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SRSLY #1: Grey Beginnings

In the first episode of the NS's new pop culture podcast, we discuss Grey by E L James, the new Amy Winehouse documentary, and why One Direction is actually the saddest music you will ever hear.

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 first episode now:

First things first: who we are. 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 questions J K Rowling needs to answer. The podcast is also on Twitter @srslypod if you’d like to @ us with your appreciation. Our guest this week, NS arts editor Kate Mossman, does not have Twitter, but you can currently watch her excellent BBC documentary When Pop Music Ruled My Life on iPlayer.

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]gmail.com.

Make sure you never miss an episode by subscribing in iTunes, adding our RSS feed to your reader, or visiting our Audioboom channel. Other places to listen, like Stitcher and SoundCloud, will be coming soon – bear with us!

The Links

The quote that Anna read is from I Love Dick by Chris Kraus.

This is the John Scalzi quote Caroline read.

You can see some clips from the Amy Winehouse documentary here, and watch the trailer below.

More info about the Kurt Cobain film, Montage of Heck, can be found here.

The Pitchfork piece about the gendering of martyred rock stars is here.

If you really feel you have to, you can buy Grey by E L James here.

Laurie Penny’s piece on Fifty Shades of Grey is here. Helen Lewis and Zoe Margolis are also both very good on this subject.

Listen to the One Direction playlist that Anna made for Caroline here.

Samantha Hunt's piece about the "darkness in this light music that stirs thoughts of life, death, gender, literature, and the multiple problems of aging" is here.

And if you’d like to discover The Lizzie Bennet Diaries with Anna before next week’s episode, you can watch the entire series here.

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

See you next week!

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Commons Confidential: Money for old Gove

Backstabbing Boris, a doctored doctorate, and when private schools come to Parliament.

Treachery is proving profitable for Michael Gove since his backstabbing of Boris Johnson led to the victim being named Foreign Sec and the knifeman carved out of Theresa May’s cabinet. The former injustice secretary was overheard giving it the big “I am” in the Lords café bar by my snout and boasting that he’ll trouser £300,000 on the political sidelines. I note a £150,000 Times column and £17,500 HarperCollins book deal have been duly registered. Speaking engagements, he confided to the Tory peer Simone Finn, will be equally lucrative.

Gove is polite (always says hello and smiles at me despite what I write) but it was insensitive to talk money when his companion was moaning. Finn, a Cameron crony, whined that she had been sacked as a spad and so is out of pocket. Perhaps he could lend her a tenner. And I do hope Mickey isn’t passing himself off as an “expert” to coin it.

While Nigel Farage’s successor-but-one Paul “Dr Nutty” Nuttall protests that he never doctored a CV with an invented university PhD, Ukip’s ritzy nonpareil continues to enjoy the high life. My informant spied Farage, the self-appointed people’s chief revolter, relaxing in first class on a British Airways flight from New York to Blighty. Drinking three types of champagne doesn’t come cheap at £8,000 one-way, so either the Brexit elitist is earning big bucks or he has found a sugar daddy. Nowt’s too good for the Quitters, eh?

Labour’s youngest MP, Lou Haigh, was popular in a Justice for Colombia delegation to monitor the Northern Ireland-inspired peace process there. At Normandia prison in Chiquinquira, after a five-hour drive to see Farc guerrillas cleared for release, inmates pushed past the British male trade unionists to greet the 29-year-old Sheffield Heeley tribune. What a change from parliament, where it is women who are treated as if they’re wearing Harry Potter-style invisibility cloaks.

The kowtowing is catching up with Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, the SNP party animal and onetime-Tory-turned-Labour. Better late than never, I hear, she delivered a masterclass in toadying to the Chinese at a Ditchley Park conflab. Ahmed-Grovel MP avoided discussion of human rights abuses and made much instead of the joys of Scotch whisky to Beijing, and Scotland as a gateway to the UK. I trust she kept her sycophancy secret from SNP colleagues jostling in parliament a short while back for photographs with Lobsang Sangay, head of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

John Bercow is concerned that private schools dominate visits to parliament. So a bit like the Commons chamber, where 32 per cent of MPs (48 per cent of Tories) come from establishments that teach 7 per cent of pupils in the UK. 

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 08 December 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Brexit to Trump