Christopher Bray

: Clancy Sigal and Doris Lessing, sitting together on a London bus

‘Steer clear of that cave boy, James Dean, and grease ball, Elvis Presley’

2 June 2018 9:00 am

Lucky bastard. Such are the words that come constantly to mind while you’re reading Clancy Sigal’s two volumes of posthumously…

Adam Gopnik (image: Getty)

Art and aspiration

21 October 2017 9:00 am

When Adam Gopnik arrived in Manhattan in late 1980 he was an art history postgrad so poor that he and…

Bogart and Bacall in The Big Sleep

Band of bickering brothers

7 October 2017 9:00 am

There aren’t many downsides to being a film critic, but one of them is being asked to name your favourite…

Making Nietzsche New

30 April 2016 9:00 am

Had you been down at Naumburg barracks early in March 1867, you might have seen a figure take a running…

Groucho Marx (Photo: Getty)

When Groucho Marx lectured T.S. Eliot

27 February 2016 9:00 am

Groucho Marx was delighted when he heard that the script for one of his old Vaudeville routines was being reprinted…

Orson Welles: ‘I started at the top and worked my way down’

Homage to awesome Welles on his centenary

12 December 2015 9:00 am

One day in May 1948 in the Frascati hills southeast of Rome, Orson Welles took his new secretary, Rita Ribolla,…

An early photograph of Sinatra, the flute-thin crooner.From Charles Pignone’s Sinatra 100 (Thames & Hudson)

Frank Sinatra never went away — but did he ever grow up?

7 November 2015 9:00 am

‘He never went away. All those other things that we thought were here to stay, they did go away. But…

What did Steve Davis do to succeed at snooker? Everything his dad told him

25 April 2015 9:00 am

Among the more intriguing insights into an election that seems to be taking longer than a Cliff Thorburn 50 break…

Tippi Hedren helps save schoolchildren in The Birds. Hitchcock confided to François Truffaut that he’d had ‘some emotional problems’ with Hedren during the shoot. For the final scene, live birds were attached to Hedren’s clothes. The actress became increasingly hysterical over the course of the week it took to film it, and when a bird finally went for her eyes, she collapsed

A profile of the worlds’s most famous film director — with the most famous profile

18 April 2015 9:00 am

‘Do it with scissors’ was Alfred Hitchcock’s advice for prospective murderers, though a glance at these two biographies reminds us…

Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in 1946

Jean-Paul Sartre was perhaps the 20th century’s most famous thinker - if you can get beyond the verbiage

7 March 2015 9:00 am

Thomas R. Flynn has written an avowedly ‘intellectual biography’ of Jean-Paul Sartre, which might seem fitting. Sartre was nothing if…

Composer, conductor, author, pianist, lecturer — was there anything Leonard Bernstein couldn’t do?

29 November 2014 9:00 am

On 17 May 1969 Leonard Bernstein ended his 12-year run as musical director of the New York Philharmonic with a…