Observatory

Bombage To Catalonia

Only one thing could mess up my travel plans. Summer dies. Autumn storms sweep in. It’s still around 24C in Barcelona, but it’s wild and wet, with the kind of thunderstorms that usually only occur in horror films. The local ladies are now wearing their autumn outfits, which involve padded jackets and layers of scarves. […]

The Future Isn’t That Much Fun

Remember when you first did something that felt like genuinely being in the future and how excited you were? It might have been getting in a new car, or seeing a movie in 3D, or trying a new kind of computer for the first time. For me, it was a trip on Concorde. I went […]

Out Of Control: US & UK Attitudes To Firearms

Here’s a subject I came across in the online Nature magazine (the academic periodical of British sciences). Today many Americans see the gun as a symbol of freedom from state control, and credit 1791’s Second Amendment for having saved the newly freed US from the fate of Britain’s other colonies. But in the UK guns were […]

Selling Snake Oil

In yesterday’s news, Donald Trump snubbed a climate change meeting to attend a prayer meeting. Belief, which once drove the world, has turned into a poison that is destabilising our lives. From the overabundance of information that inspires incontinent thinking, to the storming of Area 51 and the bizarre rumours about the MMR jab, the […]

Fire Festival!

No post today – autumn is being celebrated across Southern Europe with fire festivals, and I’m off to one. Back in a day or so. Two words; Dragon breasts.  

Which Witch?

Today’s story proves that I don’t make up my stories. Don’t you hate it when people thrust flyers at you outside the station? When I come out of the tube at King’s Cross I get energy drink samples, magazines, mad stuff about Jesus and requests for cash. When I come out of the underground station […]

Life Without A Phone

Lily Tomlin once said, ‘New York is always knowing where your wallet is.’ It’s true of all big cities, and longtime residents tend to stay out of trouble not just because of what they know but how they look and which areas they wander into. When a couple I know recently visited from Australia for […]

Cadiz Diary

I’m back in London, which feels hotter than Cadiz thanks to high humidity. The big surprise was finding Africa’s closest neighbour pleasantly warm by day and cold at night. The streets are striated by cross-breezes that also allow for spectacular light effects, especially when it starts to get dark at 10pm. My US friends struggled […]

It Was A Hoot

We decided to stay on a few days in Cadiz; it was cooler than London or Paris (which is apparently hotter than Death Valley). So, straight into the Sixth Extinction with Trump, Johnson and the rest of the deranged madmen now running the world. Next year, 60 other Indian cities follow Chennai into a waterless […]

Stranger In The South

My former agent lived in a small town called Gaucin in Southern Spain, and from her window you could see the coast, the rock of Gibraltar and beyond to Africa (she’s in my short story ‘The Caterpillar Flag’). I’ve arrived in the ‘island’ town of Cadiz, a place I’ve visited a couple of times before […]