Great Britain

Two Oxfords

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I did not go to university. My grades were good enough to secure an excellent placement, but ultimately it was my decision not to go. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of the many writers who had started by honing language in advertising, then move into journalism. During that journey, I fell out of […]

You Can Be Different – Just Not Too Different

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I’ve always returned to London because it was just so damned different to everywhere else, but when I walked into Leicester Square yesterday and saw that the entire centre garden had been swallowed up by something called ‘the Disney Cinderella Experience’ my heart sank. First, it’s that word ‘experience’, tacked onto everything. Then there’s the […]

Who Was Oscar Deutsch?

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The simple answer is that he entertained our nation. Deutsch (1893-1941) created a cinema circuit to rival the big two, Gaumont and ABC, and his chain is still with us today. This inconsequential-looking little man was the son of a Jewish Hungarian scrap metal merchant, and brought about an extraordinary revolution in British style, a […]

A Load Of Tripe

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I am addicted to Very Silly blogs as an antidote to an increasingly serious world. While drifting through the interweb the other day I discovered this. It turns out Bill Tidy isn’t the only man obsessed with tripe (see columns passim). Bill Blunt, journalist, is just such a chap. I mention him after stumbling across […]

Southern Jessies: Try Going North!

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A grim statistic surfaced in the press this week; for every 12 new jobs created in the South, there’s 1 job lost in the North of England. This is after a much-fanfared promise of devolution to city regions which proved such a hot topic in national and local government, when chancellor George Osborne set out […]

The Vulgarians Are Amongst Us

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A couple of days ago a chap called Matt posted a comment on the piece about headphones which struck a chord with me. He pointed out that my idea of mid-range items and his were the line between Haves and Have-Nots, which is an ever more pertinent topic of discussion here in London where the […]

Why London Architects Will Hate Prince Charles Even More

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Prince Charles is not a man many urbanites would naturally agree with. For the past 30 years or so he has been discredited, dismissed and derided – from his ill-advised phone comments hacked by the press to various New Age whimsies and his ‘monstrous carbuncle’ comments on the Tate Gallery extension. But in the current […]

The Steady Rise (Easy, Grandma!) Of The Adult Panto

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Wordsmiths love the panto season although I’ve not been since I was about nine years old, but friends are nagging me into attending this year, partly because there seem to be more of them than ever, and many are getting very good reviews. I’m not thrilled about sitting amongst a thousand seat-wetting anklebiters and being […]

The Past Is A Safer Country

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What has the above object got to do with the subject under discussion today? It’s a blanket currently on sale at the London Transport Museum, and its pattern is the printed design of Routemaster bus seat material. If you’re a Londoner you’ve probably seen it your whole life and not registered it, except that it […]

‘Coming Over Here, Revitalising Our Culture…’

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The Swiss just held a referendum on whether to curb immigration to just 0.2% of the population, bringing it down from 80,000 to 16,000 people a year. Let’s face it, they’ve never been team players, have they? But this time they voted against the curb – a good thing in my book. Perhaps they thought, […]