Monthly Archives: August 2017

Sing Ho! For The Open Road

Like a lingerie salesman with a suitcase full of samples, the company is sending me out on the road next month. Here are some of the places I’ll be visiting, and I’ll try to keep you abreast of changes, developments as I go. Oct 3 – In conversation with Cathi Unsworth @ Shoreditch House, London […]

The Cruel World Of Comics

Read by any means possible – that’s pretty much always been my motto, and as a child, the cheapest and earliest form of reading was always comics.  A copy of Action Comics #1 from 1938, featuring the first appearance of Superman, sold for a record $3.2 million dollars in 2014. One in poorer condition was […]

Writers Who Click

Recently the Times ran an amusing article on people who remain disinterested in IT, pointing out that 4.8m people in the UK are Neo-Luddites, with no smart phone or access to the internet. Not a very large proportion, and certainly lower than in the US, where 14% of the population doesn’t go online. But as […]

The Museum ‘Experience’

Exhibitions have become central to museum funding. Probably the biggest development in my lifetime was the arrival of Tutankhamun at the British Museum in (I think) 1974, which created a sensation. Where once you visited permanent displays many times and saw occasional loaned-out items, suddenly items that had been impossible to see came to you. […]

Three Reactions To Terrorism

It’s impossible not to comment on this today, as I have managed to be in the three main centres of terrorism most of this summer, London, Paris and Barcelona, and have seen distinct reactions to events. London’s attacks have felt like part of a long ongoing argument with dissenters that stretches back far into the […]

A Message From Our Sponsor (i.e. Me)

In case you think I’ve been taking too much time off to write about tea, let me assure you that I’ve been busy planning the next tranche of books to come your way. First up, on October 5th ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’ launches in the UK. Once there were popular novels almost everyone owned. Mum […]

In Glorious Technicolor: A Century of Film and How it Has Shaped Us

In 1916, US cinemas received instruction on the purpose of film: ‘I stir the blood, I quicken the pulse, I encourage the imagination, I stimulate the young, I comfort and I solace the old and sorrowing…I am the motion picture.’ At this fundamental level, even ‘Transformers 5’ fulfils one part of that brief, but how […]

Two More Teas, Please

The last post clearly sparked something about the ritual of tea, so here are a few further points. As tea featured infamously in Britain’s past (from its key trading position in the Chinese Opium War, when we used it to enslave a populace, to the Boston Tea Party) it remained ubiquitous and cheap. When the […]

Only If You’re Having One

If the British are so obsessed with tea, why are there no hip teashops, only coffee bars? All sorts of theories abound. Coffees can be fancified with complex rituals, from the patterning of froth to the ordering of ‘soy decaf flat white with a side of hot milk and a twist’ variety. (I actually heard […]

I’m A Grown Up, Get Me Out Of Here!

Every morning I climb through the Harry Potter fans who queue to have their photographs taken standing beside a brick wall with a piece of luggage trolley sticking out of it (what is it that makes them all raise their left leg?) and swear never to cut through King’s Cross Station again. Every morning I […]