Issue 1236

21 May 2018
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About this issue: Overview

He may be a national treasure but poet Benjamin Zephaniah has lost none of the fire he had when he made his name in the 1980s. He talks royalty, race and more with Gary Ryan.

Starved of information as a child because the media was state owned, Kholoud Helmi helped set up a newspaper when the Arab Spring spread to Syria. Now it’s one of the more authoritative sources for stories about the terrible repression of the Assad regime but, as Saskia Murphy, finds, it’s come at a cost for Helmi.

Brett Anderson’s memoir has been held up as a rare example of a book by a musician that’s actually good. But the Suede frontman’s book is different in another way too – it ends as they get signed. He picks up the story for Richard Smirke.

In arts and entertainment, we have reviews of TV, games, albums and independent cinema, prize-winning poet Kayo Chingonyi, and artist Chantal Joffe, who has a new exhibition at the Lowry, Salford.

Columnist Roger Ratcliffe wonders what John Lennon would say about the current pothole crisis, snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan writes a letter to his wilder, younger self and there’s our crossword, Sudoku and more.