Simon Round

Burning the bush at both ends

By Simon Round, June 10, 2013

There have been many health hazards associated with being an observant Jew over the centuries. Of these, my perception is that lighting Shabbat candles comes relatively low down. Aberystwyth University thinks differently. It has ruled that it is too risky to have Orthodox Jews stay in accommodation on campus unless they agree not to light candles there.

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Man in the kitchen: No more burnt offerings

By Simon Round, June 6, 2013

This first column is really not about the kitchen at all. Because at this time of the year - weather permitting - a man's thoughts turn to the great outdoors... and creating a fire to cook on.

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Poor bare, forked males

By Simon Round, April 11, 2013

If you buy only one quirky, surreal collection of comedy short stories about relationships this year, make it Simon Rich’s The Last Girlfriend on Earth (Serpent’s Tail, £9.99).

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Stephen Grosz: telling tales from the consulting room

By Simon Round, March 14, 2013

There is something mildly thrilling about sitting in the consulting room of a famous psychoanalyst and asking him a few searching questions about how he feels about the success of his recent book and his motivations for writing it.

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Dame Vivien Duffield puts the final touches to her project

By Simon Round, February 28, 2013

Dame Vivien Duffield claims she is tired. The new Jewish community centre for London, to be known as JW3, is approaching completion and Dame Vivien, honoured for her massive philanthropic efforts, says that this may be her last big project.

However, when she discusses JW3 and the influence she hopes it will have on the community, she seems to lack nothing in energy.

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Cholent: the Ashkenazi secret key to a long, long life, says Israeli scientist

By Simon Round, February 21, 2013

Eating cholent has long been seen thought of as the traditional, if not the most dietetic, Shabbat lunch.

However, new research, centring on the Ashkenazi slow-cooked mix of beef, potato, pulses and other ingredients, now points to the exciting possibility that cholent, if eaten in sufficient quantities, could be the key to a longer life.

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TV review: Alex Polizzi - The Fixer

By Simon Round, February 14, 2013

If ever there was a business in need of a fixer, the Alf Onnie curtain shop in east London was it. There was the horrendously jumbled store – so cluttered that only the rats that infested the premises seemed to know their way round. And then there were the three Freedman brothers who ran the shop their grandfather, Alf, had founded in 1920.

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It’s time to polish up your Polish

By Simon Round, February 11, 2013

So now we know for sure what many of us have suspected for a long time - that there is an awful lot of Polish people in this country.

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Radio review: Ajax - the Jewish club

By Simon Round, February 7, 2013

Fans of Dutch football club Ajax call themselves the “super Jews”. They wear scarves adorned with Stars of David and display Israeli flags in the Amsterdam Arena where the team plays .But Ajax is not a Jewish club. Only 500 of the weekly attendance of 50,000 is Jewish.

This was a fascinating and disturbing investigation into why Ajax fans have adopted this spurious Jewish identity.

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TV review: Yes, Prime Minister

By Simon Round, January 24, 2013

Around 26 years after the last episode of Yes, Prime Minister aired, it is back, with the same writing team but a different cast — Henry Goodman replaces the peerless Nigel Hawthorne as Sir Humphrey and David Haig is the bumbling PM Jim Hacker in place of the much underrated Paul Eddington, both the original actors sadly no longer with us.

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Francesca Segal: the Costa Prize-winnning novelist following in her father's footsteps

By Simon Round, January 24, 2013

The most surprising thing about Francesca Segal was that she was in her 30s before she published a novel. Aged three, her imaginary friend was the secretary who would take dictation for her. When she was six, Segal would hand stories she had written over to her father — Erich Segal, the author of Love Story — to take to his publishers.

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Death on the A20

By Simon Round, January 18, 2013

At noon on October 31 1946, the body of a 48-year-old woman, Dagmar Petrzywalski, was found by the side of the A20 in Kent. She had been strangled by Sidney Sinclair, a lorry driver from whom she had hitched a lift early that morning on the way to visit her sister.

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An epic survivor's tale

By Simon Round, January 17, 2013

This extraordinary film was made by Lisa Bryer, the producer of The Last King of Scotland, about her Aunt Henia.

According to the producers, when it was shown to BBC1 controller Danny Cohen, he cleared the schedules so that the film could be the centrepiece of the Holocaust Memorial Day coverage. Having seen the 40-minute documentary, I can only endorse his decision

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A good read and good friendships - why we love book groups

By Simon Round, January 17, 2013

The demise of the book has long been predicted. Television was forecast to rip us forcefully away from the novel but somehow the written word survived — indeed adaptations of classics such as Pride and Prejudice actually boosted sales.

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Karen Ruimy: the high-flyer who gave up finance for flamenco

By Simon Round, January 10, 2013

This is the time of year when many people take a look at their lives and wonder whether they are going in the right direction.

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Staving off the winter blues

By Simon Round, January 7, 2013

OK, it's the first week of January and I know for a fact that all of you are clinically depressed and will remain so until the clocks go forward. And yes, I know that it is dark out there from about lunch-time onward, the winter weather is, well, wintry and there are no holidays until Pesach.

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Felix Posen's mission: the first-ever entire record of everything Jewish

By Simon Round, December 27, 2012

Felix Posen is passionate about secular Jewish culture. If it is not a contradiction, he is positively evangelical about it. And he has also been prepared to invest more than just time into his interest.

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TV review: Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast

By Simon Round, December 6, 2012

Yotam Ottolenghi is not the first celebrity chef to make a culinary journey to the Mediterranean. Keith Floyd, Rick Stein, James Martin — you name them, they have all been there.

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Richard Young, the photographer who clicks with celebrities

By Simon Round, December 6, 2012

If you believe Richard Young’s account of his own career, he is one of the luckiest photographers around. He tells of how he was working in a bookshop, dabbling in photography, when he obtained a world exclusive by accident.

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Ooh la la and allo allo already

By Simon Round, December 4, 2012

For the first time ever, I feel sorry for Joey Barton. Normally, I have no time for footballers who are randomly violent and excruciatingly pretentious but, having heard his recent post-match, French-accented interview, I do empathise with him a little.

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