Outsized reaction to celebrity death is not a new thing, it even has its own entry on Wikipedia: Mourning sickness. Its zenith in this country was the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, a period in our history during which we behaved so peculiarly that we still can't look each other in the eye whilst talking about it. A madness took us, like a Bacchanalian orgy, only with less orifice-filling and more commemorative crockery.
Emerging from the stage door of the National Theatre in a pair of jeans and simple t-shirt, Zack Momoh looks a world away from his role as the soldier/cyclist in the performance of From Morning to Midnight. He has only a few hours before he's back on stage for the evening show, yet he greets me with an easy smile and relaxes into an armchair in a room looking out over London's Southbank...
As we prepare for and look forward to this milestone, an exhibition charting our history opens in London this week. This exhibition not only takes us back to our roots, it's also a timely tribute to all we've achieved and the campaigners, writers and artists who've helped us along the way. It's quite the walk down memory lane, and fills us with inspiration and hope for the future as we prepare for the inevitable challenges and threats to our rights and freedoms ahead.
If you asked the general public whether they believed in charity the overwhelming response would be yes. Of course charities do good work; no one can deny that charities help tens of thousands of vulnerable people in all manner of difficult situations. However, most of the mainstream charities and NGOs have become corporatised, choosing relationships with corporates and government instead of grassroots social change movements.
'The Wolf of Wall Street' is, by many standards, a good film. Sure, it follows all of the predictable plot beats that any given "money and drugs in the Eighties" flick entails, but it makes up for its lack of narrative surprises with its strong central performances and highly stylised depictions of excess.
Born on this day, 24 January 1941, Neil Diamond, singer-songwriter. There's something very nice and warm about Neil Diamond - he's like an old friend, a comfy pair of slippers, he's your favourite uncle. You see, I'm saying all this and I've never even met the guy. But reading about him confirms my thoughts.
Now I find myself flying to Innsbruck, Austria to film a TV show competing in winter sports. Almost a full circle of sorts.... just without the dancing. Unless I can dance on skis, which would be incredibly difficult! But even having the opportunity to compete with a five-time Olympic Gold Medalist is pretty awesome.
Ultimately the biggest problem with invoking that word is that it allows the media and us to pop her up onto the pedestal entitled "Woman Describing the Modern Female Experience" then return to our regular lives. We don't have to listen to other women with alternative experiences because, look, we've already got that one over there and see how much we idolise her?