The Weird Thing About Patriotism

Last night as I stood above the Baie Des Anges watching the festivities for Bastille Day, the music swelled, the sky filled with colour and a pride swelled within my breast. There was only one thing wrong. I’m not French. Although I generally disapprove of the concept of patriotism – especially when it’s combined with […]

Jumping The Thames

That’s stunt rider Robbie Maddison doing a backflip on his motorbike over the opened Tower Bridge just before 3:00am. If he’d gone in, no-one would have found him as the tide moves three times faster than any swimmer.

Three More I Couldn’t Finish

Interesting to see what we can and or will not read. Somebody mentioned Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (sorry, my erratic internet connection here deleted the post) but I persevered and ultimately loved it. However, the three above nearly killed me. Dave Eggars has an ego and a playful post-modernism that shines through his prose, […]

When Do You Give Up On A Book?

Most of my holiday bag is taken up with books. This week I’ve read three; Memoirs Of A Master Forger by ‘William Heaney’, Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup and Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. The first two are easy reads. ‘William Heaney’ is in fact Graham Joyce, a wonderful writer who deserves to be more […]

How To Chop Up A Chicken

I love this guy. In 90 seconds he’ll show you how to carve a roast, and it’s so obvious when you see him do it. (You don’t need to speak French to follow this or any of his other clips from Atelier Des Chefs).

Author With A Happy Ending

Some while back I wrote about trying to track down the author of a wonderful book. She subsequently wrote to me, explained why I had been unable to trace her, and invited me to her home in Spittalfields (the full story features in an upcoming article in The Times). Polly Hope is a visual designer […]

London Oddities: The St Pancras Caryatids

These days the neglected and rather unlovely St Pancras Church on London’s Euston Road is barely noticed by commuters heading to work, but there’s a peculiar story attached to it. Supposedly, when the four great caryatids were delivered, it was found that they were too tall to fit into their spaces. The statues were delivered […]

How Weddings Change

I was just doing some research on weddings for a Bryant & May short story, and saw a piece about the couple that got married in zero gravity. It made me think about how much ceremonies have changed in a very short time – they’re a lot more enjoyable now. Having recently had my anniversary […]

Holiday Special: Roger Roger Ready For Takeoff!

I love Easyjet as much as I hate Ryanair. As a regular traveller I find Easyjet staff generally brilliant – they’ve got me onto flights after they’ve shut, and bailed me out in dire situations. It’s a shame I have to pass through the fat farm/ shopping mall that is Luton Airport, where the retail […]

London Pubs: The Old Bell Tavern

This modest Fleet Street boozer was built in the 1670’s for the workmen and masons who rebuilt Wren’s St. Brides Church after it was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. Fleet Street became synonymous with printing and newspapers. Most of Britain’s daily’s were printed here until the 1970’s & 80’s when the […]