A Sweet, Wild Note
What We Hear When the Birds Sing
‘Birdsong belongs to the birds, but we’ve spent an awful lot of time trying to make it ours too.’ These witty meditations of a birdwatcher explore how humans’ love of birdsong has influenced literature, music and science. They also reveal what such cultural responses say about our dreams and desires, even our ideas of Britishness – and what will be lost if human activity eventually silences the sounds from our trees and hedgerows.
Although Goya (1746–1828) received no portrait commissions until he was 37, such works make up nearly a third of his painted oeuvre. Produced to accompany an exhibition of more than 60 portraits, this volume reveals the range of Goya’s technical and stylistic achievements. In particular, it shows how the artist built on the model of earlier court painters, including Velázquez, while giving new psychological depth to depictions of the royalty, philosophers and military men of his own revolutionary times.
A Story of Love and Loathing in Modern Britain
For some, the fox is a beautiful, intelligent creature; for others, a ravager of henhouses. Lucy Jones probes these conflicted attitudes, and examines her own family history of foxhunting. She investigates the animal’s behaviour and reputation for cunning, charts attempts to exterminate it from the Tudor ‘Vermin Acts’ onwards, and traces the fox through folklore and literature from Aesop’s fables to Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox.
Just One More...
A Photographer's Memoir
An association with the sculptor Henry Moore led Gemma Levine into a career as a photographer, making portraits of many of the most influential figures in British life in the 1980s and 1990s, including Princess Diana, Robert Maxwell and Margaret Thatcher. Part autobiography, part portfolio, this book explains her early work with Moore and her travels across Israel in the 1970s, and presents the best of her portraits with anecdotes about the sitters.
A Royal Christmas
With privileged access to the Royal Archives, Jeremy Archer has uncovered personal accounts of the royal family at Christmastime. His anthology reveals how monarchs have celebrated the festival -from 1066, when William I was crowned on Christmas Day, to the Queen's Christmas broadcast 2011. In themed chapters, Archer quotes at length from his royal sources as he explores Christmases at home and abroad, in times of crisis and conflict, and family rituals of feasts, pastimes and the exchange of gifts.
The XFM Top 1000 Songs of All Time
With the characteristic XFM focus on music from alternative and indie bands and artists, and arranged alphabetically (no favouritism) from AC/DC to the Zutons, this compendium explains the stories, inspirations and sometimes the scandals behind the ‘tracks that resonate the most with XFM DJs and listeners’. With a foreword by the Killers’ Brandon Flowers.
The Banned List
A Manifesto Against Jargon and Cliche
John Rentoul's polemical essay, which highlights annoyingly pretentious and hackneyed phrases, might make uncomfortable reading for those who exhibit a tendency to issue cast-iron guarantees while pulling out all the stops and proactively strategizing going forward. This is followed by the full 'banned list' of such objectionable locutions, which Rentoul has diligently compiled to save his fellow writers from annoying their readers.
A Miscellany of Very British Top Tens, from Politics to Pop
'Panther spotted in Devon' makes it to number two in the list of 'Recurring news stories' and The Doors are number one in 'Most overrated 1960s bands'. This collection of amusingly debatable lists from John Rentoul's Independent on Sunday column ranges from 'Lost positives' (such as ert, gorm and gusted) to 'Films panned as turkeys that are actually quite good'.