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The coast of Hisperica

i.m. Umberto Eco (1932-2016)

This frothing sea surrounds the world
and beats earth’s borders with its rushing waves.
Its storm-wall slams the rocky foreshore,
ploughs the bed with thumping crests,
strewing shingled foam in starry furrows,
ever-shaken by its thunderous blast.

The Evensong at the End of the World

On singing evensong for Candlemas, in Stanley Cathedral.

For The Critic

Quarantined in the Falkland Islands: 2

The saga continues.

For The Critic

Crashed and Burnsed

On giving a poetically bad speech to the Caledonian Society of Sri Lanka, at the Galle Literary Festival.

For The Critic

Quarantined in the Falkland Islands: 1

From South Asia to the South Atlantic, in the time of Covid.

For The Critic

My daughter conjugates the verb ‘to spy’

i.m. John le Carré (1931-2020)

I spy
You spew
He/she/Pierre Spies

We (Graf) Spee
You Spanx®
They spunk

Bookselling: my part in its downfall

Some thoughts on my brief time at Waterstone’s, along with a review of Shaun Bythell’s Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops.

For The Critic

His race is run

On the late Ben Cross, Harold Abrahams, and the impact Chariots of Fire had on me as a 10-year-old boy.

For The Critic

None shall sleep

A Toscca seminar on potential catastrophe in the Caucasus.

For The Critic


The Paris Louvre is in future to be guarded by watch-dogs.

The Nelson Evening Mail, Monday, July 13 1908

A gold coin celebrating the assassination of Julius Caesar has been auctioned for more than $3m dollars.

50% of a man’s hair is gone before it becomes noticeable.

Good socialists need not refuse a good cigar if it is offered them.

Sri Lanka has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

The suspension of Jeremy Corbyn is a factional attack that has undermined the fight against antisemitism.

Esperanto was created by Doktoro Esperanto.

South Yorkshire Police Operations Complex is on Letsby Avenue.

A gun is 22 times more likely to be used on yourself or a family member than on a home invader.

Sweden has increased its military budget by 40%.

The Democrats are taking quite a lead all over.

Many Indians have arranged-cum-love marriages.

Oreo have built a doomsday vault to protect their cookies from an asteroid.

The boulder is the truth that great men know by instinct. The mountain is the stupidity of mankind.