Ian Thomson first contributed to the newspaper the year it was founded in 1986. Nicknamed ‘The Indy’, since 2010 it has be owned by Alexander Lebedev. Here are some recent contributions:
A trip from generation Jazz to the Beat movement Round up of music books, including a new biography of Billie Holiday
25 April 2015
A Decent Ride by Irvine Welsh
02 April 2015
History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life by Jill Bialosky
21 March 2015
Wilde in America: Oscar Wilde and the Invention of Modern
19 Feb 2015
Oscar Wilde, the queen of sartorial finery, toured America in 1882 in a velvet coat with lace trim…
‘From St Louis to The Waste Land’ by Robert Crawford. T.S.Eliot
How Guy Fawkes Day ruined my ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier interview
Tuesday 14 October 2014
When ‘Baby Doc’, who died earlier month, was in exile, the writer Ian Thomson sought out the bling-loving Haitian dictator for an interview. But things didn’t go as planned…
The History of England Volume III: Civil War by Peter Ackroyd – book review: A smoothly readable analysis of events
Saturday 27 September 2014
Peter Ackroyd, our most industrious and prolific man of letters, is at present engaged in an ambitious, six-volume history of England, the first two volumes of which appeared in 2012 and 2013.
The View from the Train: Cities & Other Landscapes By Patrick Keiller: book review – A delightful journey in search of Britain’s urban hinterlands
Tuesday 24 December 2013
Arthur Rimbaud’s shimmering poetry collection, Illuminations, was partly inspired by his visit to London in 1872. Brocaded with a dizzy-making imagery of subways, viaducts, raised canals, bridges and steam engines, the poems are thrillingly metropolitan. Accompanied by his lover Paul Verlaine, Rimbaud noted down all he heard and saw. In some ways, Illuminations can be read as a poetic gloss on Karl Marx’s Das Kapital: the London masses as seen by the 19th-century French poet are alienated by “economic horrors” and “feel no need to know one another”.
Book review: Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe, By Simon Winder
Friday 27 September 2013
Hidebound and eccentric, the crusty old empire and its mixed folk gave a home to tolerance….
Book review: The World Is Ever Changing, By Nicolas Roeg
Friday 12 July 2013
Cut by cut, the great maverick director creates a scintillating montage of memory.
The Enigma of the Return, By Dany Laferriere, trans. David Homel
Friday 10 May 2013
A magnificent meditation on loss and political exile as a great Haitian writer returns home
Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked, By James Lasdun
Friday 22 February 2013
This dark memoir of internet obsession reveals cyberspace as an increasingly Kafkaesque domain
A Delicate Truth, By John le Carre
Friday 19 April 2013
Welcome back our peerless spymaster, with another novel that unmasks low deeds in high places
Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room, By Geoff Dyer
Friday 10 February 2012
Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker, released in the USSR in 1979, radiates an enduring sense of mystery and disquiet. I have seen it five times, though viewing can feel like a penance. Tarkovsky does not set out to entertain: some of his shots last up to seven minutes. The plot? Three middle-aged men undertake a journey through an industrial wasteland in search of an elusive place called the Zone, where the normal laws of life are mysteriously suspended. With its watery images of disused chemical factories and silted urban waterways, the film cries out for exegesis. What does it mean? Geoff Dyer first saw Stalker in 1981 while a student at Oxford; 30 years on, Zona is his non-fiction appraisal of the film and what it means to him today.
Vanished Kingdoms: The history of half-forgotten Europe by Norman Davies
Friday 28 October 2011
As a child I had assumed that my mother was English. I learned later that she was born in the Baltic seaport of Tallinn, a magical city which is German Lutheran in detail but Tsarist in imagination.
The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began, By Stephen Greenblatt
Friday 30 September 2011
In Primo Levi’s personal anthology of his favourite writings, The Search for Roots, is a specialist paper on how to prevent cockroach attack on industrial varnishes. Levi’s “roots” were only part literary: by profession he was an industrial chemist. Of the 30 authors he chose, eight were scientists or prototype scientists. Among them was the Latin poet Lucretius, whose book-length philosophic poem On the Nature of Things Levi considered a luminous celebration of the mysteries of the natural world. The deeper Levi read into the poem, he said, the more he was awed by its grandeur and uncanny modernity. In the “poet-researcher” Lucretius, he found an alternative theology that recognised no God, but which anticipated a large part of contemporary science.