Posts From Author: anton sword

This Is Not A Man

Alexander Pope recited in the style of William Shatner. A French general, born into slavery in Saint-Domingue, locked in a war of attrition with Napoleon Bonaparte. A live link to Hollywood during Oscars week. It could only be the House of SpeakEasy. “This Is Not A Man” delivered another Seriously Entertaining mix of music, comedy, history and literature in the warm embrace of City Winery in SoHo. First out of the gate was Dana Vachon, author of Wall Street satire Mergers & Acquisitions. He kicked off with a couple of thumbnail sketches — “One story that doesn’t work involves my father and a terrorist…” — before setting off on a globe-trotting assignment set by Vanity Fair. It was a tale of data-mining billionaires, early-morning water calisthenics in Singapore, and uber-alpha-male English expats all called Roger MacMillan, topped off with sage words of advice from Don DeLillo. “I asked him what young novelists should be writing about,” said Vachon, “and he said immediately, without hesitation, the destruction of the environment.” The comedian Steve Coogan, who stands to win his first Oscar this weekend for his screenplay for Philomena, spoke to SpeakEasy founder Amanda Foreman via Facetime from Los Angeles. Coogan has enjoyed a phenomenally successful career in comedy, but Philomena is […]
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Curtain Call: This Is Not A Man

We’re just days away from our February show, “This Is Not a Man”. Speechless with excitement, it seems only right that we hand over to our six guests to introduce themselves. So without further ado… Tom Reiss won both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography for his latest book, The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo. “It’s a great, forgotten, unknown, erased African-American success story,” he says, “and a story of a moment in time that really should realign our understanding of the history of race and race relations in the west.” Here he is talking about the origins of the book, which PEN judges called “a miracle of research”. Steve Coogan could be the worthy winner of an Academy Award next Sunday. He and Jeff Pope are nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for Philomena. Looking ahead, Coogan’s film Alan Partridge, released last year in the UK as Alpha Papa, is available on demand and via iTunes next Thursday (February 27) and you can catch it in US cinemas from April 4. In a short trip to the UK last year, I actively didn’t see friends so that I could make […]
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Anton Sword’s Valentine’s Tracks

Anton Sword is a romantic of the old school. His Twitter profile describes him as a songwriter and flaneur from “Brooklyn and sometimes Berlin”. His first album, A Sentimental Education (2007), shares its title with a nineteenth-century French novel. His song titles include “On the Precipice”, “Behind the Scarlet Curtain”, and “City of Oblivion”. All this lavish, sublime, Baudelairean-Flaubertian romantic ambience is surely enough to put even the sourest of sour pusses in the mood for Valentine’s Day. We’re delighted that Anton has agreed to mark the occasion with a selection of his favourite romantic tracks. But first, if you’re new to Anton’s music, a few words of introduction. The influence of French modernism already noted is overlaid with a distinctly postmodern approach to instrumentation and structure. He will happily mix an electronic pulse with more traditional instrumentation; his chord progressions defy generic expectations; his voice, at once sensitive and passionate, tender and hard, gives his lyrics an ironic edge. As, say, Morrissey’s hound-dog vocals and melancholy lyrics form unholy alliances, so Anton’s wry observations find themselves couched in lush orchestration. Take the opening of “Here in the Hurricane”, for instance: Like Morrissey — or Kristian Hoffman, another artist with whom Anton bears comparison […]
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