Laura Marling’s new album, Once I Was An Eagle, is that rare pleasure – an album to which you listen all the way through, and then want to start again at the beginning. There are only one or two albums like that a year, for me at least. Fleet Foxes’ debut album was one such. Read more…

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At the moment I’m researching the cultural practices of ecstasy in the 20th century, which has given me the excuse to read some fine books on the history of pop music. The latest is Matthew Collin’s Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House, first published way back in 1997 and since updated. Read more…

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While I was writing Philosophy for Life, I lived with three friends in a church in North London. We discovered that our land-lady, who we never met, was Sister Bliss, the DJ and one third of the dance supergroup Faithless. This year, when I found myself researching the idea of music as a form of Read more…

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Last weekend I was asked to come and talk about my experience doing the Alpha Course at Holy Trinity Brompton in Knightsbridge. I was happy to agree, as I’d enjoyed Alpha, and my ego is always flattered to be asked to speak. There were five of us lined up to give ‘testimonials’, and I rapidly Read more…

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The history of popular religions can be compared to the natural history of species. Sometimes a new species arrives in an environment, and a fierce battle ensues with the native species. They may also interbreed, as the first homo sapiens interbred with earlier species of humans. The same thing happens with religions and cults: a Read more…

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