Lynn Barber

Lynn Barber is a former Sunday Times journalist and author of An Education and A Curious Career.

The sexploits of Mariella Novotny

Orgies! Gangsters! Drugs! Spies! Scandals! This biography promises much but I’m not sure it actually delivers, or not in any credible way. Searching for facts in the foetid gloop of Pizzichini’s prose feels like bog-snorkelling. The subject, Mariella Novotny, was a ‘party girl’, or prostitute, who turns up like Zelig in many 1960s scandals. She

A new blossoming: David Hockney paints Normandy

In 2018 David Hockney went to Normandy to look at the Bayeux Tapestry, which he had not seen for more than 40 years. He liked its great panoramic length and the absence of shadows. But while there he found himself seduced by the scenery of Normandy, its winding lanes and orchards of blossom trees. He

Why is buying a car such an ordeal?

Why is it so insanely difficult to buy a car? And especially if you are a woman? Part of the trouble is that car salesmen are a particularly unreconstructed breed of men who think ‘lady’ customers will be more interested in the size of the vanity mirror than the fuel consumption. But it’s not just

Tom Bower pulls his punches with his life of Boris Johnson

Tom Bower explains in his acknowledgements that this is not an authorised biography and he did not seek Boris Johnson’s co-operation. Instead, he followed his usual biographical method of interviewing well over 100 people who knew Boris, some named, some not. Obvious sources are his mother Charlotte, his sister Rachel, his first wife Allegra, his

Natalie Wood’s death remains a mystery

Are all children of famous parents told they must have a book in them? Since Allegra Huston’s wonderful memoir Love Child in 2009, standards have been slipping. More Than Love is by a minor actress whose only claim to fame is that she is the daughter of Natalie Wood and won’t ever let you forget

Trick or treat: the pros and cons of being hacked

The phone rang at 9 a.m. on Monday, with an old friend from Italy saying: ‘Of course I’ll do you a favour, my dear, but you don’t say what it is.’ I thought he’d finally lost his marbles (always a possibility with friends my age) but he said I’d just sent him an email asking

Burnt out at 27: the tragedy of Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin hated the word ‘star’, but she loved the trappings. As soon as she made serious money she bought a Porsche convertible and had it painted with psychedelic images to make it the most recognisable car in San Francisco. She also rejoiced in her lynx fur coat, courtesy of Southern Comfort. She sent them

A life apart: an interview with Frank Field

Frank Field has announced today that he is forming the ‘Birkenhead Social Justice Party’ to stand at the next election. Field resigned from the Labour whip in July last year. In December he spoke to Lynn Barber and explained why he’s used to doing things differently: Frank Field was given a standing ovation when he

‘Duty howled’

We could all forget about Ann Widdecombe for the past nine years while she was doing Strictly Come Dancing and panto and Celebrity Big Brother and the rest. But now she has risen from the political grave to become a Brexit MEP. Tragically, it has meant cancelling her Christmas panto booking as Chop Suey in

A fatal misunderstanding

What is it about Naomi Wolf that inspires such venom? Perhaps that she’s American, brash, media-savvy and not averse to showing off her impressive embonpoint, which might go down badly in academe. But also — she makes mistakes. She made a pretty bad mistake in her very first book, The Beauty Myth, published in l990,

Interview with Andrew Adonis: a master of social media

The news over Easter that Lord Adonis, the counterweight to nominative determinism, was standing as a Labour Remain MEP was greeted with a fair degree of scepticism. Many commented that it would be a novelty for him to stand for anything — in his early twenties he became an SDP councillor in Oxford, but that’s