The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
ENO's production of La Boheme is a triumph,
Not everyone at this time of year wants to get into the festive spirit by drinking mulled wine and watching a warm-hearted production about Santa Claus.
There are those of us out there who are up for something a bit darker, a bit witty and, well, a bit freakish.
Enter the exceptionally stylish cabaret duo Bourgeois and Maurice - whose strange but fascinating Fa La La La La embraces comedy, music and theatre - to provide a slightly more outrageous take on Christmas.
And most certainly it's one of the more creative and satirical performances "celebrating" the festive season.
The sinister siblings have been on the cabaret scene for a while now, with an impressive number of shows bagging them awards and critical acclaim in the process.
But this time they've stepped up a notch with a vengeance, complementing their performance with a couple of musicians - guitarist Charles De Gore (Charlie Webb) and drummer Laser Wolfe (this paper's very own Jack Carr).
As well as revamping the songs, they also manage to get in a few good jokes of their own.
Numbers Tax Me and The Lizard Men jump from bitter-sweet, poignant to melancholic, jovial or just plain offensive and the ever-so charismatic Bourgeois keeps the audience laughing with his biting satire and sociopolitical observations between songs.
Pianist Maurice, who spends a lot of the set hiding behind her piano, gets a chance to take centre stage halfway through the set and wins a few laughs from the audience for herself.
Whether music, comedy, bitchiness or just fabulous outfits are your thing - and even if they're not - there's no denying that Bourgeois and Maurice are an act worth catching.
Runs until January 7. Box office: 0870 429-6883.