We Shall Pass

We Shall Pass is a novel set during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), my statement as a writer, the book I’d like to be remembered for. I started researching and writing notes for We Shall Pass twenty years ago. I travelled to the battle sites across Spain, read the history from both sides and worked […]

The Bourgeoisie Stole Dali’s Toilet Seat

Salvador Dalí was a work of art, his own masterpiece. ‘I work seventeen hours a day,’ he cried. ‘The measure of my genius is the size of the hole I perforate in abstract matter.’  He didn’t believe in inspiration. ‘It is the obsession of repetition the Gods take note of.’ Routine was the watchword and he […]

Bob Dylan’s Secrets of Success

Success is illusive, fragile, hard to pin down, describe or quantify. Bob Dylan said, ‘A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.’ The hard part is knowing exactly what you want to do and whether […]

Hunger is a Political Weapon

Allowing school children to go hungry is immoral, disgraceful, a political strategy. A weapon of war. ‘More than four million children in Britain are growing up in poverty,’ according to Louise Tickle, The Guardian, February 2020. ‘Levels of food insecurity in Britain are among the highest in Europe.’ Hunger scars you for life. People too […]

Insight, Intuition, Observation, Magic…and a good Agent

Sancho Obregón is a devoted reader. Mauricio Obregón, his father, was a devoted writer. Of these two bibliophiles, I have reason to believe that it is Sancho who has found the most pleasure from the world of books. To take a step back in time, I had just published my second biography – the memoirs […]

No one knows why we do it and when we’ve done it, nobody wants it

A friend of mine recently quit copywriting to write a screenplay. Within days he was phoning to chat about migraine and insomnia; his attraction to cliff tops and razor blades. Suddenly he’s fighting with his girlfriend – her fault – arrives late for appointments, drinks too much or, alternatively, claims he no longer drinks at […]

The Importance of Being Liberal

  A liberal is open minded, understands the benefits of debate and compromise, and is tolerant of people with opposing views. A liberal believes in the democratic system of interconnected institutions designed to limit the excesses of power. They trust in the system where those intent on undermining democracy – populists, nationalists, neo-fascists, neo-communists – have […]

No Danger at Margate Pier

  One day I got a call at the office from Ricky Fisher. ‘Alright, Cliff? How’s it going? Listen, I’ve got a scoop for you? You interested?’ ‘Always interested.’ ‘I’ll pick up in ten minutes,’ he said, and hung up. I told Reg Foster, the chief reporter, that a ‘contact’ had called with a story […]

My Dad Wasn’t A Patriot

On Easter Friday when I was young, my dad would drag me out of bed early and drive to a bakery in Tottenham where he has gone with his dad as a boy. The bakery had green and cream tiles like a railway waiting room and must have been even older than the bakers who […]

The Meaning of Love

When you remove love from sex you enter a mansion with many rooms shaded in nuance and excess, an invitation to peel away all conventions and programming. A chance to explore your hidden self. You shed something and clothe yourself in something else. Sex is the greatest of gifts, orgasm a glimpse of perfection. When […]