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Food for thought

Two aspects of modern life that reoccur in most people’s reflections upon modern life are: Firstly, the various ways we acquire knowledge, keep in touch with what is happening around us and across the world and choose to spend those proportions of our free leisure (or non-working) time that are [...]

August 26, 2018 // 0 Comments

A woman ahead of her time

Dorothy Parker – writer, critic, poet and celebrated wit – died fifty years ago this month. In the 20th Century decades when men were men and women supposedly knew their place, she was one of those females quite capable of holding her own against all-comers irrespective of any sexism or [...]

June 16, 2017 // 0 Comments

Some celebrations are always worth it

With the celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare now flowering into their full majesty, I suspect there are millions of literary and theatrical philistines around the world like me who going to enjoy and benefit enormously from the surfeit of media articles, [...]

April 18, 2016 // 0 Comments

Because it’s there (not because it pays)

Sometimes, when you’re casting around for something to blog about, you can receive a helping hand from a traditional media outlet or vehicle. Today this happened for me when I came upon a blog by Ros Barber that appears today upon the website of The Guardian, giving her opinion on the experience [...]

March 22, 2016 // 0 Comments

There was a young man from Cambridge …

Whatever our background, interests, intelligence or sensibilities, we all love things that are clever, witty or bring a smile. Here’s a piece by Robert McCrum on librettist/playwright Ranjit Bolt, who has recently turned his hand to writing limericks, that appears today on the website of [...]

November 22, 2015 // 0 Comments

A blast from the past

These days it is often considered that the word ‘genius’ [broadly defined in most dictionaries as ‘an exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability … (or perhaps exceptional skill in a particular area of activity)’] is over-used. For example, and exaggerating to make [...]

August 25, 2015 // 0 Comments

Observation and insights

For some time now, the world has been aware that Clive James – Australian author, columnist, television and book reviewer, lyricist and poet – is terminally ill. I have been an admirer of his from the days long ago when he made his name in Britain as The Observer’s television critic and [...]

August 6, 2014 // 0 Comments

From the vaults of time

For my formal debut as Poetry Editor, I have decided to go back in history to what – in my humble opinion – has now become a ‘lost classic’, due entirely to my inability to remember its full extent. History is littered with strange originations of verse and poetry, none perhaps more strange [...]

December 13, 2013 // 0 Comments


I confess for my sins that I spent last night relaxing in front of what I regard as television at its best: undemanding pap for weary brain cells. Halfway through ‘STRICTLY COME DANCING’ on BBC1 – for yes, that is one programme I watched – presenter Claudia Winkleman introduced a [...]

November 11, 2013 // 0 Comments

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