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 […]

No Longer Fun To Stay There

The Youth Men’s Christian Association, the original Bible study group, was founded in London in 1844. Now the board of the organisation’s American branch announced that it will henceforth call itself by its common street name, “The Y”, unveiling a new logo as part of a major “brand revitalisation”. Presumably the Village People song actions […]

Keeping Out The Russians

I sold my house to Russians. They were a charming, erudite, stylish couple who overturned the received stereotype of shouty gold-laden gangsters and tarts. But, having visited Cyprus, an island decimated by the bad kind, where every other shop sells fur coats or is a lap-dancing club, I have a little sympathy with the town […]

It’s All Gone A Bit French

The English middle classes are in love with France. They eat the food, buy the houses and live the French life, until they get wind of how much it’s costing them. I did, too – but shedding my French connections has been, to put in mildly, a pain in the bum. French bureaucracy makes the […]

Getting ‘Stuff’ed

Shallow Thinking 2

The Guardian’s website has a simple but good piece today that furthers the discussion started below. John Naughton points out that a funny thing happened to us on the way to the future. The internet went from being something exotic to being a boring utility, like mains electricity or running water, and we never really […]

Deadlier Than The Mail

I’m chilling before heading off to a salt lake to see if there are still any migrating flamingos hanging about, and the most depressing reminder of Middle England I see before I leave is the Daily Mail lurking on my hotel breakfast table. ‘The Paper That Seeks To Blame’ is currently pointing its finger and […]

Whatever Happened To Stavros?

You know, the cheery, sweaty Greek stereotype serving the fat ginger British tourist sterotypes in Greece? And of course, here and from Goa to Ibiza you do find a certain kind of British tourist, the one in the photo (incredibly, proudly used as a role model for this shot from an ad for mustard), who […]

Hands On With iPad

I braved the crowds at the Apple store, Regent Street, to fiddle about with a gadget today when I could have been at any one of a dozen or so new cultural events in London. Apart from the fact that the iPad is weirdly slippery and awkward to put on your lap, costs 600 quid […]