The Simon Round interview

Sera Hersham-Loftus: the seductive interior designer

By Simon Round, November 22, 2012

Sera Hersham-Loftus’s parents must have despaired of her when she was a child. She had two off-putting habits.

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Amos Oz: When it’s OK to join the boycott

By Simon Round, November 8, 2012

When Amos Oz sits down to write at his desk in the study of his Arad home, he does not use a computer. Rather, he has two pens — a black one and a blue one. Each has a different function, he says.

“I use one pen to tell stories and the other to tell the government to go to hell.”

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Woody Allen's latest picture - made by his biggest fan

By Simon Round, October 18, 2012

Without Woody Allen, Sophie Lellouche’s life would have been very different. She might never have discovered literature, music or philosophy, and she would definitely not be attending the London gala premiere of her movie Paris-Manhattan, which opens this year’s UK Jewish Film Festival — a debut rom-com which features a cameo appearance by Allen himself.

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Yasmin Levy: one day, I'll make an album with no Ladino on it

By Simon Round, October 11, 2012

When Yasmin Levy was signed up by her manager Paul Burger more than a decade ago, he joked that she would be unlikely to sell more than 128 records. You could understand why. After all, here was an unknown vocalist who specialised in singing half-forgotten songs in the language of Ladino — the Judeo-Spanish of the Sephardi world which is spoken by fewer than 150,000 people.

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Meet Mark Glanville, the ex-football hooligan who sings Schubert in Yiddish

By Simon Round, October 4, 2012

Mark Glanville is nothing if not eclectic. There cannot be many who have sung a Yiddish song cycle at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC and written a first-hand account of what it was like to be a football hooligan with Manchester United’s notorious Cockney reds.

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How listening to jazz funk helped Michael Chabon create utopia

By Simon Round, September 20, 2012

Michael Chabon was brought up in a place called Columbia, Maryland. It was what was known in America as a planned community — a 1970s concept of a racially integrated, egalitarian, ecumenical community.

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Martin Lewis: the money expert who can save on anything except kosher meat

By Simon Round, September 13, 2012

Yom Kippur is always a big deal for money-saving guru Martin Lewis, but this year it will be even more so. While he is at synagogue, fasting and generally attempting to ignore the outside world, his new prime-time show will be debuting on ITV.

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The doctor's just jumped out of his helicoptor. He'll see you now

By Alan Montague, August 2, 2012

Every weekend, a bunch of people get together in their free-time to fly in helicopters around the country. Tony Bleetman is one of them and he loves it. “You couldn’t pay to have that much fun,” he says.

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Me, my piano and partying with Hugh Grant and Tom Cruise

By Simon Round, July 27, 2012

Great business ideas can come to people in a number of different ways. Sarah Balfour had hers when she was playing the piano for Hugh Grant.

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The billionaire who raised money for Nelson Mandela

By Simon Round, July 19, 2012

Things have changed dramatically in South Africa over the past couple of decades. Ivor Ichikowitz discovered just how much a few years ago when his son asked him for help with a school project. “He said to me: ‘Dad, we’re learning about apartheid at school; can you explain it to me’. My first reaction was anger.

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