Ian Thomson

Following a mistranslation of the Old Testament, Michelangelo depicted Moses with horns

‘Thou shalt commit adultery’

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Jesuits, the leading apologists for Rome and Catholic revival in Elizabethan England, cast a long shadow over the paranoid post-Armada…

Everything comes down to one man’s suffering: Geza Rohrig as Saul

Should the Final Solution ever be made into entertainment?

30 April 2016 9:00 am

Amid the abundant cinema of Nazi atrocity, Son of Saul is exemplary. Ian Thomson explains why

Parma in fog.

Modern Italy’s heart of darkness

26 March 2016 9:00 am

Valerio Varesi, the Turin-born crime writer, displays a typically Italian interest (I would say) in conspiracy theory. The Italian term…

The Green Man on a roof boss in Norwich cathedral

The Green Man's journey from Nazi to sweetcorn salesman

12 March 2016 9:00 am

The other day I visited a psychic medium in Croydon, south-east London. Mavis Grimstick (not quite her real name) boasted…

Journalist A.A. Gill (Photo: Terry O'Neill/Getty)

From Adrian Gill to A.A. Gill — with love and thanks

12 December 2015 9:00 am

Often, Christmas is a time for moaning after the night before, when the seasonal drinking is remembered (if remembered at…

'Che Tempo Che Fa' TV Show - February 1st, 2015

A poetic and jargon-free textbook on theoretical physics is a surprise Christmas bestseller

12 December 2015 9:00 am

How a book on relativity and quantum theory became a surprise hit

The morning after a bombing raid on Coventry (Photo: Getty)

Shock and awe in Coventry, 14 November 1940

21 November 2015 9:00 am

On 14 November 1940, at seven in the evening, the Luftwaffe began to bomb Coventry. The skyline turned red like…

View of the Bay of Naples, 1832

The delights and dangers of the Grand Tour

21 November 2015 9:00 am

The Grand Tour usually culminated with Naples, ragamuffin capital of the Italian south, where Vesuvius offered a visual education in…

The Shepperton surrealist: J.G. Ballard outside his house

Modernity, whisky and cats: the J.G. Ballard I knew

10 October 2015 9:00 am

That cinema is having another Ballardian moment will surprise few fans. J.G. Ballard, who died of cancer in 2009 at…

Transatlantic grandeur: A Cunard liner in 1932

Notes on cruising

3 October 2015 8:00 am

By the end of my ten-day Atlantic crossing to New York, a new wellbeing seemed to radiate from me. Lulled…

Out of focus lights

When flower power turned sour

12 September 2015 9:00 am

Aldous Huxley reported his first psychedelic experience in The Doors of Perception (1954), a bewitching little volume that soon became…

James Rhodes (Photo: Getty)

Sound and fury — the pianist James Rhodes is very angry indeed

20 June 2015 9:00 am

Ours is the era of everybody’s autobiography. Bookshops groan with misery-lit memoirs — Never Let Me Go, Dysfunction Without Tears…

San Domenico church, Palermo

Palermo: city of jasmine and dark secrets

6 June 2015 9:00 am

The Arabs invaded Sicily in the ninth century, leaving behind mosques and pink-domed cupolas. In the Sicilian capital of Palermo,…

Italy’s highest-paid heart-throb, Mastroianni as Guido Anselmi, a film director in ‘creative limbo’

How Fellini made his modernist masterpiece

11 April 2015 9:00 am

Ian Thomson on the creative limbo that spawned Fellini’s modernist masterpiece, 8½

Bus Conductor

'I will call the police!': My close encounter with 'revenue protection'

4 April 2015 9:00 am

Conversations with a ticket inspector on the Norwich train

Shots Fired At Santa Monica College

Life in the LA ghetto was nasty, brutish and short — until one brave detective took on the gangs

21 March 2015 9:00 am

Los Angeles ghetto life — thrashed, twisted and black — is not a world that most Americans care to visit.…

Self confessed mass murderer Anders Breivik Photo: Getty

Anders Brievik: lonely computer-gamer on a killing spree

14 March 2015 9:00 am

In 2011, Anders Breivik murdered 69 teenagers in a socialist summer camp outside the Norwegian capital of Oslo, and eight…

Chico, Harpo and Groucho Marx (left to right) enjoy a day at the races

What unites Churchill, Dali and T.S. Eliot? They all worshipped the Marx Brothers

10 January 2015 9:00 am

Ian Thomson celebrates the anarchic genius of Groucho and his brothers

Bob Marley Performs On Stage

Bob Marley: from reggae icon to Marlboro Man of marijuana

29 November 2014 9:00 am

From reggae icon to Marlboro Man of marijuana

Drummers at a graveside wear white, based on Ethiopian orthodox funeral traditions

Death wears bling: the glory of London’s Caribbean funerals

29 November 2014 9:00 am

Death is big business in parts of the Caribbean. In the Jamaican capital of Kingston, funeral homes with their plastic…

Italian partisans who helped South African troops entering Pistoia in Italy to ferret out German snipers Photo: Getty

The woman who invented the Italian resistance

8 November 2014 9:00 am

Italo Calvino, the Italian arch-fabulist, wrote a foreword to this celebrated wartime diary when it appeared in Italy in 1956.…

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Wave goodbye to the weight-gaining, drunk-driving Inspector Wallander

11 October 2014 9:00 am

Some years ago I met the Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell at the Savoy Hotel in London, where he was…

A member of the London Home Guard demonstrates the use of old wallpaper as camouflage (1942)

The real Dad’s Army was no joke

30 August 2014 9:00 am

Dad’s Army, the sitcom to end all sitcoms, portrayed the Home Guard as often doddery veterans. In one episode, Private…

NOTEBOOK16august

Ten years and an earthquake: the changing face of Haiti

16 August 2014 9:00 am

This summer, I returned to Haiti for the first time in ten years. I was itching to see how the…

Kingston Crowds Wait For Haile Selassie I

Why I’m now scared of book clubs

12 July 2014 9:00 am

Writing frankly about Jamaica has made me nervous of invitations from strangers. How would this one turn out?