Simon Round

TV review: Toni and Rosi

By Simon Round, February 3, 2012

Even without the Nazis, the story of pianists Toni and Rosi Grunschlag would have made compelling viewing. Filmed over 18 years by Will Wyatt and Todd Murray, we saw the sisters at home and abroad, both playing and reminiscing


The Cranleigh

By Simon Round, February 2, 2012

I knew there was a preponderance of water in the Lake District but what I did not realise was that there were lakes in the middle of the road.

Ok, maybe not lakes but certainly ponds big enough to make driving into the resort of Bowness on Windermere the sort of journey to be undertaken in an amphibious vehicle rather than a Vauxhall Astra.

It was an unusually inclement time to visit – the


Interview: Daniel Sieberg

By Simon Round, February 2, 2012

Daniel Sieberg's wife used to have a nickname for him. She called him "glow worm" because every night when the lights were off, his face was always illuminated by some kind of screen.

She began to get frustrated by her husband's compulsive online behaviour. He would be on social networking sites or surfing the internet and their relationship began to suffer.


Interview: Zoe Strimpel

By Simon Round, January 26, 2012

Like many people at the start of the year, Zoe Strimpel is on a diet. However, for her it is not the cakes and pastries which are being rationed but rather men.


Radio review: The Hidden Graves of the Holocaust

By Simon Round, January 25, 2012

There is of course a mountain of evidence to support the fact that the Nazis murdered upwards of six million Jews during the Second World War.

However, there are still people who deny the Holocaust, which is pretty much akin to people denying the existence of the Pacific Ocean.


Successful parenting? She's discovered le secret

By Simon Round, January 20, 2012

Anyone who has ever attempted to dine out with a toddler in tow will know that it can be a stressful experience. Small children have a tendency to shout loudly, to refuse to eat unfamiliar foods, and occasionally to jettison unwanted items on the laps of people at neighbouring tables.


Storyville Survivors: My Friend Sam - Living For the Moment

By Simon Round, January 20, 2012

In some respects, Sam Frears is very fortunate. Sam - the son of film director Stephen Frears - is popular, has a wide circle of friends, including the writer Alan Bennett, is bright, ambitious, has a sharp sense of humour and no money worries.


Interview: Bennett Arron

By Simon Round, January 19, 2012

Bennett Arron is used to being in a minority of one. As a boy growing up just outside the Welsh steel town of Port Talbot he was the only Jew in the village.


L'Chaim! Time not to detox

By Simon Round, January 13, 2012

January is traditionally the month when the nation attempts to clear its collective hangover and contemplates abstaining from drink for a little while.

This year, the government has got involved. It has launched an alcohol awareness campaign and is now advising that we all abstain from drinking for at least two days a week.


Interview: Jonathan Waxman

By Simon Round, January 6, 2012

Jonathan Waxman's consulting room is a relaxing place - armchairs for the patients, a couch of the kind you might expect to see in a psychiatrists office… and a tropical fish-tank.


Interview: Sophie Solomon

By Simon Round, January 5, 2012

Sophie Solomon never wanted to be a violinist.

She may have started playing at the age of two, been selected for the National Youth Orchestra, been a classical music scholar at her public school, and even been heralded as one of the most talented violinists of her generation, but all Solomon wanted to do was learn Russian.

So instead of becoming a concert violinist, she read modern history a


The singing star of The Da Vinci Code

By Simon Round, December 29, 2011

Israeli soprano Hila Plitmann has played with many of the world's top orchestras, won a Grammy Award and sung solo on the blockbuster Hollywood movie, The Da Vinci Code.

Despite her many accomplishments, however, there is one thing she rarely gets to do - sing in her mother tongue.


TV review: Jerusalem on a Plate

By Simon Round, December 22, 2011

This may have been a food programme but you do not have to be long in Jerusalem before you taste the flavour of politics.

Falafel is, of course, the national dish of Israel - unless you happen to be a Palestinian vendor of the ubiquitous chickpea balls who feels he has a greater claim to the dish than Israeli upstarts.


Perchance to dream - of old age

By Simon Round, December 9, 2011

I had a great idea for a column yesterday. Now what was it? Ah yes, it was about ageing. Not that I'm old or anything, you understand, although I am slightly more middle-aged than I used to be.


What the Independent's Simon Kelner did next: fair reporting

By Simon Round, December 8, 2011

Former Independent editor Simon Kelner this week spoke of his new project to provide journalistic training to those involved in the Arab Spring – and took the opportunity to defend his own newspaper's Middle East coverage.

The Journalism Foundation, a charitable organisation backed by the Lebedev family, which owns the Independent and the Evening Standard, will be led by Mr Kelner, who steppe


Interview: Miriam Elia

By Simon Round, December 8, 2011

Miriam Elia is attempting to come up with a definition of conceptual art.

Although she has made a considerable reputation for herself as a stand-up comedian and Radio 4 comedy writer, Elia defines herself as an artist and her comedy as such too.

Her latest work, an installation entitled I Fell in Love With a Conceptual Artist… And It Was Totally Meaningless, could equally be a piece of com


How Eden became hell for Iraq's Jews

By Simon Round, December 2, 2011

The Last Jews of Iraq
Radio 4, ★★★★✩

On The Road With An Orthodox Rabbi
BBC News Channel, ★★★✩✩


Interview: Alice Hoffman

By Simon Round, November 30, 2011

When journalists interview novelists, they invariably ask where the idea for a story came from. Almost as invariably, this is the question that novelists dislike most.


Star violinist's debt to his Jewish teachers

By Simon Round, November 24, 2011

If you had to work out David Garrett's occupation simply by his appearance, you would be unlikely to guess that he is one of the most gifted violinists of his generation.

With his long hair and skull ring he looks vaguely heavy metal-ish but, then again, with his Roger Federer-esque good looks he could also be a model.


Holocaust historian defends man who broke into Auschwitz

By Simon Round, November 17, 2011

A Holocaust historian this week came to the defence of a British prisoner of war whose account of his time at Auschwitz has been called into question.

Denis Avey, 93, recorded his experiences in The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz, in which he recounted how he had swapped places with a Jewish prisoner so he could see the death camp for himself.