In the Critics this week

Bryan Appleyard on Evgeny Morozov, Gabriel Josipovici on Thomas Bernhard and Will Self on eels.

In the Critics section of this week's New Statesman, Bryan Appleyard considers Evgeny Morozov's angry polemic against political evangelism on the web, while T G Rosenthal explains the origins of his book in defence of L S Lowry.

Geoffrey Wheatcroft is enchanted by David and Gareth Butler's weighty tome British Political Facts and concludes that "every politically conscious home should have one". Olivia Laing's low expectations for Claire Dederer's yoga memoir Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses are exceeded, thanks to the writer's wry style. And Jonathan Beckman is grateful to the translator of Antal Szerb's Love in a Bottle for resurrecting the Hungarian writer's short stories from the 1930s. Marc Stears is not convinced by James T Kloppenberg's attempt to uncover the intellectual roots of Barack Obama's aversion to political conflict, while our Critic at Large Gabriel Josipovici extols the comic virtues of the Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard.

Elsewhere in the Critics, Ryan Gilbey is unshocked by the climax of Danny Boyle's 127 Hours. Rachel Cooke wishes the casting of BBC1's Zen had been as imaginative as the Michael Dibdin book it is adapted from. Andrew Billen finds farce meaningful in the Old Vic's production of Georges Feydeau's A Flea in Her Ear. Brian Dillon reflects on the Korean artist Nam June Paik, who turned television sets into art, and Antonia Quirke appreciates the fun James Naughtie has with the King James Bible. In his Real Meals column, Will Self talks pie, mash and jellied eels.

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SRSLY #20: Friends, Lovers, Divers

On the pop culture podcast this week, we talk albums from Joanna Newsom, Bjork and Grimes, Todd Haynes film Carol, and comedy web series Ex-Best.

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 to our new episode now:

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SRSLY is hosted by Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz, the NS’s web 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.

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.

The Links

Joanna Newsom, Bjork and Grimes

Joanna Newsom’s Divers doesn't seem to be on Spotify, but you can get it on iTunes here. Listen to Grimes’ Art Angels here and Bjork's Vulnicura here.

This is a good piece about Joanna Newsom.

This piece makes the comparison with Elena Ferrante that we talk about on the podcast.

Here's Grimes's own post about Bjork.

Tavi Gevinson's interview with Joanna Newsom (where she talks about liking Grimes).



Ryan Gilbey's review of Carol, which he calls “as tantalising as hearing a tender ballad on a tinpot transistor”.

Anna's piece about the photographers that influenced the visual style of the film.

An interesting Q & A with director Todd Haynes.



The full series is available to watch for free here.

Meghan Murphy on friendship break-ups.


Your questions:

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 #19, check it out here.

Caroline Crampton is web editor of the New Statesman.

Anna Leszkiewicz is a pop culture writer at the New Statesman.