Writers’ Houses

Mary Tribble writes to me pointing out that Edith Wharton lived in Hyeres, so I visited the house, an astonishing cubist building of immense grace and calm, overlooking the city, the sea and the islands beyond. Sadly the gardens don’t seem to be looked after as carefully as they once were. The house only opens […]

Le Weekend

This weekend I am blogging from the rather lovely medieval town of Hyeres, where it’s insanely, brain-fryingly hot. If you’re here too, say hello!

Good News For London

It seems odd to be pleased when a newspaper folds, but not when it’s The London Paper. The bottom-feeding freesheet has been closed down by Rupert Murdoch after losing money, and will no longer be thrust at commuters by purple-clad vendors. Its contents – tiny articles about TV non-celebrities and drunk singers – took about […]

Bryant & May Novel Becomes Toilet Book

Ian Payne sends me this Foyles receipt for his book purchase. I hope it’s not a criticism on behalf of the sales staff!

There’s Always A Dan Brown

Visitors who stay in my house always leave behind books and sun oil, and there’s always a Dan Brown. The little buggers breed – I have to keep throwing them out. But there has always been a Dan Brown. Recently I read ‘Judas!’ by Peter Van Greenaway, in which the discovery of a Dead Sea […]

3D HE Not OK

Another rash of articles today about 3D films, largely due to the imminent (well, December) arrival of James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’. Journalists are keen to point out that the ‘new 3D’ uses polarised lenses, although actually they’re not that new – they were used for ‘Andy’s Warhol’s Frankenstein’ back in the seventies. But digitised images mean […]

Summer Night Debates

I am here on a starry coastline having dinner with eight old friends, and we should probably be discussing favourite books, but instead the subject turns to the unique peculiarities that separate men and women – and it’s suggested that only men would ever produce a poo so big they would want to proudly show […]

Rocky’s Other Shows

Tea: Opiate Of The English

In a related revelation, Malcolm Cross, a psychologist at City University, London, tested the anxiety levels of a group of people after a stressful situation and found that even a single cup has a significant calming effect. His team gave 42 volunteers a mental arithmetic exam and afterward offered half of them a cup of […]

Autumn Highlights: The IgNobel Prize

The IgNobel Prizes are coming in October. Last years winners for less-than-entirely-enlightening scientific studies included: NUTRITION PRIZE. Massimiliano Zampini of the University of Trento, Italy and Charles Spence of Oxford University, UK, for electronically modifying the sound of a potato chip to make the person chewing the chip believe it to be crisper and fresher […]