Monthly Archives: September 2021

Back On The Job

Oh, for fuck’s sake. I admit I get a bit minty occasionally, especially when I think about upcoming scans, which usually reveal C cells creeping over yet more internal organs like London mildew. But yesterday I was in hospital (lovely intubation, ladies, I’ve not a mark showing on me today) and read close to a […]

Genesis Of A Blog

In August 2008 I started this blog with a post about the neighbour in ‘Bewitched’. The posts were short and funny. They were not often about books. Sometimes we had songs or musical numbers. We had competitions, crosswords and treasure hunts, as if we were big children. Most author websites discussed literature, but I didn’t […]

The Moment My Country Left Me

My mother once gave me her explanation of the Union Jack. ‘It represents unity. We are four countries, not one, although we should be three.’ She never told me which one she would take out, but I assumed it was Ireland. As a child I formed a very clear idea of what my country was. […]

Urgent Hair Update

  When I was, oh I don’t know, about three (see above) I had a mop of blond hair, was forced into cardigans at the seaside and was the size of a large duck. When I was 7 years-old my father proudly introduced me to ‘Old Morris’ who would take tonsorial control of me now […]

A Sheffield Talk 2

(This article is continued) Arthur Upfield inspired a killer to copy his fictional perfect murder. Kathleen Winsor became the subject of a sex scandal. Other authors like Simon Raven never learned how to deal with sudden success and succumbed to a variety of hideous fates. Some were simply unlucky, some shied from the spotlight and […]

A Sheffield Talk

Some while back I gave a talk about forgotten authors in Sheffield. I’m not sure I’ve published it before, probably not in this form. It may be of passing interest only, but here it is; Once there were popular novels almost everyone owned. Mum had Georgette Heyer, Dad had Eric Ambler, kids had Billy Bunter […]

Schrödinger’s Virus

Summer, distinguishable from spring by nomenclature only, gave us a better manifestation of philosophical pessimism than Schopenhauer ever came up with. And as it shrivelled and dribbled away it seemingly took with it Covid, which has largely vanished from British front pages even though the infection rates on our overcrowded little island are higher than almost […]

Behind The Scenes At The Cheltenham Literary Festival

The smaller literary festivals – the ones where you have to stay overnight in a hotel room that still has a trouser press – are a bit like attending a bathroom fittings convention. We drink too much, stay up too late and have a good moan about work. The Cheltenham Literary Festival is not like that. […]

History & Mystery

My hair, the one change everyone swore they could predict, never fell out. But it did turn white. Now it’s starting to turn black. Every day’s a surprise in C-Land. As my fuzzy head clears and I build up a head of steam to write, the question is no longer ‘Can I?’ but ‘What should […]

The Privileged Few

There Are Too Many ‘Privileged Few’ There’s a simple way to work out how rich you are; count the number of choices you have. Could you choose a new house, a new car, a new career? Most in the poverty trap have no choices. I chose my job out of instinct rather than careful consideration. […]