Barbra streisand

Richard E. Grant’s tribute to his wife leaves us shattered for his loss

Richard E. Grant pulls off a feat here. The title is twee but the content isn’t. With unselfpitying dash the actor-writer recounts caring for his wife, the dialect coach Joan Washington, through lung cancer last year (‘Living grief. Raw. Savage.’). He thoughtfully interleaves the heartbreak with glitzy showbiz recollections which help keep our peckers up, so we ricochet through time, from the Golden Globes to the Royal Marsden, from sedative injections to Star Wars. It’s an unusual structure, but it works – so, to use one of the author’s expressions, ‘Why bloody notsky?’ Grant’s daily diary-keeping is what makes the book. The quotes are verbatim, the chronology precise and studded

Hear the greatest Parsifal of our time sing like a Muppet: Jonas Kaufmann’s Christmas album reviewed

In classical music circles, Christmas arrives with the overture to Handel’s Messiah. Or so they’ll tell you. In truth, festivities kick off when you hear a ping from your phone and glance down at your inbox: OMG — you have to hear this! There follows, as tonic follows dominant, a link to YouTube and the 2014 Christmas in Vienna Medley — the occasion, still barely fathomable to anyone who believes that we share a common European culture, when a quartet of opera singers in full evening dress, and shimmying on the spot like a vicar at a Sunday School disco, attempted to cover George Michael’s ‘Last Christmas’. But not this