Books

Capturing the black experience: Jamel Shabazz and Gordon Parks



Malcolm X by Gordon Parks

This week is all about taking time to think about the troubles in America and consider our individual parts in the Black Lives Matter narrative. For once there is no excuse not to do something. If you’re on Instagram you will have seen all the black square posts for #blackouttuesday designed to create a pause for us to think about how we can actively support anti-racism. Whether that’s donating to Black Lives Matter causes, reading up on the everyday racism experienced by black people, well, every day, or buying from black owned businesses, it all helps.

Culturally, two important sources of information for me are Jamel Shabazz and Gordon Parks. (more…)



Watch this: White Riot – the story of Rock Against Racism



White Riot film - photo by Syd Shelton

This documentary, White Riot – the story of Rock Against Racism sounds brilliant. Rock Against Racism, a music movement spawned by a march and mini-festival in 1978 was such an important part of British social and music history and I bet the archive live footage is fantastic.

A special digital screening of the doc will take place from tomorrow (Wednesday 29th April) until Sunday 3rd May on the Curzon Live site here (£9.99 on demand). And on Thursday 30th April at 8.30pm GMT there will be a free live-streamed panel talk with director Rubika Shah and host Mark Kermode on YouTube here.

For a taster, watch the trailer here. (more…)



Gentlewoman style: At home with Phyllis Wang



Phyllis Wang by Elise Toide from The New Garconne - How to be a Modern Gentlewoman

I can’t remember if I told you, but I’m working on my next book!

It’s going to be beauty-focused and as part of my research, I’ve been re-reading my last book, The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman. Weirdly – or perhaps not – I haven’t had much need to revisit it since it was published in 2016. But like most books, when I do re-read it, it’s interesting to notice the parts that have a new or different relevance.

I loved interviewing comedienne Phyllis Wang. She was one of the last people I approached and was recommended by my then commissioning editor, Camilla. I was looking for women who embodied the ‘gentlewoman’ aesthetic and values of shopping consciously yet with their own ‘garconne style’ twist. Phyllis certainly veered to the eccentric end of the scale, which was totally fine! (more…)