It Came From Behind The Shelf No.1

A new occasional series about the things I find down the backs of my bookshelves. We have a ridiculously minimalist home but there are still oddities tucked away and forgotten about behind the books. I have no recollection of where this came from. It’s one of the oldest books I own, an English dictionary from […]

Why Words Make Me Cross

Okay, I’ve a confession to make. I spend my life being creative with the English language, and I can’t, for the life of me, do word games – and this is the time of the year when they all come out. I stare at a crossword until my eyes drop out and fail to understand […]

The Speed Of Words

Last night I went to the 25th anniversary party for indie publisher Serpent’s Tail, appropriately held in Shoreditch’s Book Club, and was talking to Jake Arnott about different writing methods. On the way home, I started wondering why film and books have diverged so radically. If you’ve tried to watch a comedy from the eighties […]

Words We Should Bring Back

‘Stingo’ is an 18th century expression for strong beer brewed in the back of a pub. It’s a word that’s come back from the dead. An ‘Antimacassar’ is the cloth that hangs on the back of an armchair to stop Macassar oil from marking the plush. ‘Secability’ meant it was cutable. ‘Molrowing’ was hanging out […]