Observatory

To Stay Or To Go?

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My partner says he never heard the word ‘inside’ used to mean at home before he came to the UK. It’s true, we grew up thinking of us as being at home and everyone else as foreign. I blame the Victorians. I arrived back in Barcelona feeling virus-filled and exhausted, but after watching people in […]

Captain America VS A Real Story

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The other day we went to the flicks and saw ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’ (it’s not all art house round here, you know),. We knew it would employ Hollywood’s main two modes, violence and sentiment, but it was quite enjoyable in its own way. However, it set me thinking. Hollywood is the only cinema in […]

Gay Marriage Legal, Flooding Expected

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Gay marriage became legal in England and Wales yesterday, so that Christian Bed & Breakfast in Cornwall is probably now the only place in Britain not to be hit by typhoons, floods and rains of locusts, after a UKIP councillor reckoned that gay people caused severe weather patterns (something complicated to do with ‘God’s wrath’). […]

A Nation Of Creative Shopkeepers

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“L’Angleterre est une nation de boutiquiers.” —Napoleon I I always thought that perhaps Napoleon was right. Certainly, finishing JB Priestley’s marvellous London novel ‘Angel Pavement’, you get the feeling that it’s not just what we did best but what we most enjoyed. The book is peppered with individual characters thinking and behaving like shopkeepers. One […]

Can Sleep Improve Creativity?

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A lack of good quality sleep  stymies creative thought. When I was 41 I nearly died, and as a result I suffered a bout of  depression. All I remember about that summer was that I slept through it. When I emerged I went into creative overdrive, writing drafts for four books and half a dozen […]

Library Humour

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Any further examples?

Are Jeremy Clarkson and Nigel Farrage the Same Person?

You never see them together, do you, even though they believe in the same stupid things. I’m just saying.

Music While You Work?

  Does reading or writing require total silence, or is it helped by music? There are albums you’re meant to play to unborn children or when you’re studying that are supposed to help you relax or increase concentration, but there’s no scientific basis for that. It’s mainly a question of preference. I always play music […]

The Grand & Secret Pleasures Of Being Deeply Unfashionable

  Never be fashionable – it has no future. It’s true that I once wrote zeitgeist novels. They were out of date within hours of publication. After I’d got over this absurd idea of reflecting fashion (remembering that books take a year to appear, at least, two if they’re in hardback first) I discovered my […]

The HBO Of Manchester

I know this site is London-centric, so today let’s broaden the subject matter. Granada Television has often been described as the best television company in the world, with good reason. Founded in 1930 by Sidney Bernstein and his brother Cecil and began serving Manchester and the North West of England in 1954, when it quickly became […]