Simon Round

Interview: David Eagleman

By Simon Round, May 19, 2011

When conducting an interview with someone who has just written a book or a play, or embarked on a new venture, the natural starting point is ask where the idea came from.

However, in the case of American author and neuroscientist David Eagleman I know in advance what his answer will be - that he does not have a clue.

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Ding Dong - it's that time again

By Simon Round, May 18, 2011

Do you know who won the FA Cup and the Eurovision Song Contest last year? Without Googling?

Before you whip out your laptops, let me tell you that the victors were, in no particular order, Lena from Germany with Satellite and Chelsea, who beat Portsmouth 1-0.

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Interview: Rita Rudner

By Simon Round, May 12, 2011

There are several measures of success for a stand-up comedian. Traditionally, you knew you had arrived when you got through a set without anyone in the audience throwing objects at you. There are other landmarks - the first sell-out tour, the TV series, the DVD.

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Reviewed: Exile and Case Sensitive

By Simon Round, May 6, 2011

Exile
BBC1: 4/5

Case Sensitive
ITV1: 3/5

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Rachel Beer: Fleet Street's first woman editor

By Simon Round, May 5, 2011

Until very recently if you Googled the name Rachel Beer you would not come up with anything very much, certainly nothing to suggest that she did what no woman has done before or since - edit both the Observer and the Sunday Times. Indeed, for eight years she was in editorial control of both papers.

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A survivor's tale just right for Pesach

By Simon Round, April 21, 2011

The Baby Born in a Concentration Camp
BBC1, 4/5

Annabel's Kitchen
CITV, 4/5

To misquote Tolstoy, most tales of families murdered in the Holocaust are depressingly similar, but each story of survival is miraculous in its own way. To live through the most well organised mass murder in history usually took a triumph of the human spirit and a fair degree of luck.

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Interview: Neville Lamdan

By Simon Round, April 21, 2011

The internet has revolutionised our lives in any number of ways. But aside from social networking, Google Earth and YouTube, there has been one significant growth area. People have always been interested in where their families came from but the advent of the web means this current generation are able trace their ancestry at the click of a mouse.

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Review: The Chemist of Life and Death

By Simon Round, April 14, 2011

If ever there was a convincing argument for the licence fee, it is programmes like this. Very few commercial broadcasters use their resources to make documentaries about industrial chemists who died nearly 80 years ago.

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Interview: Ada Yonath

By Simon Round, April 14, 2011

Ada Yonath is in demand. People come from far and wide to hear her speak, she has been the subject of many an interview, and the media have camped outside her daughter's home. Her shock of grey, curly hair is now well known in Israel, and the great and the good have queued up to praise her.

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Let's all move to Bristol

By Simon Round, April 8, 2011

I imagine that there are plenty of JC readers out there getting ready to try for children right now. Well, perhaps you should wait until you have read this article before you start.

The general line in the Jewish community is you should go for it – either you will conceive which will be good for our future, or you won't be successful in which case you will still have fun trying.

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Review: Friday Night Dinner

By Simon Round, April 7, 2011

Even before I watched this comedy, I knew I was going to hate it. Comments from friends ran the gamut from: "I would rather have my teeth pulled than watch this again" to "I would rather have my eyes gouged out with a fork than watch this again."

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A hotel that thinks it is a playground

By Simon Round, March 24, 2011

Suffolk is not as flat as you might think. From the road, the undulations seem gentle but if, for example, you should find yourself at the bottom of one of these undulations with two small children - both learning how to ride bikes - the hill can appear as daunting as the north face of Everest.

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Interview: Mitch Symons

By Simon Round, March 18, 2011

Here is a quiz question for you. Who is Britain's foremost expert on trivia? The answer, almost certainly, is Mitchell Symons. Although such things are hard to quantify, Symons has written a string of bestselling books packed with interesting, weird and occasionally gross facts about everything from sex to travel to the toilet habits of the Inuit people.

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It's the mice that set me up

By Simon Round, March 11, 2011

When you reach my age (and without giving too much away there is a four in there somewhere) strange things can begin to happen to your body. Your muscles, particularly your legs, become stronger, your fat ratio begins to drop and you can run farther and faster then you could a year previously.

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No toast in the JC this week

By Simon Round, March 4, 2011

Recently I acquired a smartphone. It was a confusing purchase because there were so many on offer. There was the iPhone 4, the Blackberry Torch, the HTC Desire and probably the LG Orgasm. In the end I went for the Samsung Galaxy S on the basis that Samsung are Chelsea's shirt sponsors.

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Fatah could have written The Promise

By Simon Round, March 3, 2011

First, the good news. Peter Kosminsky's The Promise is a welcome and long overdue attempt to dramatise the final days of the British Mandate in Palestine.

The acting by a British and Israeli cast is excellent, as is some of the writing. Also, the series, made completely on location, has injected millions into the Israeli economy.

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Interview: Gary Shteyngart

By Simon Round, February 24, 2011

Gary Shteyngart is having great difficulty dealing with a problem he never thought he would encounter.

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My catch and carry nights

By Simon Round, February 11, 2011

Ritual is important in most societies and ours is no exception. There is the ritual of prayer (three times a day), the ritual of Shabbat, the strict rituals revolving around food, festivals and walking on the cracks in the pavement (OK, there's nothing in the Talmud about walking on the cracks in the pavement, but there is a passage on just about everything else).

You would think this would be enough for anyone, but most of us add an extra layer of ritual to our lives.

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Interview: Sandra Bernhard

By Simon Round, February 3, 2011

Sandra Bernhard is a very serious comedian - in all senses of the word. She has been performing live for over 30 years now, in a career which has featured stand-up TV (notably on the Roseanne show), movies, music and a highly publicised friendship with Madonna. But she is not one to take comedy lightly. Her demeanour is severe, her body is thin and angular and her manner is all sharp edges. There are no flip comments, no asides, no jokes. These are clearly reserved for the stage.

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Interview: Dan Plesch

By Simon Round, January 28, 2011

Historians like nothing better than to nail a myth. Dan Plesch is confident that he has managed to refute two fairly major misconceptions about the Second World War. The first is that the United Nations was a creation of the post-war world, and the second is that, for all the suspicions that the Nazis were murdering Jews in Eastern Europe, this was never formally acknowledged by the Allied powers.

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