...the beasts are chained and subdued, serenaded by a man playing one of four pianos rising from the sand like stranded ships...
I am in a library full of writers. An exclusive audience of around 15 men, seated across from me on hard chairs, are scrutinising my memoir, All The Time We Thought We Had. There is an expectant buzz in the air but the tone on both sides is respectful throughout. They ask the kind of … Continue reading Time inside
We’ve been sitting at this table for two hours and 37 minutes and already I know this date won’t end well. You have been agreeable company, even if you dwelled a little too long on the torturous break-up with your ex. The food has been a delight – vibrant, spicy and not so abundant that … Continue reading The Ring
One of my most memorable escapades in journalism was interviewing one of the quintet of Italian writers who go by the collective name of the Wu Ming Foundation for The Herald. At one point I asked, playfully, if they deliberately chose titles for their books that were untranslatable – such as Q and Manituana. I … Continue reading Neologicasm, or the joy of making up words
Here’s a list of Father’s Day presents, culled at random from the internet: drones, ties, DIY tools, thermos flasks, ties, home brew sets, wireless speakers. All of them, to a greater or lesser extent, underline the image of the man of the house as someone whose natural environment is outside the house, whether it’s in … Continue reading Let’s ditch the sexist myth of the hapless male
2018 is going to be publication year. I ought to be excited. I should probably be ecstatic. For around a decade 'have something published' headed my list of new year's resolutions with the grinding recurrence of a Cliff Richard Christmas single. And now it's actually happening, and my primary feeling is apprehension. At the risk … Continue reading My first publication year
Since the protective cocoon around Harvey Weinstein started to crumble a few weeks ago I've been following the #metoo hashtag on Twitter with mixed emotions. Specifically a blend of horror, shock, disgust, bewilderment, helplessness and dismay. Some people have berated men for our deafening collective silence on the issue, but I'd argue that this is … Continue reading The Weinstein spectrum
Photo by Axel Hindemith via Wikipedia, September 2007 Theo Jansen, whose work I was lucky enough to see taking a stroll on The Hague's south beach this afternoon, has an interesting theory about the evolution of his Strandbeesten. The sight of Jansen striding up the beach, dragging his whirling plastic contraption and a swarm of curious onlookers … Continue reading Evolution and the Strandbeest
I'm delighted to announce that my memoir, All The Time We Thought We Had, will be published by Birlinn, provisionally in the spring of 2018. What's it about? In the first place it's the story of how Magteld died of breast cancer in 2014, within two years of first being diagnosed. It's about how our … Continue reading Announcement
At the end of a year dominated by the politics of fear and division, a few bold individuals resolved to speak up for the values of solidarity and compassion. Here are the words of one of them: “Even with the inspiration of others, it’s understandable that we sometimes think the world’s problems are so big … Continue reading After 2016, whither democracy?