Elvis Costello: “My dad went into Buckingham Palace through the tradesmen’s entrance. Well you know what? I went in the front.”

In February 2020, Elvis Costello kicked off his latest UK tour at the Liverpool Olympia in front of a sold-out crowd that included his 93-year-old mother, Lillian. “It was in the same dance hall she used to go to as a young woman, when it was known as the Locarno Ballroom,” the singer, songwriter andContinue reading “Elvis Costello: “My dad went into Buckingham Palace through the tradesmen’s entrance. Well you know what? I went in the front.””

Brian Cox: “Succession feels like a reward for the years of hard work.”

For a man who’s played monsters as memorable as Hannibal Lecter and Hermann Göring – to say nothing, of course, of Succession’s tyrannical media tycoon Logan Roy – Brian Cox is a reassuringly genial presence in the flesh. (Yes, I know he’s an actor, and it’s all pretend. But a part of me was still slightly worriedContinue reading “Brian Cox: “Succession feels like a reward for the years of hard work.””

Dave Grohl: “I know I’ll always be ‘that guy from Nirvana’ – and proudly so”

In the late summer of 1994, Dave Grohl was driving down a country road in a remote corner of southwest Ireland, when he spotted a young hitchhiker. Slowing down, he was about to offer the kid a lift – until he noticed what he was wearing. It was a Kurt Cobain t-shirt. The same KurtContinue reading “Dave Grohl: “I know I’ll always be ‘that guy from Nirvana’ – and proudly so””

Barbra Streisand: “I believe in the power of the self to transcend matter.”

Barbra Streisand has been writing her autobiography for eight years now – a bit of a chore, it turns out, when the last thing you want to think about is your own past. “I bore myself,” says the 79-year-old, cheerfully, those trademark Brooklyn vowels as reassuringly strong as ever. “That’s why I have a researcher,Continue reading “Barbra Streisand: “I believe in the power of the self to transcend matter.””

In defence of, God help me, James Corden

This is an extract from a column originally published in the Cambridge Independent on April 10, 2019 How rude do you think it’s acceptable to be about the rich and famous? Do you think they deserve the same courtesy we’d expect ourselves? Or, because they live a fabulous, wealthy existence, and have basically chosen toContinue reading “In defence of, God help me, James Corden”

Johanna Konta: “Some people are British by chance – I’m British by choice.”

“I’ve never felt like I’ve had to carry a nation’s hopes on my shoulders,” says Johanna Konta, of going into this year’s Wimbledon tournament as Britain’s top seed. “I’ve always said I play because I love to play, and to entertain people. I look on it as more of an honour. I feel very privilegedContinue reading “Johanna Konta: “Some people are British by chance – I’m British by choice.””

Stephen Mangan: “What is comedy? It’s laughing at someone else’s pain.”

As an actor, and now as a writer, Stephen Mangan instinctively finds himself drawn to projects that dig deep into human pain – and the more jokes, the merrier. “I’ve always believed that comedy is a fantastic way to deal with the most profound and difficult of emotions,” Stephen tells Weekend over Zoom. “That’s sort of whatContinue reading “Stephen Mangan: “What is comedy? It’s laughing at someone else’s pain.””

Tom Jones: “Last year was a bloody wake-up call. Without an audience, I can’t do anything.”

Five years ago, Sir Tom Jones wondered if he would ever sing again. His wife Linda – the childhood sweetheart he’d married when they were both 16 – was dying of lung cancer, and wanted to know what her husband was going to do next. “I said, ‘I don’t think I can sing – theContinue reading “Tom Jones: “Last year was a bloody wake-up call. Without an audience, I can’t do anything.””

Don’t leave me this way: the Reverend Richard Coles on the madness of grief

“The thing about grief,” says the Reverend Richard Coles, “is that we think there are ways of doing it, and there aren’t. You don’t do grief, it does you. You just have to let it work its way through you.” In 2020, Richard had plenty of time to let grief work its way through him,Continue reading “Don’t leave me this way: the Reverend Richard Coles on the madness of grief”

Jed Mercurio: “Our cast know that no-one in Line of Duty is safe…”

In the course of his eclectic and intimidatingly high-achieving career, Jed Mercurio has gone from being a doctor and an RAF pilot to arguably the most successful and powerful writer-producer in British television. And he owes it all to an episode of Blockbusters. “When I was in the lower sixth, there was a kid onContinue reading “Jed Mercurio: “Our cast know that no-one in Line of Duty is safe…””