Liz Smith, the veteran gossip columnist known as the ‘doyenne of dish’, has died aged 94. Continue reading
Madonna’s third album, True Blue, was released on June 30, 1986. Recorded during the honeymoon period of her stormy marriage to Sean Penn, and revealing a sleeker, more sophisticated style, True Blue yielded a slew of classic pop singles, affirming Madonna’s status as one of the decade’s musical icons. Thirty years on, you can read my expanded review here.
A Manual for Cleaning Women, Alberto Moravia, Backlands, Before Marilyn, Bobbie Gentry, C. Joseph Greaves, Caryl Phillips, Cathi Unsworth, Clarice Lispector, David L. Jones, David Wills, Eileen, Elena Ferrante, Encyclopedia Madonnica 20, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fires in the Dark, Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee, Louise Doughty, Lucia Berlin, Madonna, Marilyn in the Flash, Marilyn Monroe, Matthew Rettenmund, Michelle Morgan, Ode to Billie Jo, Otessa Moshfegh, Rebecca Wait, Stewart O'Nan, Tara Murtha, The Followers, The Ipswich Witch, The Lost Child, The Story of the Lost Child, The Time of Indifference, Tom & Lucky (and George & Cokey Flo), Victoria Shorr, West of Sunset, Without the Moon, Wuthering Heights
Reading Clarice Lispector for the first time is like falling in love. Each of her stories is a rare jewel. Shocking, funny and wildly imaginative, this collection is a landmark, reclaiming her as one of the underrated voices of the twentieth century.
The final volume in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series rages like a cyclone. No happy endings here, only the transcendence of real art.
Lucia Berlin was a wonderful American writer, whose stories are warm, yet unflinching. She led an eventful life, and while there are strong autobiographical elements in her work, she was also richly imaginative. Continue reading
My favourite album this year was Lana Del Rey’s dark, brooding Ultraviolence, and my song of the summer was ‘West Coast’.
Looking forward to 2015 – the reigning Queen of Pop, Madonna, will launch her new album, Rebel Heart, in March. A six-track EP, including lead single ‘Living for Love’, was released on i-Tunes this morning.
Madonna’s fourth studio album, Like a Prayer, was released on March 21, 1989. I was three months away from my 17th birthday when I bought it on vinyl from Our Price Records on Ilford High Street, and can remember the whiff of patchouli oil inside the sleeve. It’s a youthful, soulful pop masterpiece, and still one of my favourite albums of all time. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Like a Prayer, you can read my archive review (from 2009) right here.