Michael Blastland

michael-blastland pic

Journalist Michael Blastland discusses with Ivan six things which he thinks should be better known. You can find out more about Michael and order his book The Hidden Half.

1. The myth of nurture v nature https://www.nature.com/articles/421806a
2. The uncertainty of public data https://medium.com/wintoncentre/has-uk-employment-gone-down-maybe-and-maybe-not-7b2e8fbdc7c5
3. Science’s replication crisis https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-016-0021
4. The fallibility of medicines https://www.nature.com/news/personalized-medicine-time-for-one-person-trials-1.17411
5. Unknown impact of government’s policies https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/our-work/policy-making/all-change
6. The Mind is Flat, by Nick Chater https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mind-Flat-Illusion-Mental-Improvised/dp/0241208440/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+mind+is+flat&qid=1569486201&s=gateway&sr=8-1

hidden Half

Bobby Duffy


Bobby Duffy discusses with Ivan six things which should be better known. Bobby is the director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London. His latest book is The Perils of Perception.

1. Negativity bias https://www.offgridsessions.com/2019/07/30/the-perils-of-perception/

2. The cohort effect https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/18/young-people-tory-grey-vote

3. Proper definition of Polarisation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fqlDfPcHWM

4. The Price by Arthur Miller https://www.ft.com/content/bc9f4a4a-2ec3-11e9-ba00-0251022932c8

5. Nick Cave playing live https://variety.com/2019/music/news/concert-review-conversations-with-nick-cave-is-part-qa-part-music-part-group-therapy-1203347523/

6. Better earphones https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/audio/best-in-ear-headphones-1276925


Iain Burnside


Classical pianist Iain Burnside discusses with Ivan six things which he thinks should be better known. Find out more about Iain at https://www.askonasholt.com/artists/iain-burnside/.

1. The Scottish composer FG Scott

The piece used is Florine, adapted from a poem by Thomas Campbell.

2. Sally Clarke’s spicy sweetcorn soup https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/masters-of-modern-cookery-1-sally-clarke-the-soup-kitchen-1142406.html

3. The website http://www.borrowmydoggy.com

4. Molly Keane’s novel Good Behaviour

5. Locke https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/10771751/Locke-film-review.html

6. The Ludlow English Song Weekend http://ludlowenglishsongweekend.com

Joan Silber


Novelist and short story writer Joan Silber talks to Ivan about six things which she thinks should be better known. Her novels include Improvement, which won the 2017 National Critics Circle Award in Fiction and the 2018 PEN/Faulkner Award. Find out more about Joan.

1. Luang Prabang, Laos https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/oct/12/luang-prabang-laos-three-day-holiday-itinerary
2. David Malouf https://literature.britishcouncil.org/writer/david-malouf
3. The Mighty Clouds of Joy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeM-VMkhFdM
4. Charles Baxter https://www.nybooks.com/contributors/charles-baxter/
5. Walking in New York https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/04/22/magazine/new-york-city-walks.html
6. Tahini with grape molasses (pekmez) on bread http://www.turkishcookbook.com/2007/01/tahini-grape-molasses.php

Joel Whitney


Joel Whitney talks to Ivan about six things which he thinks should be better known.

Joel is the author of Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World’s Best Writers.

NOTE: Joel refers, during the Essential American Poets section, to a poet who was a carpenter, fought Fascists, was chased out of the country and sheltered in Mexico. Due to the editing, it sounds as if he is talking about Wallace Stevens. He is in fact referring to George Oppen. Apologies for any confusion.

  1. Essential American Poets series https://www.poetryfoundation.org/podcasts/series/74631/essentialpoets
  2. When they see us https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/when-they-see-us-netflix-review-central-park-five-ava-duvernay-new-york-cast-trailer-a8936816.html
  3. Spitting on Richard Nixon https://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/vice-president-nixons-motorcade-attacked-in-venezuela-may-13-1958-106584
  4. Elizabeth Buffum Chace http://www.womenhistoryblog.com/2016/06/elizabeth-buffum-chace.html
  5. The Family https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/netflix-the-family-jesse-moss-secret-christian-cult-washington-dc-869396/
  6. TWA Hotel at JFX International Airport https://time.com/5589561/twa-hotel-jfk/

Hugh Bicheno


Hugh Bicheno talks to Ivan about six things which he thinks should be better known.

  1. Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_von_Coudenhove-Kalergi
  2. Sir Benjamin Thompson https://www.britannica.com/biography/Sir-Benjamin-Thompson-Graf-von-Rumford
  3. Marguerite of Anjou https://www.historyhit.com/facts-about-margaret-of-anjou/
  4. First Anglo-Sikh war http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/t/sikh-wars-and-annexation-of-the-panjab/
  5. The 1973 coup d’état in Chile https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/07/chile-coup-pinochet-allende
  6. Pablo Escobar https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-pablo-escobar-1465149.html

Hugh Bicheno was born in Cuba to British parents and went to school in Cuba, Chile and Scotland before winning a scholarship to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he won a first-class honours degree in History.

He was first an academic and then an officer in the Secret Intelligence Service. Later he became a security consultant specializing in kidnap negotiations in Latin America. He lived in the United States for several years and became a naturalised citizen, but now lives in England.

He is best known for his best-selling Razor’s Edge: The Unofficial History of the Falklands War, praised as the best account of the war by Major General Julian Thompson, the British Land Commander during the campaign.

His most recent published work is a two-volume history of the Wars of the Roses, Battle Royaland Blood Royal. A second edition combining both in a single volume and titled The Wars of the Roses was published on 5th September.

Joe Thomas


Joe Thomas talks to Ivan about six things which he thinks should be better known. Joe’s novels include Paradise City, Gringa and Playboy. You can read more about Joe here.

  1. The crime novels of Sara Gran https://crimereads.com/sara-grans-infinite-mysteries/
  2. The Brazilian musicians Cazuza and Tim Maia https://library.brown.edu/create/fivecenturiesofchange/chapters/chapter-8/aids/cazuza-brazils-first-public-face-of-aids/
  3. Levels of the Game by John McPhee https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/28/john-mcphee-levels-game-more-great-sportswriting-tennis-william-fiennes
  4. Willy Vlautin https://www.faber.co.uk/blog/disposable-diaries-willy-vlautin/
  5. Laura Barton’s Notes from a Musical Island https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/mar/13/laura-barton-notes-musical-island-saturday-night-movies-hip-hop-saved-life-rolling-stone-review
  6. The short stories of Lucy Caldwell https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/cyprus-avenue-a-short-story-by-lucy-caldwell-1.2642289