NEVER TRUST A TORY

Never Trust a Tory is not an unreasonable attack, fake news, a cliché. It is an incontrovertible fact that takes us back to 1979 and Mrs Thatcher’s assault on society – which, she said, did not exist. With her close adviser Nicholas Ridley, Mrs Thatcher agreed to a strategy to abolish the NHS that became known […]

THE SECOND SEX MORE RELEVANT THAN EVER

With their bonnets and frills, slender legs and empty smiles, Queen Letizia of Spain and the Duchess of Cambridge are the poster girls for the second sex. The ideals of equality and emancipation women have struggled to achieve for centuries is swept away like a handful of dust every time they slip into their stilettos […]

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES

Writers are prone to suicidal tendencies. In fact, more than other creatives, the man and woman of letters is ’10 to 20 times more likely than his contemporaries to suffer manic depression.’ If you want to cheer yourself up, you can read all about it in Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, by Kay […]

HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT WORD

If you want to find the right word, stop looking. It will find you. Words don’t like being prodded about. They want to be left alone. They mingle in dusty corners, conspiring to keep the lost word hidden. They appear – when they appear – like the evening primrose that blooms in the dark when […]

MARQUIS de SADE – LIFE OF DEBAUCHERY

The Marquis de Sade plucked reluctant virgins, debauched serving girls, beat his wife, practised sodomy and wrote stories featuring rape, incest, necrophilia, torture and bestiality. He was also a war hero, lent his name to the word sadism and practically invented the erotic genre. More two hundred years after his death in 1814, the Marquis de […]

MESSAGE FOR THE RED WALL

This is a message for the red wall voters who chose Brexit in the Referendum and Boris Johnson in the General Election: You’ve been: lied to conned cheated treated like fools You chose Brexit to take back control and lost what little control you had – the freedom to live, work and start a business abroad; […]

THE BOMBING OF GUERNICA 

The bombing of Guernica on 26 April 1937 wiped the small Basque town off the map. The outrage inspired Picasso’s painting Guernica, one of mankind’s greatest pieces of art, and has been replicated through March of 2022 by Vladimir Putin’s persistent air strikes on Mariupol.  The attack on Guernica, an undefended town of 7,000 people, […]

AN INCONSOLABLE LONGING

People carry in their hearts an inconsolable longing for something and they are never quite sure what it is. Most people’s lives go on as if they have no choice because they have no choice. Choice is the province of the privileged and daring. Most of us are neither. We have jobs, families, fears and responsibilities. […]

Bob Dylan Has Something To Say 

Some critics say Bob Dylan does not have a great vocal range. Others complain that his arrangements are more discordant than one hundred drummers whose hands are a-blazing. They miss the point. Bob Dylan has something to say. When the mise en scène is a perfect Ming vase of stage sets, props, costumes, lighting and production, you […]

Liars Rule the World

Boris Johnson is a liar. Donald Trump is a liar; famous for lying. Vladimir Putin is a liar. Liars rule the world.  Johnson is one of those liars who lies even when it is not necessary to do so. He lies because lies gush from him like water from the cistern when you pull the […]

There is such a thing as society

When Margaret Thatcher said there is no such thing as society, she was expressing the libertarian view that we are in the jungle and it is every man for himself. What is a libertarian? And why is it always so dangerous? Wikipedia: ‘Libertarians seek to maximise autonomy and political freedom, and minimise the state; emphasising free […]

Ed Sheeran Revives Masters of War

As the death planes drop bombs on the hospitals of Ukraine and the young people’s blood flows out of their bodies and is buried in the mud, Ed Sheeran’s new recording of Masters of War is a prayer for peace and a homage to Bob Dylan’s original written sixty years ago in 1962. Like Dylan, Sheeran […]

Nothing Means Anything

If nothing means anything, what’s the point – in anything? Love, hope, dreams, desire, satisfaction, having babies – existence? This was the conundrum Albert Camus wrestled with after the mass slaughter of the Second World War when Europe lay in ruins and the future carried a sell by date. Post-war writers rejected the notion of […]

Boris Johnson and the Lord of Siberia

On the 19th of November 2020, the Lord of Siberia, Evgeny Alexandrovich Lebedev, the son of a former KGB officer, took his seat in the House of Lords as a crossbench peer. Like all those unelected lords, ladies, earls and dukes, he will for the rest of his life be able to voice his opinion […]

Reading Makes You Happy

Reading makes you happy. In fact, reading keeps you healthy, open, energised and helps you get a good night’s sleep.  Oscar Wilde said: ‘If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.’ If Oscar had lived in the age of television he would have […]

The Pied Piper of Hamelin Retold

In the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, the mayor promises a stranger a bag of gold if he can rid the town of a plague of rats. After completing the task, he goes to collect his reward only to find that the mayor has convinced the people, his constituents, that they should now […]

The Need For Kings

People since the beginning of time have felt the need for kings. They need something bigger than themselves. Something outside themselves. Something to look up to and respect. They need a warrior, a leader – someone to make the big decisions for them. God, the king of kings, is invisible. People want to see their […]