Cerys matthews

Barack Obama will make you cringe: Renegades: Born in the USA reviewed

Barack Obama wants the world to know how much he loves singing. In his new podcast, which takes the form of a series of conversations with Bruce Springsteen, he’s rarely without a tune on his lips. ‘Further on up the road…/ you been laughing, pretty baby…’ A shower-singer, a bedroom warbler, an Air Force One air guitarist with an okay voice, the former president is proof that you really can be embarrassing without feeling an ounce of embarrassment. Oh, to have seen his daughters’ faces when he broke into ‘Let’s Stay Together’ in front of Al Green. The sound team at the fundraiser in Harlem urged him to do it,

How I got my encyclopedic knowledge of current affairs

Seven bells. Pitch dark still. I descend the creaking wooden stairs in the darkness, let the dog out, make tea and toast, put a pan of porridge and the coffee pot on the stove and download the Times newspaper on to the iPad. I read it from cover to cover. Every news story and comment piece, the Nature Notes, Court Circular, the letters and Daily Universal Register, the TV guide and the weather report, in which I look carefully at the daily temperatures in cities around the world. Sometimes I jot down the daily ‘food for thought’ quotation at the foot of the Daily Universal Register. This morning’s, for example,