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Oh Jackie!

As a young man, I’m not quite sure why, I confess that found Jackie Kennedy (later Onassis) strangely attractive in a sexual sense. I suspect my devotion may have been borne of a sense of human compassion and sympathy for her in respect of JFK’s philandering nature and assassination, perhaps [...]

May 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Here, m’Dear …

Back in the Dark Ages of the 20th Century, simply for our own enjoyment, some pals and I spent a proportion of our leisure time producing nakedly self-indulgent sports magazines – the first devoted exclusively to boxing and the second attempting to broaden our unique approach to all sports that [...]

May 22, 2014 // 0 Comments

The Prime Ministers by Yehuda Avner

Yehuda Avner was advisor, speech writer and note taken for Israeli Prime Ministers Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin. This is a fascinating account of each and provides a essential insight into Israeli politics and diplomacy. As he took  the notes  of many a decisive [...]

May 14, 2014 // 0 Comments

Coming up on the rails

Much is made these days of the theme that modern youngsters are turned off books by the eternal march of new technology. We are told that social media, Twitter, Facebook, computer games and the fast-moving, busy, nature of life today have resulted in people being able to relate to the world only in [...]

May 3, 2014 // 0 Comments

Great Lives/Arnold Bennett

Much as I criticise the BBC, I do consider that their arts broadcasting on Radio 4 are of high quality and worth the licence fee alone. Saturday Review presented by Tom Sutcliffe and Front Row are consistent in their critiques. Another programme I enjoy is Great Lives, presented by former Tory [...]

April 30, 2014 // 0 Comments

What’s the bloody point of it all?

After reading Keith Lowe’s review of a new book War: What Is It Good For? by Ian Morris, I cannot help reflecting – against the raft of 21st Century conflicts and crises such as that now unfolding in the Ukraine – that maybe the concept of Western-style democracy is little more than [...]

April 26, 2014 // 0 Comments

The Crooked Maid by Dan Vyleta

Dan Vyleta has acquired quite a reputation, which he has done much to foster by comparing his latest novel to Dostoevsky and Dickens. I was initially excited by the thought of a novel set in Vienna in 1948. I have never visited Vienna but I feel I know it well. Weaned on Graham Greene’s The [...]

April 12, 2014 // 0 Comments

A Good Read

A Good Read is one of my favourite book programmes. Originally Sue McGregor presented this. She is a consummate broadcaster. Now the more bookish Harriet Gilbert is at the helm. The idea is that 2 personalities make their suggestions of a Good Read alongside Harriet Gilbert. It’s a rich [...]

February 26, 2014 // 0 Comments

Creative writing in Canary Wharf

An old school friend of mine who dabbles with book reviewing married, second time round, a banker from JP Morgan. Over dinner a few months ago I brought up one of my hobby horses – the distance from the written literary written word in the world of texting and tweeting. My argument is that [...]

February 22, 2014 // 0 Comments

Stand to, chaps!

The opening salvos in the major campaign to mark – we mustn’t say ‘celebrate’ – the centenary of WW1 are about to begin. Yesterday I had business to attend to in central London. After I had returned home, I relaxed by reading another passage of Max Hastings’ Catastrophe – [...]

January 25, 2014 // 0 Comments

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