LRB Conversations

Various discussions on topics and writers drawn from the pages of the LRB.

The Most Interesting Place in the World

Stephen Frears and Andrew O’Hagan, 4 August 2021

3 August 2021 · 33mins

Stephen Frears talks to Andrew O’Hagan about making movies in America, to mark the publication of a new collection of LRB essays on Hollywood. He describes being protected by Scorsese, learning from Billy Wilder, and why films often had budgets of $39 million.

Running, Diving, Bleeding

John Lanchester and Thomas Jones, 4 August 2021

27 July 2021 · 34mins

John Lanchester talks to Thomas Jones about ‘visible’ cheating in sport, that is, the kind which is against the rules but within the ethos of the game, from diving in football to bodyline bowling in cricket.

Seized Up

Pooja Bhatia and Thomas Jones, 4 August 2021

20 July 2021 · 30mins

Pooja Bhatia talks to Thomas Jones about the assassination of President Moïse in Haiti, the recent history of US involvement in the country, and the difference between elections and democracy.

Two Utopias

James Meek and Thomas Jones, 4 August 2021

13 July 2021 · 53mins

James Meek talks to Thomas Jones about the connected fates of two wind tower factories, one in Scotland, the other in Vietnam, and asks why the determination to achieve a green future isn’t matched by a determination to ensure fair wages and good conditions for the workers who will make it possible.

Ultimate Outsider

Toril Moi and Joanna Biggs, 4 August 2021

6 July 2021 · 52mins

Toril Moi talks to Joanna Biggs about the French philosopher Simone Weil, whose short and uncompromising life became a workshop for her revolutionary ideas about labour, human suffering and the power of paying attention. 

Ethel and Julius

Deborah Friedell and Thomas Jones, 26 July 2021

29 June 2021 · 45mins

Deborah Friedell talks to Thomas Jones about the Rosenbergs, from their early years on the Lower East Side of New York to their execution for conspiracy to commit espionage in 1953, and the significance of their trial in American public life, not least as a platform for Donald Trump’s future lawyer, Roy Cohn.

On the Irish Border

Niamh Gallagher and Thomas Jones, 8 July 2021

22 June 2021 · 59mins

Niamh Gallagher talks to Thomas Jones about the history of the Irish border, from its origins in the 1920s to today, the way it has shaped Irish politics in both the south and north, and why the Troubles can’t be repeated.

Muhammad, Cervantes and the Algarve

Tariq Ali and Thomas Jones, 2 July 2021

15 June 2021 · 47mins

Tariq Ali talks to Thomas Jones about a newly reissued biography of the Prophet by Maxime Rodinson, and the historic prevalence of Arabic culture in the West, from Don Quixote to Trafalgar Square.

Collapsing Time

Art Spiegelman and Thomas Jones, 23 June 2021

8 June 2021 · 57mins

Legendary cartoonist Art Spiegelman talks to Thomas Jones about his latest book, Street Cop, a collaboration with Robert Coover, and looks back on previous work including Maus and In the Shadow of No Towers, which was originally published in the LRB.

After the Ceasefire

Tareq Baconi, Henriette Chacar and Adam Shatz, 14 June 2021

21 May 2021 · 45mins

Adam Shatz talks to Tareq Baconi and Henriette Chacar about the crisis in Israel-Palestine, the significance of the ceasefire, the context of the war, the politics inside Israel and the Gaza Strip, and the response in Washington.

Perfect Circles

Claire Hall and Thomas Jones, 9 June 2021

18 May 2021 · 45mins

Claire Hall talks to Thomas Jones about Ancient Greek horoscopy, the Ptolemaic model, the mysteries of the Antikythera mechanism, and why astrology was the first data science.

Hydrological Uncertainty

Rosa Lyster and Thomas Jones, 27 July 2021

11 May 2021 · 30mins

Rosa Lyster talks to Thomas Jones about the global water crisis, from the severe droughts in her home city of Cape Town, to the sinking of Mexico City and the damming of the Nile, and the need for all countries to prepare for future shortages.

One Big Payday

Peter Geoghegan and Thomas Jones, 27 July 2021

4 May 2021 · 57mins

Peter Geoghegan talks to Thomas Jones about the Greensill lobbying scandal, the refurbishment of Boris Johnson’s flat, the unhealthy relationship between successive British governments and the private sector, and what it might all mean for the future of the Union.

Blind Spots

Jesse McCarthy and Adam Shatz, 27 July 2021

28 April 2021 · 59mins

Jesse McCarthy talks to Adam Shatz about his studies of Black diasporic culture, from Juan de Pareja to Audre Lorde, and his critique of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s case for reparations.