Sam Parker

Site Director, British GQ

United Kingdom

Previous roles:
Digital Editor, Esquire
Features Editor, BuzzFeed UK
Culture Editor, The Huffington Post UK
Content Editor, Bauer Media
The Times, Observer, Telegraph, Mr Porter
Winner: DMA Magazine Website of the Year 2013 (
Nominated: BSME Rising Star 2014 Best Web Writer
Nominated: British Media Awards Launch of the Year 2014 (
Nominated: AOP Digital Publishing Awards 2014 Launch of the Year (
Get in touch:
[email protected]

Mark Ruffalo Steps Into The Spotlight

How handsome is Mark Ruffalo? It's a question I ask myself as he leans forward in the chair opposite, clasps his hands together and greets me with a wide grin. "Let's do this," he says, in London to promote his new Oscar-nominated film Spotlight, where, as ever with these things, we don't have much time.

Mark Rylance On Fame, Tom Hanks And How To Act - Esquire

Mark Rylance has a fondness for football metaphors, so here's one that helps explain how he is, paradoxically, the most revered actor of his generation and still a relative unknown in the eyes of the public. In 1986, having established himself as an accomplished stage actor, he was offered a part in Steven Spielberg's Empire Of The Sun.

Alone: How It Feels To Spend A Week In Isolation

"All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone" ― Blaise Pascal, Pensées It's 3:35am in the morning. I am standing in an open doorway, peering into a dark wood, wearing only a pair of thermal long johns. Snow is drifting onto my face from a moonlit sky.

Calling Bullshit On The 'Modern' Cocktail - Esquire

Drinking, I've often thought, is a bit like sex. When you're a teenager you'll take anything, regardless of whether you actually enjoy it. The point is the illicit thrill. Trying your first four pack of beer is likely to end a bit like losing your virginity: prematurely, followed by a flurry of embarrassed apologies.

The Greatest Songs Ever Written About Drinking

Whether it's that beautiful moment a group of strangers erupt into a duke box sing-a-long or the burbling rendition you perform alone as you sway blissfully in the bathroom stall during a great night out, booze and music are clearly made for each other.

How 'This Is England' Became The Greatest British TV Show Of The Decade

Countless TV shows have mined the extremities of human experience to create drama. Rape, murder, drug abuse, acts of horrible violence: we're so used to seeing it on our screens, we are almost numb to it. What made This Is England different is that it tried, harder than any other show on British television, to show the consequences of these terrible moments.

Irvine Welsh: "It's Time To Let Women Run The Show"

"When you go back to a novel, all you can see are the flaws. Every fucked up sentence." Irvine Welsh is sat in his hotel room, talking about the perils of going back over a book you've written.


The Guardian
Can The Onion's Clickhole learn from the viral-hungry websites it targets?

On 12 June this year the Onion launched ClickHole, a fully functioning satire of "clickbait" journalism and the viral-hungry websites that have dominated the early years of the social media age. With the tagline "because all content deserves to go viral", the site's initial targets were obvious.

The Guardian
Kristen Stewart, cute kids and death: how headlines try to hook you in

To trace journalism's erratic transition to the digital world, you only have to look at how dramatically headlines have changed - and why. Throughout the print era, pictures, standfirsts, opening paragraphs and several other factors helped lure you into a story.

The Guardian
BuzzFeed's success does not mean we should be slaves to clicks

Imagine if, 20 or 50 years ago, newspaper editors knew not only how many people were buying their paper each day but precisely how much of it they read. Imagine if they could see in real time, as their readers sat on the train each morning, which pages they were lingering on, which headlines drew them in and which stories they flicked past without so much as a second glance.

Long Form

Why Thousands Of Young Men Are Giving Up Pornography In 2014

"No single vice causes so much mental and physical debility," began a section of a popular home medical guide published in 1921, "than masturbation. It impairs the intellect, weakens the memory, debases the mind, ruins the nervous system and destroys body, mind and soul." Its author, Isaac D Johnson, wasn't saying anything particularly new.

Facebook At 10: The Case For The Defence

In 1982, three years before I was born, my Father was living in a tank in West Berlin. He was the 'gunner' in a regiment ordered to be ready in case Russia decided to turn the heat up on the Cold War and invade Germany.

The Huffington Post UK
The Real Cost Of Library Cuts

To mark National Libraries Day, The Huffington Post UK travels to Newcastle upon Tyne where a soon-to-be demolished local library plays a vital role in a community already savaged by the economic crisis, to pose the question: what do we really stand to lose by cutting funding to our local libraries? Everyone agrees: it doesn’t look like much from the outside.

14 Reasons You're More Likely To Read This Because It's A List

For years, print publications used lists as mere adornments to bigger stories. 'Boxouts' of facts or funny asides were designed to break up the text and help draw your eye in - they were the seasoning on the meat of news stories and features.

Behind-The-Scenes At Sky Sports News On Deadline Day

Andy Cairns, tall, warm, Cockney, Executive Editor of Sky Sports News, leans in with a pleasing thought. "On Match Of The Day, they sort of sit almost with their backs to you, don’t they? Like you’re eavesdropping on know-it-alls in the pub... We don’t do that. We say: ‘come and sit at our table’. We put you in the room with us." Just beyond his office in long blue television studio, a team of producers, editors and writers are getting ready for the biggest night in their relentless 24 hour...

The Hemingway Myth

Why one little-known novel in particular, The Garden Of Eden, should cause us to re-evaluate the great caricature of American literature.

The Huffington Post UK
How Tony Blair and Iraq Robbed a Generation of Their Faith in Politics

I imagine for many people alive today, the great politicising event of their childhood came in the form of a tragedy. The first dreadful hammer of the Luftwaffe passing overhead, the panicked screams at the Dealey Plaza or the bullet holes at Bogside - that key event that propelled you to develop a political consciousness seems more likely to have been one that made you angry than inspired. But for many of us who were still just 16 on 15 February, 2003, that landmark came in a moment of...

The Huffington Post UK
Cut Up: Why Losing 100% Art Funding Could Ruin The North's Culture Capital

Following news that Newcastle City Council is planning to cut 100% of its spending on arts and culture, former Newcastle resident Sam Parker returns to the city to find out how it will be affected, and questions the logic of rejecting the very area of public life that once helped save the region.

The Huffington Post UK
How A Quiet Norwegian Town Became The Home Of Global Graffiti Art

On first reflection, street art from the mean streets of LA or London and a sleepy port town in Norway doesn't sound like a match made in heaven. But wander around Stavanger for a few hours, where for over a decade giant murals have been left behind by luminaries like Ron English, Blek Le Rat and Swoon to fade into the fabric of an otherwise clean and quaint suburbia, and you soon realise that the contrast is precisely why Nuart Festival works so well. Set beside toy town wooden houses on...

The Times
Three-Minute Poetry? It's All The Rage

Rapid-fire ‘slam’ recitals with voting audiences are a big draw. Could this be the new X Factor? Every week in small theatres and pubs across Britain, poetry is being dragged back into popular culture by a new generation. The rules of “poetry slamming” are simple. Anyone is invited to perform for up to three minutes, and his or her efforts are scored out of ten by judges selected at random from the audience. There are heats, and whoever finishes with the highest score is the winner.

Opinion / Comment

How Tinder Made Me Hate My Own Face

There is a wonderful moment, near the end of the average adolescence, when you come to terms with your own face. When after all those years frowning into a mirror, mining blackheads from your too-big-nose or trying to force down your sticky-out-ears, a sudden sense of peace washes over you.

The Huffington Post UK
Living 24 Hours Like The Dice Man

Who were you this weekend? I was a busker, an artist and a beard fetishist by day and by night, both the life and soul of a party and its dullest guest. I went places I'd never been before, talked to people I'd never met and offended and amused strangers in equal measure. But none of it was my fault. I was simply obeying the Dice. Anyone who caught HuffPost Culture's liveblog on Saturday or followed our Twitter feed will have noticed that we were conducting a live review of Dice Life, a new...

The Truth About Those Smug Social Media Couples - Esquire

It's a rare but gratifying moment when a personal prejudice is backed up by science. A report from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin has concluded that people who post endlessly about their relationship on social media (#blessed) are usually the most insecure about them.

In Defence Of The Crap British Pub

Everyone knows the pub bore. He’s the yellow-jowelled jackal with thinning hair leaning over a pint of flat ale at the end of the bar, eyeing each person who walks through the door with glass-eyed desperation. Ready to pounce on any moment of politeness, he’ll lock his victim in with an interminable ramble stuffed with self-aggrandising anecdotes of implausible past glories before hinting that he’d like you to buy him a pint.

Why Football Stickers Were Better Than Money

The other day I was standing in a supermarket when I noticed a tray of football stickers by the counter. Acting on a dim but familiar impulse, I picked a packet up and turned it over in my hands. It felt like I remembered: thin, but somehow substantial, the stickers traceably smaller than their paper wrapping.

Why Manchester United's Demise Doesn't Feel As Good As It Should

It has been a football season of many unfamiliar joys this year. A genuine three way tussle at the top. A battle at the bottom that could yet drag several different teams into the abyss. But whatever happens at either end of the table, we all know what this season is really about.

The Huffington Post UK
Not Everyone At The News Of The World Was Guilty

Earlier this week, as Twitter let out its first collective gasp of horror over the News of the World revelations that brought about the end of the paper, I commented: Feel for everyone working at #NOTW who didn't hack a missing girl's phone, i.e. 99%. Not fun on the inside when something like this breaks. The replies I received dragged up some well-worn debates surrounding journalism and the ethics of picking who you work for. Broadly speaking, those who agreed with me worked in the media...

Why Bum Cleavage Has To Stop - Esquire

Through the dusty haze of this unexpected heat wave, a deeply troubling sight keeps emerging. It leaps out at you on crowded high streets, music festivals or anywhere the young congregate: two moist crescents of flesh, like wedges of Port Salut cowering in the sun, squeezed beneath a denim hem high as an incredulous eyebrow. We’re talking, of course, about ‘bum cleavage’, the latest gruesome sign we’re hurtling towards a dystopia in which everyone is nude all of the time and nothing at all...

How Rain Can Improve Your Glastonbury

It started as a gentle pitter-patter tiptoeing around the edges of our dreams, then turned into a roar, cold and fat and angry. Inside our tent - the one we'd later see photographed on the front cover of a national newspaper - we curled into smaller and smaller balls as the water licked its way towards us from the breached edges of our groundsheet, until finally, it became impossible to ignore and we went out.

In Praise Of... Russell Brand

Watching Russell Brand lean into Jeremy Paxman and tell him, eyes wild with agitation, that the revolution is coming on Newsnight this week, I was reminded of the final line of The Sun Also Rises: "Isn't it pretty to think so?" If that sounds like I'm trying to patronise the comedian, like old grumpy beard himself was, you're wrong.

Kurt Cobain Fans: Were We The Worst Dressed Teenagers Of All Time?

Kurt Cobain didn't care much for fashion. But unwillingly (all his influence was unwilling), he did set the style template for generations of angst-riddled teenagers, including mine. In all other counter culture movements, fashion has been integral. The hippies had their tie-dye and beads. The mods had their Chelsea boots and skinny lapels.

Why Driving Home For Christmas Can Be Painful

My favourite Christmas song is by Chris Rea, making this the earliest point in any article I've ever written where it feels necessary to issue the plea: 'hear me out'. But you know the one.

The Huffington Post UK
How Much Do We Really Need To Know About Joanna Yeates' Death?

Every day last week I read about the Joanna Yeates murder case in more and more detail. We now know much of the heart-breaking minutiae surrounding the fact that a 25-year-old woman was strangled to death in her flat a week before Christmas 2010. We know that she told a colleague she was 'dreading' spending the night alone from her boyfriend, that as she walked home she texted several friends in the hope that one of them would be available to keep her company (we have seen the exact...

The Huffington Post UK
Jimmy Savile's Latest Victim Is Art

When I contacted the Bread And Butter gallery to ask if their 'Jimmy Savile Is Innocent' exhibition was some kind of prank, they confirmed it was real and sent over a press release that opened with an imaginary Savile talking from beyond the grave: "Now then now then now then, I've been named a child abuser how's about that then? Goodness Gracious Guys and Gal's. Old Jimmy ridiculed in the press by hundreds of people most of which probably never met me and just out for their 15 seconds of...

The Huffington Post UK
David Starkey Has Failed Us As An Intellectual

Beyond the obvious, there was something deeply troubling about David Starkey's appearance on Newsnight on Friday. Giving a master class in excruciating ignorance the aging historian, almost bent double with his portentous fervour, delivered his assessment of the riots: 'the problem is that white people have become black.' It made me wonder if nothing - not the finest education (he won a scholarship to Cambridge), towering intellect, nor great professional success is enough to protect a man...

The Huffington Post UK
Why I Quit Twitter

Fifteen, if you're interested. That's how many days it takes to stop 'twinking' - a new term I'm adding to the Twitter slang book meaning 'think in tweets' (file next to: 'twanking'). Fifteen days into my self-imposed break from the site, I stopped reordering my thoughts into pithy 140-character paragraphs. Now my inner monologue ebbs and flows in a natural tide, rather than a frantic staccato of reconstructed wit. I am able to make a mean risotto, spot a fox climbing out of a bin or...

The Top 10 Worst Fashion Trends In History

Human history, it is comforting to believe, is on a steady trajectory of self-improvement. As the centuries pass we get better at how we treat ourselves and each other, though this progress is often punctuated by setbacks, the repetition of old mistakes. Fashion history may be similarily read.

The Huffington Post UK
Thanks A Bunch, St. Valentine

Dear St. Valentine, Thanks a bunch, mate. Thanks for the makeshift stand of gaudy red sweets taunting me as I queue at the supermarket, my basket of single ingredients swinging in my hand...

The Huffington Post UK
Forever St James' Park - Why Newcastle Fans Renamed Mike Ashley Years Ago

In one sense it's fair enough - most Newcastle fans changed Mike Ashley's name years ago. True the commercial gains were slim, but referring to our portly owner by the initials 'FC' - something an appreciation of terrace humour will help decipher - has given bruised Geordies some small sense of revenge against a man who has found several inventive and sadistic ways to insult us since he arrived in 2007. First though - in the interest of fending off the 'hysterical Geordies' tag beloved of...

The Huffington Post UK
Sod You, Movember Man

Sod Movember. Yeah, you heard me. Sod it. Sod the suddenly bristly newsreaders scratching themselves on screen, sod the smug, self-congratulatory Facebook pictures of blossoming ironic moustaches - sod you, Movember Man, smearing your masculinity all over your face in the name of charity. Ah yes, charity. The great justifier. Nauseating pop singles? The moron in your office wearing his clothes backwards for a day to divert attention from the bell jar that is his personality? The fact you...

The Huffington Post UK
Samantha Brick Has Made Daily Mails Of Us All

Samantha Brick, to use a parlance I'd never normally use in print - or, to be fair, in the pub, where I'd be far cruder - is 'a bit of alright'. But my opinion of her looks is beside the point. The reason Twitter has got its woolly knickers in a twist is because she thinks she's a bit of alright, which got me thinking about modesty, and how it is without a doubt the most overrated virtue of them all. This isn't a woman claiming to be Scarlett Johansson. Indeed, she says: "While I'm no Elle...

An Open Letter To Trolls

Dear Troll, First off: allow us to clarify who this letter is addressed to for readers who don’t bother with Twitter, for whom looking at newspapers this past week must have been a bewildering experience. We are not talking to those hulking beasts of Scandinavian folklore with the noses like squashed aubergines who skulk around forests scratching their arses with fallen trees branches.

Is This The Most Disturbing Phone App Of All Time?

In 2013, the much-feted American author and essayist Dave Eggers published a novel called that was quickly hailed as 'the most prescient satirical commentary of the early internet age'. Set in the not too distant future, it follows a young woman called Mae who lands a dream job working for a social media company that has swallowed Google, Facebook, Twitter and the rest to completely monopolise our online behavior.

The Huffington Post UK
How I Became A Royalist

I can't pinpoint exactly when it happened. Perhaps it was Harry buffooning his way around the Bahamas that sealed the deal, or Kate charming her away around her arts charities. Perhaps it was during the Royal Wedding last year, when for one day London felt the way people who lived through the 50s say it used to be all the time - with my five-year-old niece padding fearlessly around her neighbour's knees and us adults cheering through a drunken tug-of-war.

The Huffington Post UK
Four Year Sentence For Facebook Rioters Shows We Are Losing Our Heads

In the wake of the riots, it was wryly observed by more than one commentator that those of a normally liberal disposition were suddenly getting in touch with their authoritarian side. It is often the way. I'll never forget as a 22-year-old witnessing the 7/7 terrorists attacks and experiencing a surge of pained blood lust that frightened me. Track down anyone involved, I thought, knowing my sister had narrowly avoided one of the underground trains that was blown up, and send them to the...

Give Verse A Chance

Poetry isn't quite an ugly word, but it is an uncomfortable one. Try suggesting it to a group of your friends and see the reaction you get - an immediate severing of eye contact in most cases, physical recoil in some.


How To Save The Trainspotting Sequel

Nothing about Cool Britannia is cool anymore. Britpop, Damien Hirst, Loaded magazine, Geri Halliwell's Union Jack dress... all have gone the way of Tony Blair and New Labour: embarrassing, even peered at through the twinkly prism of nostalgia.

Why Gravity's Success At The Oscars Would Be A Travesty

There is a moment, about a third of the way into Gravity, when George Clooney's character is forced to confront one of the most horrifying deaths in cinema history. Floating unprotected in space, after almost reaching the safety of their shuttle, his astronaut has to let go in order for his co-pilot, Dr. Ryan Stone, to make it.

The Moment 'True Detective' Put Another Bullet In The Gut Of Cinema

Warning: contains (small) spoiler from True Detectives episode four. In the midst of cinema's glory week, when the industry is still patting itself on the back for a successful Oscars, it may be a little churlish to draw attention to a further example of how TV is overtaking its bigger brother.

In Praise Of... Natural Born Killers - Esquire

This week marks 20 years since the release of Natural Born Killers, which is not, I realise, a statement likely to cause an outpouring of excited nostalgia. This, after all, is a film with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 50%, one of the most derided films from a director with more than one turkey in his oeuvre.

In Praise Of... Dead Man's Shoes - Esquire

When it comes to cinema, there are two things British actors are irrefutably the best at in the world. The first is the debonair smirk, as perfected by Cary Grant, Michael Caine and every James Bond since Dr. No (even George Lazenby got that part right).

The Huffington Post UK
Iraq Anniversary: How War Poetry Played A Part In The War In Iraq

When you think of war poetry, you’re usually drawn to the literary icons of the early 20th Century. To John McCrae’s young soldiers who ‘loved and were loved, and now lie in Flanders fields’, Wilfred Owen’s Doomed Youth, with ‘the holy glimmers of goodbyes’ in their eyes, or to Siegfried Sassoon’s enemies ‘squealing like stoats’ beneath the bombs of his ‘Atrocities’. Perhaps this tendency is rooted, not only in our education of poetry, but in how we think of those wars themselves: the great...

Lists / Viral Hits

7 Internet Skills All Men Should Have

Traditionally, any lists of 'essential man skills' have included things like 'making a fire', 'changing a plug' or 'opening a bottle without a corkscrew'. But all of those things take place in the real world, and who the hell hangs out there anymore? Instead, familiarise yourself with the following essential bits of know-how for your digital life.

BuzzFeed UK
22 April 2013
19 Things Northerners Miss When They Move To London

For centuries, people from the north of England have left to find fame and fortune in more illustrious parts of the world. But where ever they end up, they always find themselves missing the same things about home...


A Difficult Interview With Director Brett Morgen

Brett Morgen spent almost eight years making his latest documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck, immersing himself in hours of previously unseen recordings, diaries and video footage of the late Nirvana front man.

Jameela Jamil: “Men are like these vessels that are about to burst."

Jameela Jamil is sat in a central London restaurant eating gluten-free bread because she has allergies, wearing a voluminous purple dress ("like something from Sesame Street" she muses as she arrives) that rustles when she gets animated - which is often - talking to me about male suicide.

David Fincher: I'm Not Waging A War On Selfies

There is a moment midway through Gone Girl 's second act when Tanner Bolt - a hotshot lawyer in the Johnnie Cochran mould who specialises in getting husbands off the hook for killing their wives - reliably informs the film's protagonist Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) that his case won't be decided by the facts, but by "what the public thinks of you".

Willem Dafoe: What I've Learned

I don't cling to advice, but I'll always take it. God knows I need it. I have favourite roles. But I try to forget what they are on principle. I can't think of anything worse than meeting my heroes. What would I say to them?

The Huffington Post UK
David Lammy On Out Of The Ashes

In this video interview, MP for Tottenham David Lammy discusses his new book Out Of The Ashes, a response to the summer riots that rocked Britain. Speaking not just as the political representative but a life-long resident of the area where the events of August began, Lammy puts forward his case for why the riots happened, what they say about our society and what he feels needs to be done now to ensure mass-looting and violence doesn't break out in our streets again.

The Huffington Post UK
Kate Tempest, The Most Exciting Young Writer In Britain

About seven years ago I sat in the comedy tent at Leeds festival waiting to see the legendary punk poet John Cooper Clarke, when a short, young-looking blonde girl in baggy jeans and a scruffy jumper came on stage and introduced herself as a poet called Kate Tempest. You could feel a collective groan ripple through an audience expecting a man in leather trousers and some rock and roll wit. “Who the hell does this girl think she is?” one guy in front of me said before she’d even reached the...

Steve Coogan: "I'm Bored Of Modern Comedy"

Steve Coogan is bored of comedy. "Most acts I see on television, their sole objective is to have a career. They're very professional, very slick, but they look like they've read a manual on how to do stand up."

Ken Loach On Jimmy's Hall, Retirement And Nigel Farage

Ever since Billy Casper and his kestrel embedded themselves in the national consciousness in 1969 in Kes, Ken Loach's films have been simultaneously embraced as paradigms of social realism and dismissed as socialist propaganda. To the left, he is a tireless defender of the working classes and, at 77, something of a grandee.

Forest Whitaker: What I've Learned

I was a curious child. I'd debate with anyone who came to the door - people from the Islamic community... Jehovah's Witnesses... anyone. The best piece of advice I ever got was from my Mom. We used to go church every Sunday.

Marine Vacth: The Most Beautiful Woman You Haven't Heard Of (Interview)

Jeune & Jolie - 'Young & Beautiful' in English - is the French independent film that picked up a Palme d'Or nomination at this year's Cannes. It follows the story of Isabella, a Parisian teenager who decides to become a high-class prostitute for no discernible reason - she's from a loving family, has no need for money and isn't shown to be in any way abused or mentally unwell.

Steve Coogan Talks To Esquire

Where does Steve Coogan end and Alan Partridge begin? Throughout a shrewd, often hysterical marketing campaign for the launch of Alpha Papa , the comedian has blurred the lines more than ever.

The Huffington Post UK
America's Greatest Living Poet Sharon Olds On Winning The TS Eliot Prize, Divorce And Being A...

For all the experimentation with form and subject in the books on the TS Eliot shortlist this year - from Sean Borodale's documentary poems about bee keeping to Simon Armitage's translation of a 15th century poem - in the end, it was poet with a style so familiar to us that won. Yet Sharon Olds, becoming the first American since 1995 to win the biggest poetry prize in Britain at the age of 70, didn't feel like a safe or a sentimental choice but simply the right one. She was nominated for...

The Huffington Post UK
Charlie Brooker: What Inspires Me

Author, newspaper columnist and TV presenter Charlie Brooker tells us about the writers that have that inspired him, his thoughts on the US election and why today, he mainly reads baby books...

The Huffington Post UK
John Lanchester, Claire Tomalin, Kate Williams At Althorp Literary Festival

Beneath indecisive skies, buffeted by blustery British winds, the glorious Althorp House opened its door this week for its 9th annual literary festival. Uniting the public with some of the biggest names in literature in the intimate setting of one of the most beautiful homes in the country, it was an event as quintessentially British as the weather - and HuffPost UK was proud to be there taking in the action as the event's media partner. Several sessions held across three days saw the public...

The Huffington Post UK
David Blunkett, David Aaronovitch, Ruth Padel At HowTheLightGetsIn Festival

Every summer in Britain we flock in our thousands to outdoor festivals promising music, comedy and theatre, always hoping to experience those sublime moments that occur when strangers are united for a good time. But what about that other ancient art that once drew a crowd, philosophy? Can the British, with our famous reserve, our manners and our taboos be truly entertained by questions, ideas and debates? Or even find ourselves coaxed into joining in?

The Huffington Post UK
Orange Prize Winner Madeline Miller On Why The Classics Deserve Their Revival

Last night a new star of fiction was born out of an ancient story. In a quiet room in the back of London's Southbank Centre, where moments before she’d been awarded the Orange Prize for Fiction for her debut novel The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller is excited and animated - particularly as she discusses her love of the classics. “When I was very young, my Mother used to read the Iliad and the Greek myths to me as bedtime stories,” she explains.

The Huffington Post UK
Dr Ozzy: 'I'm More Likely To Bite The Head Off A Lettuce These Days'

What becomes of our rock and roll heroes? Some die young and remain as we remember them forever, others grow old and end up selling us car insurance - but only one so far has found a new career as a doctor (well, sort of...). Step forward Black Sabbath legend Ozzy Osbourne, who as well as starring in a reality TV show and releasing a brilliant autobiography (2010's I Am Ozzy) has used his rock retirement to reinvent himself as a medical adviser, culminating in this Christmas' must-have...

The Huffington Post UK
Jonathan Ross On His Graphic Novel Turf

Jonathan Ross is wet. I don't mean that metaphorically - his handshake is as robust as it looks on television - but in the literal sense. He's just been forced to walk through a biblical blast of Autumn rain because his taxi driver - no doubt high on having a celebrity in his cab - insisted on taking him the scenic route to the London Forbidden Planet store where we're waiting for him in a dingy staff room. Rather than be late, he just jumped out and walked. As he bursts in dripping every...

Culture Reviews

The Huffington Post UK
Black Mirror 'White Bear' (REVIEW)

The first 45 minutes of White Bear, the second episode of Charlie Brooker's trilogy of technology-fearing dystopias, played out like a low-budget, low-quality version of 28 Days Later. It's basically the worst thing he's ever written, which, you come to realise, is the whole point. A woman named Victoria wakes up from an apparent suicide attempt, unable to remember who she is. To make matters worse, the world outside makes no sense either: mysterious transmitters have turned most of the...

The Huffington Post UK
Roy Lichtenstein: Retrospective At Tate Modern (REVIEW)

Roy Lichtenstein died in 1997, when the internet was still only a 100,000 or so websites, before anyone had 'Googled' anything and broadband was nothing more than a geek's wet dream. And so he never lived to see how, today, his experiments with parody and pastiche and his gift for reshaping pop culture into something more profound would find their echoes in everyday life: the memes and Tumblrs we make and share as we respond to and satirise the world around us, just as he did.

The Huffington Post UK
Jodi Kantor On The Obamas: A Mission, A Marriage

Jodi Kantor’s new book The Obamas: A Mission, A Marriage is the story of America’s first couple and how their relationship has struggled to adapt to the strains of life in the White House. Sparking debate in Washington and abroad, the book is the most intimate portrait yet of the most powerful couple in the world and what makes them tick. In this interview with HuffPost UK Culture, the New York Times White House Correspondent

The Huffington Post UK
Damien Hirst At The Tate Modern

Damien Hirst, the most famous artist in Britain, got to this ludicrous point – millions in the bank, a retrospective at the country’s premier modern art gallery, a role as our cultural Olympiad for heaven’s sake – by shocking us, a few times, 20 or so years ago. But what his retrospective really proves is that by elevating him to this degree we’ve been ‘had’ all along.

The Huffington Post UK
Yoko Ono: To The Light

Maybe it's the cynicism that pervades so much post-modern art. Maybe it's the 'world out there' being defined by its fiscal gloom and the glaring failures of capitalism. But when you walk into Yoko Ono's new exhibition To The Light at Hyde Park's Serpentine Gallery and see three identical mounds of earth labeled 'Country A' 'Country B' and 'Country C' in front of the classic 'War Is Over' poster she made with John Lennon, the wave of hippie idealism that hits you feels more refreshing than...

The Huffington Post UK
Can An iPad Make You Paint Like David Hockney?

Of the many delights awaiting those who have tickets for David Hockney's new blockbuster art show at the Royal Academy, perhaps the most surprising will be the The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate series. Why? Because here you'll find 50-odd pieces that the 75-year-old composed on his iPad. Incredibly, sat in the tranquillity of the East Yorkshire countryside, Hockney captured the woodlands and hedgerows of England using just the tips of his finger, a copy of the Brushes app (£5.49) and one of...

The Huffington Post UK
Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands

The first voice you hear, should you pause at the headphone points dotted around the British Library’s new exhibition Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands, belongs to the poet Simon Armitage. The man synonymous with West Yorkshire is a fitting choice to begin an examination

The Huffington Post UK
David Hockney: A Bigger Picture

In Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel The Remains of the Day, the lead character observes: "The English landscape at its finest possesses a quality that the landscapes of other nations, however more superficially dramatic, inevitably fail to possess. It is, I believe, a quality... best summed up by the term 'greatness.'" David Hockney has spent the past seven years sat amongst the hedgerows and woodlands of his native East Yorkshire obsessively capturing – and in some cases, dramatising - precisely...

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Picasso And Modern British Art

It's a good job art isn’t a particularly tribal pursuit, or Picasso and British Modern Art would be a pretty devastating show for the British public. This is a fantastic chance to see some landmark paintings by the undisputable master of modern art and get a feel for the astonishing depth of his influence over his peers. Just leave any sense of patriotism at home.

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Kelly Brook In Forever Crazy At Crazy Horse Cabaret (REVIEW)

For almost two decades, through the death of a Princess, the rise and fall of four Prime Ministers, a war on terror, a global financial meltdown, expenses scandals, hacking scandals and the inexorable social changes wreaked by the internet one thing has remained a constant - somewhere out there, Kelly Brook has been taking her clothes off. Make no mistake: it is the enormous nostalgia and affection attached to the British model - still only 32 - that will account for almost everybody who...

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Damien Hirst The Spot Prints

There is something incorrigibly smug about the concept behind Damien Hirst’s The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011, in which his trademark prints of multi-coloured dots are being shown across each of Gagosian Gallery’s eleven global locations, and something smugger still about his decision to award a ‘personalised print’ to the first person to see them all. Essentially it’s an absurdly rich artist offering a prize to anyone absurdly rich enough to travel across an absurd global route to see...

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Out Of The Ashes By David Lammy

Four months ago David Lammy walked through the aftermath of the August riots in Tottenham - 'each footstep meeting with the crunch of broken glass, bricks and debris... passed charred remains of two police cars and a double-decker bus'. While David Cameron remained on holiday, a visibly shaken Lammy issued a statement denouncing the violence and defending his constituents. His address became one of the defining images of the summer riots. Out of the Ashes is his attempt to give the period...

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Yayoi Kusama At Tate Modern

To say that Yayoi Kusama captures people’s imaginations is an understatement. From her time as a performance art provocateur sticking dots on naked New Yorkers in the 1960s to the rumour that her Obliteration Room installation might be appearing in London trending on Twitter this year, the Japanese-born 82-year-old is one of those rare modern artists who inspires delight rather than derision in ‘non-arty types’. For that reason alone, her new retrospective at the Tate Modern deserves to be a...

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The Queen: Art & Image

Standing in a shop in Charing Cross Station on my way to see The Queen: Art & Image at The National Portrait Gallery, I happened to notice that the impulse shelf was stuffed with not 1 but 4 new books on Her Royal Highness. A premonition of fatigue hit me.

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Lucian Freud Portraits

It’s only when you finally arrive at the paintings of Freud’s mother that the tension lets up. Here, in a small room midway through the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, she suddenly appears: Lucie, painted in the early 70s...

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Leonardo Da Vinci: Painter At The Court Of Milan

The problem with the word 'genius' isn't only that we sometimes apply it to undeserving people, it's that we tend to use it as an explanation for why someone can do something that we can’t - the divine gift. The geniuses, of course, know better. As Ernest Hemingway once said “It's none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.” With Leonardo Da Vinci: Painter At The Court Of Milan, the most ambitious and talked-about art exhibition to run...

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Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye

For a great many people, Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye will be a chance to decide if they should care about the artist for any other reason than the fact he painted the most famous artwork in the world. It’s rare that a painter of Munch’s reputation is eclipsed so thoroughly by a single piece, but then it’s rare for a single piece to be as well known outside the art world as The Scream – not even the Mona Lisa comes close.

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Turner Prize 2012 (REVIEW)

Some years the scorn that usually greets any mention of the Turner Prize feels justified, a reflection of a show always good at creating headlines but often short on genuine artistic merit. Thankfully, 2012 is no such year. If you rolled your eyes when you read about sculptures of poo and an artist who changed her name to Spartacus, don't give up hope just yet. A room of surreal and skillful drawings, two deeply absorbing but very different video installations and a moment of absurdist...

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The Good Father By Noah Hawley

Noah Hawley's fourth novel, The Good Father, is his first to be published in the UK. A skim read of both his biography the synopsis of the novel could easily give readers the wrong idea of what to expect altogether. Here is an accomplished TV producer and screenwriter writing a novel about a political assassination, in which a happily married doctor arrives home one evening to see on the TV that a Presidential candidate has been shot, and the man accused of the crime is his own son from a...

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Woolwich Terror Attack: Updates

Victim of attack is identified. Cameron: “An attack on Britain and a betrayal of Islam.” WARNING: Graphic content.

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The Booker Prize 2012 (LIVE)

Hollywood has the Oscars. Pop has the Grammies. Well-groomed canines have Crufts. And here in the world of literature, we have the Booker Prize. In approximately five hours time, Sir Peter Stothard will lead his army of battle-weary judges out from the tiny, airless room they've been locked in since the shortlist was announced in September to deliver the verdict the book world has been waiting for. A timely reminder, then, of the six wordsmiths trying to comb their hair with both...

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Living As The Dice Man For 24hrs

Let's ease into Dice Living fairly gently by picking which pick-me-up to start the day with. Will it be... A nice refreshing glass of water A stimulating strong coffee A soothing cup of tea A relaxing camomile concoction A sharpening bottle of lager A suicidal shot of cheap, horrible vodka