Richard Benson

Category: Uncategorized

I’ve Lived This: Kano’s Fire In The Booth Session and 21st Century Biography

Kano’s seven-and-a-half-minute Fire in The Booth posted today is attracting acclaim on social media, and you can see why: the performance would have looked impressive in any form, but to pull it off in a single take is pretty unusual, as Charlie Sloth says at the end. Music can be overburdened by intellectual analysis, but […]

Capitalist Propaganda on the 14.05

A curious bit of ideological propaganda on the livery of a Virgin train at Manchester’s Piccadilly Station this afternoon. The carriage is interesting market of capitalism’s project to displace neutral academia and position itself as the pre-eminent engine of learning and knowledge; not since Manchester’s 19-the century glory days has British commerce so boldly proclaimed […]

How real are the Eighties youth culture references in the last men’s fashion collections?

Northern Soul vests and jackets at TopMan. Jeremy Scott prints based on early-period MTV graphics, James Rizzi and Barney Bubbles. Late Eighties/early Nineties bagginess at Craig Green and E Tautz. An entire collectionbased on football casuals from Japanese designer Takahisa Maede (see picture above). Eighties youth culture was a key reference in the men’s fashion […]

Car Parks Are Not Just Car Parks Anymore: at London Fashion Week 09/15

I encountered Luo Qian at the junction of Brewer and Great Windmill Streets last Thursday, the first day of London Fashion Week. She was 28, from Shanghai, visiting Britain for the first time. She had wanted to come to look at the London Fashion Week HQ in the famous art deco Brewer Street car park […]

Post-modern Pop: What Zayn’s departure from 1D tells us about modern music

Anyone reading the hundreds of thousands of tweets about Zayn Malik’s announcement that he was leaving One Direction may have a noticed the frequent comparisons to teen-band stars quitting in the past – Ginger leaving the Spice Girls in ’98, Brian McFadden’s splitting from Westlife in 2004, or Robbie’s exit from Take That in 1996. […]

Modern politics, sort of

I saw this in the toilets of the Forest Cafe in Edinburgh last week, and just thought: it’s interesting how fringe left politics went from smashing the system to smashing selective parts of it. You can imagine Margaret Thatcher’s father Alderman Roberts stepping onto this volunteer-run vegetarian cafe and art space by mistake, and feeling a twinge of […]

Water And Sky by Neil Sentence

Water And Sky, published this month by Little Toller, collects together Neil Sentance’s Scenes From The Waterside essay sequence, which was first published by Caught By The River between 2010 and 2013. The essays have a muddy lyricism that has been recognised by critics for some time: “A marvellous and haunting sequence,” said Robert McFarlane. “It is […]

The Boy Who Fell Into A Book, and The Small Pleasures of Generous Leg-room in Theatres

Laura and I take the children and my mother to see a matinee of Alan Ayckbourn’s children’s musical, The Boy Who Fell Into A Book at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. I fear it will be too old-fashioned for the girls, with its references to boys who love cake, chess and Kidnapped. Rare in […]

The Laurin. M. memorial toilet

Roger Bucklesby and his bench may have turned out to be a semi-hoax, but this commemoration, which I came across today, is entirely genuine. The small plaque adorns a wall of the customer toilets in Scarborough’s celebrated Harbour Bar ice cream parlour. I was curious about it because the toilet is in its own way stunning, […]

The Valley has been shortlisted for the 2014 Gordon Burn prize

The Valley is one of the six books shortlisted for the second annual Gordon Burn Prize. This is extremely flattering because of the obvious quality of the other books on the list, and because I’ve been reading Gordon Burn’s writing since I was a teenager. I first came across him when he was writing for […]