Paul Lester

I'm browned off over whiter teeth

By Paul Lester, April 14, 2011

It would be hard for me to argue that I have become more vain since getting divorced, especially considering that one of the many things that annoyed my ex-wife was that, whenever I was in a restaurant, I would regularly check my appearance in the cutlery.


33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs

By Paul Lester, February 25, 2011

By Dorian Lynskey.
Faber, £17.99


Hypnotherapy? I'm back in the room

By Paul Lester, February 24, 2011

You left me last month having decided, after years of worrying about everything from nuclear war to the price of oil (spot the connection), to pay a visit to my local hypnotherapist, to see if he or s


Interview: Adam Levine

By Paul Lester, February 11, 2011

Maroon 5's poppy brand of funk, or perhaps funky brand of pop, has served them well. The American band - who sound like a tougher, rockier Jamiroquai, or a less heavy Red Hot Chili Peppers - have sold 15 million albums in under 10 years, and topped singles charts all over the world.

But they undoubtedly would never have become so successful without Adam Levine, their charismatic frontman with the soulful vocals, whose photogenic looks have seen him linked with numerous A-list beauties, including Jessica Simpson and Natalie Portman.


Constant worrying is making me anxious

By Paul Lester, January 20, 2011

You may have already noticed, but I am what you might call an anxious person. I was going to say unduly anxious, but what I really mean is "Jew-ly" anxious, given that anxiety is almost a precondition of the religion.

It's nothing new - I've probably suffered from a deep-seated disquiet for about, ooh, (counts aloud using fingers of left hand)… 30 years? Yup, for three decades now I've been driving friends and family to distraction with my constant worrying about my health.


What do her parents want - James Dean?

By Paul Lester, December 17, 2010

I don't know about you, but I tend to get on rather well with parents and children. Not my own, you understand - other people's. I seem to have no trouble entertaining and/or controling other people's kids whenever the need arises, whereas my three are generally unmoved either by my efforts to impose discipline or by my attempts at humour.


The batmitzvah girl who walked like an Egyptian

By Paul Lester, October 21, 2010

The Bangles had it all. Good looks, critical acclaim and a series of infectious chart hits. For a period in the 1980s, with songs such as Manic Monday, Walk Like An Egyptian and Eternal Flame, the all-girl four piece from California were one of the biggest acts in the music business. But there was something else that made them really special. Unlike other girl bands - think Spice Girls or Girls Aloud - The Bangles wrote much of their own material, actually played their instruments, and made their own decisions about how to present themselves.


Proud to be daddy's boy

By Paul Lester, September 28, 2010

I notice from scouring the personal ads, as you do, that a lot of Jewish women single out as the attribute that they find most unattractive in a man an over-reliance on their mum. In which case I am surely their worst nightmare, because even though I long ago reached full adulthood - well, full-ish - I still call upon the services of my parents more frequently than is probably right or proper. And I've been doing it more and more since I got divorced.


Meet my ex-in-laws - I think

By Paul Lester, September 2, 2010

I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to my parents, who will inevitably be reading this, because, in the three years that I have been living in my house, I have never quite got round to inviting them over for tea. But I did have my in-laws over last week.

Did I say in-laws? I meant ex-in-laws. The parents of my ex-wife. Outlaws? No, that's not right, although I believe there is the shady matter of an overdue library book when they were crazy young marrieds that we won't go into here.


No point fretting - some of the best acts had awful opinions

By Paul Lester, August 12, 2010

Massive Attack's Big Chill gig is not the first example of musicians taking a stand against Israel.

In June this year, venerable songwriter Elvis Costello cancelled two concerts that he was scheduled to play in Israel in protest at what he saw as Israel's mistreatment of Palestinians. "It is," he said, "a matter of instinct and conscience."

Bobby Gillespie of acclaimed electro-rockers Primal Scream once allegedly defaced a "Make Poverty History" poster so that it read "Make Israel History".


I'm getting dumped, all because of soap

By Paul Lester, July 22, 2010

So, I've been seeing a young lady for a few weeks. But before all you single females out there start wailing, believing you've lost your chance with London's most eligible nebbish, let me reassure you that this new relationship of mine may not last forever. In fact, it may not last till the end of next week.

How, you're wondering, is it possible that, in between the last column and this one, the romance has begun, blossomed and is already withering on the vine? Even Jordan and her cage fighter have managed better than that.


Interview: Lucinda Belle

By Paul Lester, July 1, 2010

It would probably be easier to list the things that session musician, recording artist and all-round busy bee Lucinda Belle has not done. She has toured with the Pet Shop Boys and Annie Lennox, been Robbie Williams's backing singer and harpist at the BBC Electric Proms, performed a duet with Mel Brooks and jammed with Tom Jones.


My night of text mania

By Paul Lester, June 24, 2010

Most men go to the pub or watch the footie. Me, when I'm bored, I go meshuggeh with my mobile phone.

I'm a text maniac. A text pest, only the real victim is me, when I get my bill. I'm allowed 500 free texts per month, but somehow I manage to exceed the limit every time. Which is amazing, considering I only have six friends, and I rarely, if ever, text any of them.

There is something about the text that suits people you hardly know; it seems a little cursory to dispatch a conversation with someone you've known for three decades in a three-line - or even three-word - message.


The moment when Matisyahu lost his cool

By Paul Lester, June 17, 2010

This is probably not the ideal moment to be interviewing Matisyahu, unless you enjoy the company of fired-up pop stars. Because it's the Tuesday after the Gaza aid flotilla incident and the Chasidic reggae artist and rapper - staying at the Holiday Inn in Brent Cross as he promotes his latest album, Light - is not happy.

The rangy New Yorker, 31 at the end of June, prowls around his hotel bedroom in kippah and green jogging pants. He places his tallit under his crumpled white T-shirt and sits down on the couch. In between mouthfuls of vegan curry, he assesses the events of the weekend.


An old girlfriend, fresh humiliation

By Paul Lester, May 13, 2010

In the last Suddenly Single I concluded that, having temporarily run out of ways to meet new girls, it might be an idea to reacquaint myself with some old ones, and by "old" I mean females I knew in the past rather than women of pensionable age.

Then again, I might have more luck with the bus pass and blue-rinse set. Besides, is it just me or are OAPs looking hotter these days? I'd go to bingo every week if the crowd was full of Stephanie Beachams. Unfortunately, at my local Mecca in Watford the clientele is more Pat Butcher - "two fat ladies" is probably about right.


Paul Weller's favourite kibbutznik

By Paul Lester, April 28, 2010

Geva Alon has been called "the Israeli Neil Young", his plaintive voice soaring above gentle acoustic guitar or the fuller sound of a band.

His newly released third album, Get Closer, was produced by Thom Monahan, who has worked with alternative folkie Devendra Banhart, Americana types such as The Jayhawks, and the grungier likes of Dinosaur Jr.


When it all goes wrong, ring an ex

By Paul Lester, April 15, 2010

Have you seen that film, A Complete History of My Sexual Failures, in which a grungy Kurt Cobain lookalike tracks down all of his ex-girlfriends to find out where he went wrong? I haven't but apparently it's a bit like Homer's Odyssey, only instead of an epic poem concerning the long voyage home by an ancient Greek war hero and his search for meaning and salvation, it's a documentary about a scruffy Londoner who learns the hard way that a lack of hygiene and terminal lethargy will get you dumped. A lot.


Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and a date from hell

By Paul Lester, March 18, 2010

Just in case any of the JC's more impressionable female readers are labouring under the illusion that the writer of this column is in some ways a decent catch with a vaguely exciting career and attendant glamorous lifestyle, please allow me to tell you this cautionary tale. It is the story of a date from hell that I went on the other week and it should singlehandedly put the kibosh on any chances I might have had with the opposite sex for the foreseeable future.


Speed dating Jews? It's better than Freeview

By Paul Lester, February 18, 2010

It was either a famous Greek philosopher or an obscure Jewish divorcé who said that being married to a Jewish woman is one of those things you should try for a brief period, and then give up for the sake of your mental health.

One hesitates to use a word as loaded as "survivor" in this context, but what the hell - I was once married to a Jewish girl and survived.


Festive cheer? I’ll have a bypass, please

By Paul Lester, January 21, 2010

That was fun. Christmas, I mean. ’Tis the season to be jolly? Not round these parts it wasn’t. Festive cheer appears to have bypassed my neck of the woods. Must have been the wrong kind of snow.

Sorry, did I say Christmas? I should have said Chanucah. Can we split the difference and call it Chrisucah? How about Chanumas?

Whatever its name, it was expensive. You know those news reports saying spending was up over the holiday period? That was me, that was.