Marcus Berkmann

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Corduroy

28 January 2017 9:00 am

Every Christmas, I ask my loved ones for at least two pairs of corduroy trousers. Off with a sigh tramps…

‘Pub owners are particularly keen on quizzes, because quiz teams drink an awful lot’

How pub quizzes became normal

7 January 2017 9:00 am

For more than 20 years now, I have been trudging up the hill to the Prince of Wales in Highgate…

Show cats at the National Cat Club Show, 1983, photographed by Jane Bown

A choice of Christmas stocking fillers

19 November 2016 9:00 am

The gift books come in all shapes and sizes this year: big, little, tiny, huge, long, short, fat and thin,…

When darts — and Eric Bristow — ruled Britain

11 June 2016 9:00 am

Was there life before darts? I am old enough, just about, to remember such a time. One minute, in or…

He’s in the bestselling show: David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, New York, 1973

Bowie realised there was more to life than art

16 January 2016 9:00 am

The DJ and sage Mark Radcliffe once said that he didn’t think he could ever like anyone who didn’t love…

The top loo books of 2015

21 November 2015 9:00 am

There is not, sadly, a dedicated Trivia Books section in your local Waterstones, although at this time of year there…

Why I’m stepping down after 28 years as The Spectator pop critic

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Pop's place in culture has changed drastically. Marcus Berkmann explains why, after 27 years, it is time to step down as The Spectator's pop critic

In praise of cheap box sets

12 September 2015 9:00 am

This column does like a bargain. Indeed, it not only esteems and relishes a bargain, it has also worked long…

Jazz soloist Charlie Parker with his saxophone c. 1946

From ragtime to the X Factor: the epic story of popular music

22 August 2015 9:00 am

As pop music drifts away from many people’s lives, so its literature grows ever more serious and weighty, as though…

Hans-Joachim Roedelius (Photo: Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns)

Four of the best albums to write books by

8 August 2015 9:00 am

I have been writing a book this summer, in the usual mad tearing hurry. (Much as I admire those who…

Looking idiotic: Cathy Fechoz performs ski ballet at the Olympic Games, Albertville, 1992. The sport no longer exists

Anyone for eel-pulling?

18 July 2015 9:00 am

Scholarship for its own sake has rather gone out of fashion, although I’m sure Spectator readers would be the last…

Why do we always beat up on drummers?

11 July 2015 9:00 am

It’s rare that I see a piece about music that makes me want to cheer from the rafters and shake…

Three tiny cheers for Mumford & Sons’ new album

13 June 2015 9:00 am

Like a lot of essentially cautious people, I like my music to take some risks, play with fire and damn…

If One Direction lost one more member, would they be quorate?

9 May 2015 9:00 am

Where were you when you heard that Zayn Malik had left One Direction? No, me neither, but as my teenage…

The golden age of pop has been replaced by the golden age of pop obituaries

11 April 2015 9:00 am

The golden age of pop music may be long gone, but the golden age of pop musicians’ obituaries is definitely…

Why you should never trust songwriting credits

7 March 2015 9:00 am

Songwriting credits are, as we know, not always to be trusted. Since the dawn of music publishing, there has always…

Count Basie, Aretha Franklin, Elvis, Bob Dylan - all the greats ultimately owe their fame to the faceless ‘record men’

21 February 2015 9:00 am

The crucial thing to remember about the music business is that it’s a business. If you happen to be creating…

James Blunt’s sense of entitlement is so palpable you could wear it as a hat

7 February 2015 9:00 am

Only a fool would mess with James Blunt. As his Twitter followers know, he has a sharp wit, and, as…

His lyrics are hopeless, his covers are catastrophic, yet I still love Bryan Ferry

10 January 2015 9:00 am

There were two new albums I wanted for Christmas — the Bryan Ferry and the Pink Floyd — and to…

Why we love hating the music we hate as much as we love loving the music we love

13 December 2014 9:00 am

It’s all gone now, of course. Not just the magazines themselves, but the legendary bile of old-school rock criticism

From Stephen Collins’s Some Comics

The 10 best loo books of 2014: why we sing so much better in the shower and what became of Queen Victoria’s children’s milk teeth

22 November 2014 9:00 am

Nancy Mitford would not call them ‘toilet books’, that’s for certain. Loo books? Lavatory books? One or two people I…

Is there anything a gospel choir can't cheer up?

8 November 2014 9:00 am

‘I’m starting to think that all of the world’s major problems can be solved with either oyster sauce or backing…

Michael Frayn’s new book is the most highbrow TV sketch show ever

1 November 2014 9:00 am

Enough of big ideas and grand designs. Instead, here are 30 unusually small ideas from the giant pulsating brain of…

Why everyone wants what Nora Ephron was having

18 October 2014 9:00 am

I have come late to Nora Ephron — a little too late for her, anyway, as she died in 2012.…

Why Yes are still the funniest rock band in the world (although Radiohead are catching up)

11 October 2014 9:00 am

My favourite comment about the Scottish referendum came from the eminent comedian and novelist David Baddiel. ‘What if Yes wins,…