Simon Round

Interview: Jason Shifrin

By Simon Round, October 31, 2011

Businessman Jason Shifrin always knew how to make money. Unfortunately, he was also an expert in how to spend it. And he spent in huge amounts - on holidays, on cars, on houses and on his friends. When there was not enough money coming in to finance his lifestyle, he borrowed to fund it. And when those debts were called in, he borrowed some more to repay the original loans.

More..

Hired by Lord Sugar, but ruined by debt

By Simon Round, October 27, 2011

Businessman Jason Shifrin always knew how to make money. Unfortunately, he was also an expert in how to spend it. And he spent in huge amounts - on holidays, on cars, on houses and on his friends. When there was not enough money coming in to finance his lifestyle, he borrowed to fund it. And when those debts were called in, he borrowed some more to repay the original loans.

More..

Interview: Yoav Factor

By Simon Round, October 19, 2011

For most film directors, making a movie is a 24/7 job. However for Yoav Factor it is more like 24/6. Despite attempting to fit the shooting of his debut feature, Reuniting The Rubins, into a "crazy" five-week schedule, come Friday evening, Factor, much to the surprise of the non-Jewish crew, would leave the set to go home for Shabbat.

More..

Interview: Judy Ironside

By Simon Round, October 11, 2011

Judy Ironside spends so of her much time in darkened rooms watching films, that she likes to be outside whenever she can, which is why we are sitting in a blustery Clerkenwell courtyard on what is quite a chilly October afternoon.

Ironside, the founder and executive director of the UK Jewish Film Festival, is enjoying the breeze.

More..

Comedy Rules: From the Cambridge Footlights to Yes, Prime Minister

By Simon Round, October 7, 2011

By Jonathan Lynn
Faber and Faber, £14.99

This book by Yes, Prime Minister co-author (and my uncle)Jonathan Lynn is as hard to pin down as is its author.

More..

Interview: Irma Kurtz

By Simon Round, October 6, 2011

Irma Kurtz greets me as I emerge from the lift outside her tiny central London flat. "I'm sorry," says the veteran Cosmopolitan agony aunt, clearly referring to the mess in the corridor caused by the refurbishment of the building. Over a cup of tea in her living room, Kurtz, slim and elegant at 76, apologises for her earlier apology.

More..

October's queue starts here

By Simon Round, September 28, 2011

In this country we are famous for a few things - our royal family, our dismal weather and some of the world's blandest food. But perhaps the thing which most characterises us in the eyes of the rest of the world is our proclivity to stand in line and wait for stuff.

More..

Idea that's dead on the money

By Simon Round, September 27, 2011

You have seen the ads for comparethemarket.com. Now prepare for the latest comparison website – comparethecoffin.com.

This new venture is a Jewish-Muslim partnership between Londoners Steven Mitchell and Akhmal Saleem.

The idea came to 45-year-old Mr Mitchell after he had created a bicycle for children – a business which got him onto the BBC's Dragons' Den.

More..

TV review: Rosh Hashanah: What is the point of religion?

By Simon Round, September 27, 2011

If Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks's career had taken a different turn, he would have made a wonderful broadcaster. As listeners to Radio 4's Today programme will know, he has a deep, mellow, reassuring speaking voice.

Once a year, he gets to use this talent in his New Year broadcast (think of it as a rabbinical version of the Queen's speech).

More..

TV review: Curb Your Enthusiasm

By Simon Round, September 22, 2011

Curb Your Enthusiasm is back for its eighth series. As usual, devotees live from one episode to the next while the rest of the country completely fails to get it.

So what is so funny about an outspoken, sex-obsessed, obnoxious bald guy who swears a lot?

More..

Anger over Yomtov clash

By Simon Round, September 15, 2011

A Jewish councillor has protested to Hackney Council at the holding of a civic event on the first night of Rosh Hashanah.

Councillor Linda Kelly - who switched from the ruling Labour group to the Conservatives in summer - criticised the council's speaker, Susan Fajana Thomas, for the timing of the fundraising dinner.

"If this is a civic event, all the communities should be invited," Councill

More..

Israeli cuisine whets West End taste buds

By Simon Round, September 15, 2011

Those who spent time on kibbutz in Israel in the 1970s and 1980s will have vivid memories of the food - tomato and cucumber salad, hard-boiled egg and cream cheese accompanied by dense, grey bread for breakfast and the occasional rushed falafel at bus stations around the country.

More..

Interview: Lynne Franks

By Simon Round, September 15, 2011

Lynne Franks is wearing a badge which proclaims her to be an "outrageous older woman". She is chatting to me, while simultaneously briefing her PA and making herbal tea (she is currently detoxing from caffeine). She exudes energy and enthusiasm, and at 63 is bubbling with ideas.

More..

When kids' fitness is a knockout

By Simon Round, September 8, 2011

My six-year-old son Alex has a problem. He is a boy with boundless energy who spends much of the day bouncing up and down, occasionally finding time to assault his sister, Lucy. But although he finds it almost impossible to sit still, he is not a fan of physical exercise. When I ask him whether he would like to go out and kick a football with me he usually declines.

More..

Interview: Alison Pick

By Simon Round, September 1, 2011

Having a novel nominated for the Man Booker Prize could easily be described as life changing, particularly for a young writer on only her second novel.

However, Canadian author Alison Pick's book, Far to Go, had already changed her life long before the day in July when she discovered that she had made the Booker longlist.

More..

This was not a real August

By Simon Round, August 31, 2011

August is great if you happen to be a journalist. For 11 months of the year the world is a very serious place – there are riots, revolutions, financial crises and scandals. Then everyone goes on holiday and we can write whatever we want – it's called the silly season. Until this year that is.

More..

TV review: The Man Who Crossed Hitler

By Simon Round, August 25, 2011

There is nothing more gripping than a good courtroom drama. But how about a courtroom drama where the star witness is Adolf Hitler and the man cross-examining him is a Jewish lawyer?

Mark Hayhurst's intelligent film portrayed Hans Litten, the lawyer who in 1930 really did interrogate Hitler in a Berlin court, as a brave and audacious man.

More..

Interview: Sir Bernard Zissman

By Simon Round, August 25, 2011

Back in the 19th century, Theodor Herzl had a crazy dream - that one day the Jewish people would have their own homeland where they would be safe from antisemitism.

More..

Strictly Kosher star on fame, phones, and chicken soup

By Simon Round, August 18, 2011

Just a month ago, Bernette Clarke was a Manchester housewife, juggling work and family. Now, following the screening of ITV1's Strictly Kosher documentary, she is Britain's latest reality star. And she might just end up as Prestwich's answer to Nigella.

More..

TV review: Great thinkers: in their own words

By Simon Round, August 8, 2011

The cuts are biting hard at the BBC, and the resulting industrial action has hit news programmes this week.

More..