minogue gave me a lapdance.”

At this point, any sensible diary would be backing nervously towards the door. Unless its author happened to be one of the six million people signed up to the imaginary on-line world “Second Life”.

For those who don’t know, “Second Life” is a bit like the real thing, only slightly stupider. (more…)

Book Review: Aaron Lansky “Outwitting History”; Dovid Katz “Words on Fire”


Is Yiddish the new rock’n’roll – at least as far as Jewish culture is concerned? Is Yiddish the new black? If it is, then one of the people responsible is undoubtedly Aaron Lansky, the founder of the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachussetts. (more…)

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