Keeping It Real

As opposed to fake, that is – for it seems, on holiday at least, virtually everything is fake. Piracy is now so endemic in certain parts of the world that separating real from fake requires a clever eye. In Cambodia, I noticed that all of the bookshops sold pirated books. You could tell these from […]

How The World Sees The British

I only have the vaguest notion of who Benny Hill is – he’s the professor who likes big women in The Italian Job. I certainly never saw his show – I’ve never watched TV that much, and virtually stopped altogether about 20 years ago – but apparently to many Americans he still represents Britain, although […]

When Words Go Bad

Bristol Palin has refudiated her fiance again, after just 20 days. Remember ‘Quadrilogy’, the word Hollywood came up with for the ‘Alien’ boxset when they couldn’t think of ‘quartet’? I think Sarah Palin’s ‘refudiate’ deserves to be enshrined in our lexicon too, especially as her family has a reason to use it since ‘Bristol’ (not […]

One Of The Year’s More Surreal Headlines

‘Supermodel Naomi Campbell To Give Testimony At War Crimes Trial’ If you remember such things, the Streatham-born supermodel is alleged to have received a “blood diamond” from the former Liberian president Charles Taylor while staying at Nelson Mandela’s home in September 1997. Taylor, the first former African leader to be tried in an international war […]

Letting Go

So here’s the problem. I’m in Mykonos (which now consists of clubbers, Chinese tourists, upmarket Brits, cats and a handful of black-dressed old Greek ladies watching in bewildered acceptance of their island’s changes) and I just can’t let go. I have my Macbook Air in my bag, and while everyone else boards boats for the […]

Enemies In The Backyard

Immigration is a topic that always rears its head in times of recession. Now that Republican JD Hayworth’s law, which requires police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants and makes it a crime not to have valid immigration papers on your person, is in effect in the state of Arizona, he wants to expand it to […]

Finding Love Everywhere

Speaking of race issues (see previous post), here’s proof that a positive attitude can turn anything around, as Randy finds himself a new love in the form of former superhero turned social pariah Mel Gibson. Expect some sweariness, naturally.

Heroine Of The Week

Shirley Sherrod was the virtually unknown Department of Agriculture official whose speech about how she didn’t give a white farmer “the full force of what I could do” to help him save his farm back in 1986 got her accused of reverse racism. The result was that Shirley, the daughter of a leader of the […]

Loaf To Tell The Truth

This is a subject very close to writers’ hearts, as most days we dine ‘al desko’. When is a bakery not a bakery? When it’s little more than ‘a tanning salon for baguettes’, according to the Real Bread Campaign. Just how much bread is made elsewhere is revealed today in a ruling by the Advertising […]

Roofworld Comes True

Way back in 1988 I wrote my first novel, Roofworld, about disaffected youths living in rooftop communities. It’s taken 22 years, but it looks like that future has finally arrived. This is Dmitri Yermakov, 18. He’s part of a youth subculture that has taken shape in Moscow. Its adherents are called Roofers, and they gain […]