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Category Archives: Journalism

NEWS AT A GLANCE

.5 — The Nelson Evening Mail, Thursday, September 6 1906 . Wicca is the fastest-growing religion in the UK after Islam. The Dutch term for a sex buddy is ‘seksbuddy’. George I and his prime minister conversed officially in dog Latin. Irish 6th-formers know what The Communist Manifesto is called. Right-wing New York slumlord Fred C. Trump’s middle [...]

My first Carr

On my personal discovery of eccentric English novelist (and teacher, and artist, and airman, and footballer) JL Carr, the night before what would have been his 108th birthday. – For The Critic

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. In the United States only one about one building in three thousand is even nominally fire-proof. — The Nelson Evening Mail, Thursday, March 14 1907 . Ellis Paz has become the first man in history to be awarded a doctorate by the University of Oxford while wearing just his pants. Matthew Perry once entered a Vanilla Ice lookalike [...]

Strength and honour

A love letter to 20 years of watching Gladiator. – For The Critic

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. One’s past is what one is. It is the only way by which people should be judged. — The Nelson Evening Mail, Wednesday, August 29 1906 . Globalisation is going into reverse. The (great) auk became extinct because he forgot how to fly. Your underpants contain cellulose. In the medieval period, walking through a labyrinth or [...]

May Day, May Day…

A lockdown letter from Colombo. – For The Critic

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. A banker’s license in the United Kingdom costs £30 per annum. — The Nelson Evening Mail, Friday, July 17 1908 . Sri Lanka has only 500 cases of the Coronavirus. Germany has no elite universities. There are a lot of porno videos featuring Scarlett Johansson’s face. Mexico City is a good place to be an [...]

‘Beauty retire’ – or; Some notes on a portrait of Samuel Pepys

The odd (and possibly inconsequential) story of Pepys’s portrait, his song, and his relationship with Mrs Knepp. – For The Critic

Peak fitness: a virtual expedition diary

Climbing a mountain, lest I start climbing the walls In January, I promised a visiting Reservist mate that we’d climb Adam’s Peak. That plan was scotched when, days before he landed, I went down with dengue fever. But I’d done Adam’s Peak before (the first time, Christmas ’04, probably saved my life when the tsunami struck…), and [...]

‘It is the living we should fear’

DISCLAIMER: Ten years ago, I reviewed Shehan Karunatilaka’s debut novel, Chinaman, for this newspaper. It was brilliant, I said, and everyone should buy it. I noted, though, for form’s sake, that I’d done some light proofreading of the manuscript, and hoped that this would not be taken either as cause or symptom of inoperable bias. [...]