'Absorbing and witty' says The Observer

Peter Stanford has been very nice about ‘Is God Still An Englishman?’ in The Observer. Here’s some of the review:

“The tension between believing and belonging provides the structure for Cole Moreton’s lyrical, almost elegiac taking of the nation’s spiritual temperature. I say almost elegiac because, having charted the decline of organised Christianity and the loss of the deference traditionally shown to the Church of England and the monarch as its head, Moreton then manages, in his final chapters, to find signs of resurrection.” Then later …

“He can make you laugh out loud, and generates a momentum that has you turning the pages wanting it never to end.”

You can read the rest here.

Do You Want To Play With My Dalek?

Adults have a deep need to play, but it’s difficult. Go into the forest to play soldiers like you used to and you’ll get arrested (or charged £150 by a paint-balling company). Parents can get down on the floor and make alien noises, under cover of “joining in”, but it’s not the same. If I had a proper, life-sized Dalek I could send the family off to the park and play, unrestrained. Yes, that sounds sad and inappropriate, but that’s the whole point, don’t you see? A piece for The Guardian

Frank words about England, women, God and his mum

Frank Lampard by Ian Derry

Footballers don’t talk. They can’t, as a rule, and those who can have it coached out of them. For some reason, the Chelsea and England midfielder felt like breaking that rule when we sat down for a nice up of tea. There’s stuff in here about the World Cup, Capello, John Terry, the breakdown of his own relationship, his kids, being booed on the pitch, having too much money and being considered thick, as well as this about his mum: “Before every game, I have a little moment thinking about her. It’s like a prayer, basically. Not like the Lord’s Prayer, there’s no “Amen”, it’s just my own little prayer to my mum, saying, “Give me strength and look after the family.’ When she died I started visiting church every day, basically. That was hoping for a miracle. I just went to spend time in there. Sit there for half an hour. I know it sounds stupid, but I don’t even really know how to pray. I just sort of speak to my mum in my head. I still go fairly regularly. I certainly believe in God. I don’t think I would be able to handle it anywhere near as easily if I didn’t.'” He also said that “too much is made of the money thing”. When he said that he was wearing a (borrowed) watch. It was worth a quarter of a million pounds. Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.

‘I got these teeth from David Bowie’ Ricky Gervais

‘Pull my hair,’ says Ricky Gervais, leaning towards me, face down, shouting. ‘Pull it!’ He wants me to grab a handful and give it a yank, to prove there’s no wig, but I don’t know if he’s joking or angry. ‘You win one award, you’ve got the room. You win two awards, it’s “Yeah, good luck to them.” You win 25 awards and everyone in that room hates you,’ said Ricky Gervais, who has multiple awards. ‘Do you want to check I haven’t got lifts in my shoes?’

Gervais has gone manic, grinning wolfishly with a fire in his eyes as if he’s about to bite my throat. His dark hair seems real enough close up, but all I asked – and all I really want to know – is if he wears a corset. ‘A what? Why?’

A corset. You know, to keep it all nicely in place around the stomach region. He is a star, after all. The romantic lead in his own film, The Invention Of Lying, which comes out on DVD tomorrow and sets him alongside Jennifer Garner. As a Hollywood leading man… ‘Definitely a bit of sarcasm there,’ he says quickly. ‘And your left eyebrow went up. A hint of sarcasm. Or incredulity.’ I know what “leading man” means here. Not Brad Pitt and George Clooney. It means Woody Allen and Stan Laurel.’ Read the rest here


Peter Mandelson loses his temper

He’s very cool, Lord Mandelson of Hartlepool and Foy. In the sense of never getting over-heated. Except this time. ‘You may think it’s funny and cheap to make snidey remarks about how I could afford to live where I do. If my mother had not got Alzheimer’s and hadn’t died, I wouldn’t be able to live there. And I’d prefer my mother still to be alive.’
Tell me, what do you make of him?