All posts by Graham Williamson

Beat Girl

At the start of Ben Wilson’s 2007 history book Decency and Disorder, there are excerpts from letters written by French citizens who visited Britain and were horrified by the rudeness, salaciousness and drunkenness of life over here.  That was in the early nineteenth century.  One strict

Pick of the Geek – St Vincent’ St Vincent

If you’re going to release a self-titled album that isn’t a debut, people will expect it to say something about you.  Annie Clark’s fourth album under the name St Vincent certainly feels like someone coming into their own – it’s shinier, more confident and brasher

The Last Command

By the time Josef von Sternberg made The Last Command in 1928, his lead actor had become such an institution in Germany that an entire genre was named after him. The Jannings-Film was used to describe any movie where Emil Jannings, the bearish icon of

Pick of the Geek – An Experiment in Love

Hilary Mantel’s biggest strength as a novelist is her ability to embrace contradictions, so it’s hard to say anything about one of her books without noting that it could easily be seen the other way. Her historical novels have the settings and page counts of

Pick of the Geek – The Cremator

A Slovak Jew working in Czech Prague, Juraj Herz was an outsider even among the glorious misfits who populated the cinema scene of Communist-era Czechoslovakia. Nothing he ever did was predictable, so when he decided to address his history as an inmate of Ravensbrück concentration

Pick of the Geek – Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool

So who’s fully digested the new Radiohead album? Trick question: Radiohead haven’t been in the business of making immediately digestible albums since 1993 or thereabouts. But even if this review is doomed never to dive to the bottom of A Moon Shaped Pool, there’s still

Pick of the Geek – Beach Boys Surf’s Up

Pet Sounds is, of course, perfect, but sometimes albums can be great in their imperfections.  Case in point: 1971’s Surf’s Up, one of a series of Beach Boys albums designed to cannibalise the remnants of chief songwriter Brian Wilson’s enormous, unreleased project Smile.  The album

Akira Kurosawa’s Ran

Shakespeare’s stories, character and language might be what reel us in, but it’s the mysteries that can engender an obsession. From Sigmund Freud, who famously pored over a psychiatric diagnosis of Prince Hamlet, to John Sutherland and Cedric Watts, who published an entire book (Henry

Pick of the Geek – Jenny Lewis The Voyager

Jenny Lewis has had some sort of a life – child actress, cult indie-rock frontwoman, solo singer-songwriter – and every messy moment of it is alchemised into beautiful art on this 2014 album.  If her debut solo album Rabbit Fur Coat seemed to be a