Monthly recommendation #3 is a BBC documentary in the Timewatch series called ‘Shadow of the Ripper‘, made in 1988 – 100 years after the infamous murders.  I watched it on a whim a while ago, thinking it might be a trashy and salacious attempt to figure out who the murder is (even though I believe we’ll never know).  Which, to be honest, was what I was in the mood for at the time.  What I got instead was a very sober and, to me at least, fascinating account of why this particular serial killer became so famous.  (I had no idea, for example, that the East End was such a politically charged issue that George Bernard Shaw and William Morris thought there was a possibility that the murders might be part of a propaganda campaign.)  It starts with the premise that yes, we will never know who the real Jack was.  But we know a fair bit about who made the legend.

Current favourite aspect:
Made before you would ever need to look at a moustache and try to work out if it’s an ironic fashion statement.

Jesus but this flammably catchy song by French songsmith Jain has been raging through my brain these last weeks.  Although… I think I want to recommend the video as much as the song, which is smart and stylish and sassy and just puts a smile on my face every time I’m trying to recover from seeing what new shitstorm has just been unleashed on Twitter today. Continue reading

A slightly unconventional choice for Monthly Recommendation #2:

A book, also published under the title of Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science, by two physicists: Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont.  The beginning of the preface explains it all… Continue reading


The third of this month’s recommendations is my wife’s food blog:

Because, hey, why not?  It’s really good.  And genuinely, no amount of theoretical persuading would make me recommend it if I didn’t think it was really good.  (Not that there has been any persuading attempts – she was a little shocked when I told her I was doing it.)  She’s a trained chef, and she takes her food at least as seriously as I take my music. Continue reading

Recommendation #2 for this month.

I have been thrilling entertaining delighting telling all my friends about this book by David Eagleman about the brain.  (H particularly cannot hear enough about it.)  It’s a popular science book written by someone who is a big deal in their field (and who studied with Francis Crick, the giant of 20th century science who, together with James Watson, stole the discovery of DNA from Rosalind Franklin).

Every once in a while a landmark book/TV series comes along with the intention of popularising a field of academic expertise: Kenneth Clarke’s Civilisation, Jacob Bronowski’s The Ascent of Man, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.  And everything that David Attenborough has ever done. Continue reading