Patrick Skene Catling


An elegy for Concorde, the most beautiful airliner of all time

14 November 2015 9:00 am

The Concorde experience, a fleeting indulgence in luxurious grandiosity, began each day with circumvention of the hugger-mugger of the hoi…

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Manhattan

Woody Allen: a life of jazz, laughter, depression —and a few misdemeanours

26 September 2015 8:00 am

Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg), the prolific, Oscar-winning auteur, New Orleans-style jazz clarinettist, doyen of New York delicatessen society,…

Dennis Potter, 1978 (Photo: Getty)

Dennis Potter: one of the last great masters of vituperation

11 July 2015 9:00 am

‘Genuine invective is an almost lost art in our wild satirical age,’ Dennis Potter complained in New Society in 1966.…

There may be an unknown somebody even more wonderful

The smartphone is like having a singles bar in one’s pocket 24/7

20 June 2015 9:00 am

An American stand-up comedian Aziz Ansari, who usually performs in Los Angeles and New York, has found time to conduct…

Disturbed patients in a London lunatic asylum, 1838. From 'Sketches in London' by James Grant. Photo: Getty Images

Back to Bedlam: Patrick Skene Catling on the book that makes madness visible

4 April 2015 9:00 am

Madness is an ancient, evidently inscrutable mystery, often regarded with superstitious fear, yet can provide a refuge from reality. Sometimes,…

Sidney Bechet in 1939

Blue Note's 75 years of hot jazz

8 November 2014 9:00 am

This is a big book, a monumental text with 800 illustrations, 400 of them in colour, to be contemplated more…

River Kenmare

A Troubles novel with plenty of violence and, thank heaven, some sex too

13 September 2014 9:00 am

‘The Anglo-Irish, their tribe, are dying. . . . They will go without a struggle, unlamented,’ Christopher Bland, 76, declares…

The William A Clark Mansion on Fifth Avenue and recluse, Huguette Clark Photo: Getty / PA Images

The robber baron who 'bought judges as other men buy food’

2 August 2014 9:00 am

The robber barons of the gilded age, at the turn of the 20th century, were the most ruthless accumulators of…

O.Z. Whitehead, Dorris Bowdon, John Carradine and Henry Fonda in the 1940 film, The Grapes of Wrath

The two people who brought us The Grapes of Wrath

25 January 2014 9:00 am

John Steinbeck (1902–1968), an ardent propagandist for the exploited underdogs of the Great Depression, had barely enough money for subsistence…


How to get old without getting boring

19 October 2013 9:00 am

When one notices the first symptoms of senile dementia (forgetting names, trying to remember the purpose of moving from one…

The Spoken Word, Irish Poets and Writers - audio book

8 June 2013 9:00 am

Here is further evidence that it is disillusioning, more often than not, to encounter close up any artist long admired…


A hero of folk

9 February 2013 9:00 am

‘This Machine Kills Fascists’ was the ambitious slogan that Woody Guthrie (1912-1967) painted on his guitars. By fascists he meant…

Pig in the middle

12 January 2013 9:00 am

With nice ecumenical parity, Peter Somerville-Large derides equally both Ireland’s principal Christian churches as they compete for the soul, or…

Arnold Schwarzenegger on the set of Batman and Robin, directed by Joel Schumacher, 1997

Bionic bore

3 November 2012 9:00 am

After wading through 646 pages of narcissistic gush and breathtaking vulgarity in the accents of Dr Kissinger and Dr Strangelove,…

Thrills and spills

28 July 2012 6:00 am

The singer of the ‘Lumberjack Song’, vendor of the Dead Parrot and leader of the Spanish Inquisition has written another…


Swinging into action

14 July 2012 6:00 am

Whereas it is generally agreed that music has charms to soothe a savage breast, Congreve might have added that music…


Bookends: Prep-school passions

19 May 2012 10:00 am

In his introductory eulogy, Peter Parker calls In the Making: The Story of a Childhood  (Penguin, £8.99) G. F. Green’s…


Travel Special – Grenada: Fit for a prince

24 March 2012 3:00 pm

Patrick Skene Catling finds his favourite Caribbean island in Jubilee mood

Time to sit and stare

11 February 2012 10:00 am

Hermitic, oneiric withdrawal from responsibilities and threats is the most effective way of alleviating the pangs of middle age, suggests…

A serenely contented writer

3 December 2011 11:00 am

Beaming Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE, D.Litt. (Oxon), Mark Twain medallist and co-founder of the Hollywood Cricket Club (1881-1975), personified…

A literary curio

26 November 2011 11:00 am

Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac, better known as Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), the son of French-Canadians spiced with the blood of Mohawk…


Bookends: The Jazz Baroness

20 August 2011 12:00 am

She was born Kathleen Annie Pannonica Rothschild.

A well-told lie

13 August 2011 12:00 am

Michael Ondaatje takes a journey into childhood


12 March 2011 6:00 am

About 80 per cent of books sold in this country are said to be bought by women, none more eagerly than Joanna Trollope’s anatomies of English middle-class family life. Her 16th novel, Daughters-in-Law (Cape, £18.99), is sociologically and psychologically as observant as ever, showing how not to be a suffocatingly possessive mother-in-law.


Beatrix Potter meets the Marquis de Sade

12 February 2011 12:00 am

Anthropomorphism and a weird, astringent sense of humour combined to make The Queue, the late Jonathan Barrow’s only novel, a work of genius in the opinion of his brother Andrew.