Observatory

Gender Fluidity: Not A Trend But A Cycle

image001

There’s an old joke that goes like this; Parents are having guests for dinner, including the local vicar, but their son won’t go to sleep. Their ecclesiastical guest offers to help and goes up to see the boy. When he comes down, all noise has ceased. ‘That’s marvellous,’ say the parents. ‘Whatever did you do […]

Atomic!

2

Something a little less London-centric today. So much has been written about the Manhattan Project, Los Alamos and the creation of ‘Fat Man’ and ‘Little Boy’ that you’d be forgiven for imagining there was little more to explore, but some extraordinary information was declassified by NASA telling the story of Project Orion. America in the […]

Acting Your Age

arthur and john392

One of the UK’s leading social scientists has suggested that people should not be called old until they are seriously frail, dependent and approaching death. This is not because of any notion of political correctness, but because these days people in their 60s and possibly 70s and 80s can still be considered active adults, with many […]

The Curse Of The Bucket List

20140817_76698_image456-sunbathing-tourists-piazza-san-marco-gazzettino

Above, some visitors to Venice got the city and the lido confused, and presumably thought the city was a beach. Meanwhile, residents of the Orkney Islands, which has a population of around 20,000, will be joined by more than 120,000 visitors this summer. The influx is putting attractions such as Skara Brae, Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic […]

A Curmudgeon In Paris

IMG_8385

When you think of Paris you think of Danton, Marat and Robespierre, Victor Hugo and Japanese wedding photo-opportunities. Sadly now you also think of terrorist atrocities and desperate homeless migrant families. To hear a police siren is to become acutely aware of where you are, and there are few sights more heartbreaking than entire families living […]

The Worst Place I Have Ever Been

eiffel-tower-experience

A UK tourism bus side for Las Vegas reads; ‘You know why you come here.’ To which a million answers spring to mind; ‘Because it’s the last place my parole officer will ever think of looking for me.’ ‘Because I’m a morbidly obese gambling addict.’ ‘Because it’s the Pikey Monte Carlo.’ ‘Because I sometimes black […]

Tunnelling Toward The Weekend

image

Well, we’re not in the Sacre Coeur exactly but I’m writing a couple of speeches on the Eurostar to Paris, then we’re dining with family at L’Ami Jean – back Sunday!

My Agent

normal_SerafinaManuel310

Her name was Serafina Clarke, and I met her through Santa Claus. She died a few days ago, in the village of Gaucin in Andalusia, which she had belatedly made her home – quite a jump from Shepherd’s Bush; but nothing about her was ever entirely expected. I still know very little about her – […]

No Longer Cool? Thank God!

Shithole

In the Sunday Times this morning, a ‘nightlife entrepreneur’ (I guess he runs clubs) called Alex Proud releases a wail of anguish about how London is ruined and it’s cooler to be at the coast in places like Margate. I see he has a flat in Primrose Hill. The last time I’d read almost the […]

The Comfort Of Airports

image_update_img

I’m typing this in Comptoir, the Lebanese restaurant at Gatwick airside – yes, Mr Trump, we have a cafe full of Arabs inside an English airport – shaking with fear yet? When it comes to airports, I’m on author Brigid Brophy’s page. You may remember (at least, one or two of you may) that she […]