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?
“We cannot cope alone,” wrote George Monbiot in his essay on the age of loneliness, published in The Guardian two years ago. Human beings are social animals: we crave the support, approval and love of like-minded individuals. But society in the last 50 years has become steadily more atomised, with a relentless focus on individual success. … Continue reading Loneliness: the secret circle of hell
It seems ridiculous now, but there was a time when every date you went on carried the risk of the other person not showing up. In other words, you’d be stood up. Nowadays when your date doesn’t appear you summon your pocket djinn, dispatch a message demanding to know where the hell they are, and … Continue reading Chippings from the quarry #4: Stood up
Have two years really gone by, my love? When I think of us together it seems like five minutes ago and another time zone at once, as if I'm watching a live television broadcast from the medieval era. I look through a telescope in search of you, but all I see is flickering lights. Are … Continue reading Above and beyond
In one of my first letters from Magteld, a couple of months after we met, she asked when my birthday was. The missive arrived on August 31st, the morning after my 19th birthday, so I was recovering from a late night in a campsite bar swilling cheap Italian lager by the bottle. She told me hers was March … Continue reading Birthdays
It took me several years to get David Bowie. Even now I'm not sure I do. Perhaps because my teenage years in the late eighties coincided with a lean period in his career (between China Girl and Tin Machine), or because the gaudy otherworldliness of Ziggy Stardust seemed almost calculated to alienate an achingly self-conscious … Continue reading Bowie
A year ago I welcomed 2014, with a mix of hope and trepidation, at our home in Glasgow. We had returned the day before from spending Christmas in Norfolk with my parents and our attention now turned to our prospects for the impending year. On Hogmanay a young couple came to view our house, which … Continue reading Retrospective
I came across this summary of grief recently in an interview with the Dutch poet Pieter Boskma: “Immediately after the death of a loved one, grief is a kind of friend: so long as the grief is there, the departed is still close by. Your grief connects you with him or her. Later on grief becomes an enemy … Continue reading Intimacy
What would she think of us, I often wonder, as we meander through our daily routine. Get up; shower; breakfast; boys get dressed as I make the sandwiches and pack the school bags. A rota in the kitchen keeps me straight on what gym kit is needed. Then brush teeth, climb on the bikes and … Continue reading What would she think of us?