About this issue: Overview
Being in a band beats serving vegetables in a hotel for Blossoms’ Tom Ogden. And being a working-class group from Stockport makes it easier for fans to relate to them, the singer tells Saskia Murphy. He also talks about looking up to Blondie and being inspired by the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack.
The inquiry into institutional child sexual abuse in England and Wales has been dogged by controversy and the loss of three chairs. But Ivor Frank, a human rights barrister who is a member of the inquiry’s panel, insists it will succeed in exposing society’s darkest secrets. We also talk to a survivor of abuse while in care who says the inquiry has provided a vital platform for people like her to share their history.
Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale and more than 30 books of fiction, poetry and essay, writes a letter to her younger self, revealing the blithe confidence she had in her writing in her twenties and her determination to make some money from it. Over on our books page are more authors: a review of Ali Smith’s latest novel and a Q&A with Doug Johnstone about his Orkney-based thriller.
Liam, who sells Big Issue North in Leeds, is our featured vendor this week. Originally from Northern Ireland, he has taken impressive strides to overcome his drug problem and praises the friendliness of his customers in his new home city.
On the comment pages, William Bolton asks why the north doesn’t get its act together to properly document and celebrate all the great things going in the region – like Scotland has.
The news pages bring reports on the record levels of CO2 now in the atmosphere, propelled by the El Nino weather event, and on the prestigious New York gallery that has given emojis equal standing to Picasso and Pollock.
There’s also Select – our pick of the best live events of next week – reviews of TV, computer games, albums and independent cinema, crossword and Sudoku.