Walking with Simon Armitage

The next Poet Laureate Simon Armitage went on a walk, leaning on the hospitality of strangers and saying poems out loud for his keep. I went with him. The wandering poet is exhausted. “It’s hot out there,” says Simon Armitage, his famously boyish fringe plastered to his forehead by sweat. His cheeks are red withContinue reading “Walking with Simon Armitage”

“Those were my pals.” Listening to Henry Allingham, the boy who saw the Somme from the air in 1917

Watching the movie 1917 reminded me of meeting Henry Allingham. He saw WG Grace bat. He saw the battle of the Somme from the air in an aircraft made of wood, cloth and wire. He was the oldest man in the country when I met him in 2007 and he lived to be the oldest man in the world, dying just over a year later at 113.

“When they talk about the war, will they remember me?” A last interview with the remarkable Dame Vera Lynn

Six years ago I went to the home of Dame Vera Lynn and listened to her sing along to recordings of her younger self. As far as I know, this was the last in-depth interview about her life that she ever gave. Softly, with a voice that is still clear after all these years, DameContinue reading ““When they talk about the war, will they remember me?” A last interview with the remarkable Dame Vera Lynn”

Zaha Hadid: Farewell to the Starchitect

Sad to hear of the sudden death of Dame Zaha Hadid, superstar of architecture, design genius and hugely formidable character. We met in her London office just before the 2012 Olympics, for which she designed the magnificent Aquatic Centre. Here is that encounter, as it appeared in The Sunday Telegraph, in tribute to a womanContinue reading “Zaha Hadid: Farewell to the Starchitect”