When friends, family and admirers filled Manhattan’s Riverside Church to celebrate the life of Ornette Coleman, who died in 2015 at the age of 85, an opening procession was led by members of the Master Musicians of Jajouka.

When her partner lost his leather-bound vintage Hermès diary, Brigitte Benkemoun helped him find a replacement on ebay. A few days later, the substitute arrived, looking much like its predecessor. Closer inspection revealed…

It was 100 years ago that Harry Houdini, while on a UK tour, met Arthur Conan Doyle for the first time, at the author’s East Sussex family home. Their meeting had been preceded by a flurry of letters back and forth – 10 in two weeks…

In the early summer of 1953 the historian David Carpenter went to Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. He was six years old and his memories of the day are delicious — often literally so. Amid the pomp and pageantry…

Blooming flowers. Add inverted commas, an exclamation mark, and follow it with a moan about reindeers and it might be Raymond Briggs’s curmudgeonly Father Christmas. It might also have been me until middle age.

Every time protests erupt after yet another innocent black person is killed by police, “reform” is meekly offered as the solution. But what if drastically defunding the police is the best way to stop unnecessary violence and death…

Joseph Banks was the most famous man in England when, in 1771, aged 28, he returned from circumnavigating the world with Captain James Cook aboard Endeavour. Yet now he is all but forgotten.

“Trusting food meant trusting people.” This truth, as well as many of the anxieties of America’s Gilded Age chronicled in Pure Adulteration: Cheating on nature in the age of manufactured food, resonates strongly in the 21st century.

International Women’s Day of 2020 was a poignant intersection of struggles and paths. The collapse of Elizabeth Warren’s campaign to head the Democratic Party in the USA taught America that it will not get its woman president yet.

There is a shot in The Godfather (1972) that I’ve always loved: Don Corleone (Marlon Brando), leaving the Genco Olive Oil Company, in Little Italy, stops to buy some fruit from a street vendor. Two gunmen head his way.