Bob Dylan and the Judas Call

Bob Dylan and the Judas call are legend. What’s less well known is that this seminal moment in rock history had roots going back to the Peterloo Massacre in 1819. They sat there not knowing what to expect. The atmosphere was tense – one fan described it as ‘electric.’ He’d seen amplifiers and a drum […]

WAITING FOR SOMETHING

Everyone is waiting for something. Waiting for the kettle to boil, the rain to stop, the sun to come out. Everyone is waiting to clear their closets, their broken memories, their heads full of cynicism, the nagging fear that time is running out and it’s only just begun. Everyone is waiting for something and we’re […]

CADAQUÉS AND THE BATTLE OF LEPANTO

On a day with fast winds and the sun low in the sky, 450 warships clashed in bloody combat in the Battle of Lepanto. It was 7 October 1571, the last major sea battle fought almost entirely between rowing vessels. Moving westward from the navy base in the Gulf of Corinth, the fleet of the Ottoman […]

THE TOBACCO SMUGGLERS OF CADAQUÉS

The tobacco smugglers of Cadaqués saved the village from poverty and abandonment after the wine louse phylloxera wiped out the vineyards. In the right circumstances, tobacco is good for your health. The stuff has been chewed, sniffed and smoked since man discovered fire and was finally able to light up. American tribes carried the brown […]

WHY PEOPLE HATE THE DAILY MAIL

There are many reasons why people hate the Daily Mail – reflecting the fact that the Daily Mail is itself filled with hate.  The Mail hates everything: foreigners, migrants, judges, the myopic middle-class who drag themselves up the greasy pole and are made to feel as if they still don’t belong – where or to […]

THE SMELL OF DEAD DREAMS

We take flowers to the hospital when we visit the sick and dying without reflecting on the irony that cut flowers are already dead and their scent is to shield us from the smell of dead dreams.  We see on our death bed, not our whole life flashing before us – as with a drowning […]

I SHALL BE RELEASED

When Bob Dylan in 1967 recorded I Shall Be Released in the basement of the Big Pink, a house rented by Rick Danko close to Woodstock, the title was elegiac and had a double meaning, naturally. The previous summer, on the night of 29 July 1966, Bob almost faced his maker when he skidded off […]

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG

How do you measure the distance between right and wrong? Does it vary like the moon’s distance from earth? Or is it exact like Einstein’s E = mc2? Can you be a little bit wrong? Or almost right? Big Brother’s Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s 1984 convinced the oppressed that 2+2=5 and did so in […]

A PERSONAL LIBRARY

Umberto Eco (1932-2016) – the Italian philosopher and novelist, author of The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum – had a personal library of 50,000 books. He thought of books as medication, each volume appropriate to different ailments, moods and moments of ennui. He said: ‘Those who buy only one book, read only that one […]

HOW TO BE HAPPIER

We would all like to know how to be happier and the answer may be a lot more simple than we thought. I typed ‘how to be happier’ into Google and in 0.43 seconds received 228 million listings. Give each one two minutes and it will take almost a year (reading 24/7) to read them […]

YOUR NAME BECOMES WHO YOU ARE

In my research into the name Thurlow, it occurred to me that your name becomes who you are and has a far stronger influence on our lives than we imagine. An article published in Psychology Today shows that people have stereotypical views of others based on their names. Names can reveal cultural values and locations […]

LADY GODIVA AND PEEPING TOM

Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom had an assumed or telepathic pact. When she rode naked through Coventry in the 11th century, had the hot bloodied young Tom not taken a peep, her theatrics may have been a complete flop. The money grubber Lord Godiva had hiked up the rents paid by the impoverished tenants on […]

KILLING A SWAN

Killing a swan was once considered an act of treason and still today you can end up with a large fine, even a prison sentence. I didn’t know that when I was 14 and didn’t know that summer day in the school holidays that I would be killing a swan. There were four of us […]

HOW TO STEAL AN ELECTION

With time running out for Rishi Sunak before the next general election, the Tories are frantically flipping through the playbook on how to steal an election. Sunak’s first dodgy stratagem is bringing in photo IDs, which could disenfranchise as many as two million people. The best form of identity is a passport or driving licence. […]

THE ARCTIC CONVOYS TO RUSSIA

Winston Churchill was piped aboard HMS Tyne and dad after hearing him nightly on the wireless got a glimpse of their wartime leader in person. It was August 1942 and Gunner Thurlow was among the several hundred sailors expecting the pep talk to confirm the rumour that the Arctic convoys to Russia were about to […]

DALI, DISNEY, DESTINO AND PINK FLOYD

A YouTube user calling himself BigDaddyAEL1964 saw the Dalí/Disney film Destino and what came to his mind was Time by Pink Floyd. It was a stroke of genius. Salvador Dalí met Walt Disney in 1945 and both knew on instinct that they had to collaborate on a project. That project was Destino, the story of a […]

THE MYSTERY OF THE MONA LISA SMILE

The mystery of the Mona Lisa smile is that the mystery has finally been solved. Lisa del Giocondo is amused watching Leonardo da Vinci’s head pop out from behind the easel as he paints her portrait and smiles that illusive smile. ‘Yes, yes, lovely, dear. Keep your head still. Don’t move your lips…’ ‘I’ll try […]