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ASH Smyth FRGS is a writer and journalist with a BA in Egyptology, a Master’s in Intelligence & International Security and a 50% share in a book on WS Gilbert’s ‘Little List’. Between writing on morris dancing for The Spectator and Zambian aid economics for Prospect he has found work as an English teacher, a builder of refrigerated fruit-barns, a Gentleman-extra-Ordinary at Hampton Court Chapel Royal, a soldier (Tuesday evenings), an alternative-fashion model, and a composer of tribute poems to Wendy Cope.

Paul McCartney has called him ‘a cheapskate’, and Tokyo Sexwale ‘Chief’. Desmond Tutu once said he looked ‘cherubic’, and Ranulph Fiennes tried to kill him in a branch of Blackwell’s.

ASH Smyth is a founder-member of Robert Twigger’s (virtual) polymath society, the Principal of Colombo’s No School Rules drinking society for disgruntled teachers, and host of a website dedicated to the maintenance and dissemination of the word ‘shenanigans’. He has delivered lectures to the Royal Geographical Society (on Jaffna), to the Caledonian Society of Sri Lanka (on William McGonagall), and to the Tonbridge Lions Club (on himself). Sometimes he reads The Sun onto tape for the blind.

He formerly co-edited The Lizard Magazine (with Dominic Hilton), and is now Associate Editor of Ink, a Sri Lankan arts-and-culture magazine. He also writes ‘theASHtray’ (you see what they’ve done there), a weekly column for

ASH Smyth blogs at The Wordsmyth, and can be found Twittering @ASH_Smyth.