In the Critics this week

Rufus Wainwright, superhero capers and atheist fiction.

This week, we publish a list of the 20 greatest political songs, as decided by members of the Political Studies Association and New Statesman readers. To mark the occasion, the blogger and critic Mark Fisher asks how music can be political in the current climate. "The dominant culture has been reclaimed by Tin Pan Alley populism that has once again reduced music to entertainment", he argues.

Elsewhere, two interviews as Suzy Klein meets Rufus Wainwright to chat about his debut opera, Prima Donna, and in Books, Julian Baggini quizzes Rebecca Goldstein on her novel about atheism. In Books, Geoffrey Robertson calls for a Bill of Rights, Anthony Julius reviews a "scholarly and speculative" history of capitalism and the Jews, Leo Robson weighs up D J Taylor's novel of 1930s poverty and Jude Rogers delves into London's countercultural history.

Plus, we have columns from our award-winning critics. Ryan Gilbey watches Matthew Vaughn's superhero comedy, Kick-Ass, Andrew Billen reviews the RSC's "response" to King Lear, Antonia Quirke is put off by all the sneering on Radio 4, Rachel Cooke stops by Sophie Dahl's busy kitchen and Will Self dines at Pret A Manger.

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SRSLY #90: Girls / The Knowledge / My Favorite Murder

Caroline and Anna discuss the final episode of Girls, the black cabbie documentary The Knowledge and the true crime podcast My Favorite Murder.

This is SRSLY, the pop culture podcast from the New Statesman. Here, you can find links to all the things we talk about in the show as well as a bit more detail about who we are and where else you can find us online.

Listen using the player below. . .

. . .or subscribe in iTunes. We’re also on StitcherRSS and SoundCloud – but if you use a podcast app that we’re not appearing in, let us know.

SRSLY is hosted by Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz, the NS’s assistant editor and editorial assistant. We’re on Twitter as @c_crampton and @annaleszkie, where between us we post a heady mixture of Serious Journalism, excellent gifs and regularly ask questions J K Rowling needs to answer.

The Links

Get tickets for our Twin Peaks quiz at


Anna’s piece on whether the girls in Girls were ever friends.

The Vulture piece we mention comparing the end of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life with the end of Girls.

Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow on the ending.

The Knowledge

The trailer.

A good (if short) review.

My Favorite Murder

The podcast.

For next time:

We’re playing Lumino City.

If you’d like to talk to us about the podcast or make a suggestion for something we should read or cover, you can email srslypod[at]

You can also find us on Twitter @srslypod, or send us your thoughts on tumblr here. If you like the podcast, we’d love you to leave a review on iTunes - this helps other people come across it.

We love reading out your emails. If you have thoughts you want to share on anything we’ve discussed, or questions you want to ask us, please email us on srslypod[at], or @ us on Twitter @srslypod, or get in touch via tumblr here. We also have Facebook now.

Our theme music is “Guatemala - Panama March” (by Heftone Banjo Orchestra), licensed under Creative Commons. 

See you next week!

PS If you missed #89, check it out here.

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