Just My Type


Oh you poor Snowflakes, forever complaining about your download speeds – do you have ideas what we Base Dates* had to go through? It began with the desire to write something, anything. I started with a black biro, never blue because blue was for private letters, and I wanted to draw too. Soon I was […]

That Trump Hair Explanation In Full


From universal laughing stock to ‘short-fingered vulgarian’ (cf Spy magazine) to golf course bully to Tweet-narcissist, you couldn’t make up Donald Trump because nobody would believe you. With Toad (Boris Johnson) and Ratty (Nigel Farage) now creeping around him looking for crumbs from the table the story’s twists become increasingly surreal. But you know all […]



My friend Michele sent this from French web-comic Cyprien (what is it with the single names in Europe?) for anyone who has felt left out by advancing technology.

Raymond Kirkpatrick Goes Online


Raymond Kirkpatrick is a colleague of Arthur Bryant’s. The bear-like heavy metal-loving Professor of English is currently working at the British Library and is our occasional guest speaker. His opinions are very, very much his own. I work in a library so obviously I prefer books, but last week John May, in his desperate attempts […]

The Friday Song

STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah, Dolly Parton, 1989

With the news being so depressing yesterday it wasn’t time for the Friday Song, so here it is today, celebrating the bad girls of the movies. Footnote: In a weird comment on America’s complex issues with race, the film ‘Steel Magnolias’, which features here, was remade in 2012 with an all-black cast.

Sir Dirk on Book and Film

bogarde2 the singer not the song

For a long time he was the quintessential British film star, but it’s likely a sizeable portion of the population has now never seen a Dirk Bogarde film. Or Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde, to give him his full name. His heyday as an actor ended over four decades ago, and in later […]

Who Are The Enemies Of The People?


The nation’s media is in trouble again. It started with a small story. In the Sunday Times, critic Camilla Long horrified many with her condescending review of Ken Loach’s well-meaning polemic ‘I, Daniel Blake’. In doing so, she revealed the widening gap between the press and the public. Last year Kate Winslet and Judy Davis […]

Are Pretty People More Successful?

Made of rubber

How we see an author on a book jacket is how we tend to remember them. We view Agatha Christie as what they used to call a ‘maiden aunt’, more Miss Marple than the tall, glamorous young woman who travelled the world and was probably the first English writer ever to go surfing in Hawaii. […]

‘Every Joke Is A Tiny Revolution’ – Orwell


Further to my recent article on satirical magazines, a piece by Zoe Williams in The Guardian yesterday prompts this thought, viz. you cannot be satirical now and get away with it. It’s a complicated tale, going back over 30 years. The CIA destabilised nations by putting in new leaders, and to cut a long (and […]



It means we live in a time when anything can happen at any given moment, and what’s more we’re so used to it that we cope by turning away from the world’s issues, knowing we can do nothing about them, and look inward instead to body and mind. It’s also the title of Adam Curtis’s […]