Julian Barnes

Recent

He’s the Guy

Those social media posts of ‘this moment in this famous film was totally unscripted!!!’ as if that by itself makes it better miss the point. Moat unscripted material, like most ideas, inventions, ideas, notions, &c … fails — such is the nature of creativity: the best stuff, it is devoutly to be wished, sticks around;

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‘Round Here

Imagine someone, potentially anyone, even you, perhaps, but let us, in any case, say. Yes, you. You pull into the diner – Earl’s, Norm’s, Dinah’s, something like that. A sort-of Googie architecture … but maybe not quite, as if it’d been a little late for the Space Age, and late is the one thing you

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Trick Shot

Sometimes successful films — ones that aren’t expected to be, by many excellent people — spawn copycats, a fact as well-known as well-attested. The followers aren’t as awesome as the originals but they’re not always so awful, and the makers, if they care a little, will throw some new stuff in, or at least get people

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No Prizes for Subtlety

It was the sort of place you wouldn’t be found dead in; the guy on the floor didn’t agree. Didn’t seem to like the floor — but it was in better shape than his face. Then someone had gone duck hunting on his chest. And either another guy was standing in front of me, or

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Random

I Wasn’t Talking To You

There is a story from the Johnson Administration which has PBS journalist Bill Moyers, at the time LBJ’s communications director, praying before a meal. With many guests attending, Moyers was at one end of the table and the Leader of the Free World at the other. As Moyers said grace, President Johnson said, “I can’t

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Whispers and Words

My dad died in my sleep. 2:35 AM in an upstate New York hospice; 11:35 PM in a Southern California house. A text saying to call and two voice mails I still haven’t listened to and speaking was as a sunrise. New but not unexpected. * Who’s the dust in this scenario? Remember, O Man, that thou art but

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Columbo: Why We Watch

This is part one of a two-part post on why, some 45 years later, we still watch Columbo. Part two is here. This essay is excerpted from The Columbo Case Files: Season One, found here. Thank you. * For my wedding, I asked for and received the Columbo DVD collection. Complete to that point, it ended

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Faith in the Shadowlands

Casting Crowns made me cry. It was the song “Somewhere in the Middle” — sometimes called “Caught in the Middle” on the Internet. I misheard one of the lines too — the phrase is “deepwater faith, in the shallow end.” It was also a little disconcerting to learn that it was written for teenagers. We

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