Image show Mata Hari – Nude Dancer, Spy, Existentialist

Mata Hari – Nude Dancer, Spy, Existentialist

Mata Hari is famous for three things: nude dancing, spying and being shot by firing squad. Born in 1876 in Holland, Margaretha Geertruida Zelle came from a wealthy family and was removed from her élite school when the headmaster was caught flirting with her – her fault, naturally. At 18, she married Rudolf MacLeod, a […]

I Can’t Breathe the Corruptible Seed

I can’t breathe. I mean I really can’t breathe. I feel as if someone’s knee is pressing down on my windpipe. Pushing the air from my lungs. Snuffing me out like a candle. Sometimes I feel like crying for no reason. But there is a reason. I want to cry for all the things that […]

Image shows book transforming into a woman with that sense of having arrived

That Sense of Having Arrived

It was a feeling hard to put into words, that sense of having arrived, perhaps. It was like opening a locked box and letting all the dead air out. Or going to bed in one place and waking in another. It was the summer of 1990. Sam Roxburgh and his wife Rosaleen were having one […]

George Osborne, Boris Johnson and David Cameron dressed in Bullingdon Club tailcoats.

Rules of the Bullingdon Club

  The Rules of the Bullingdon Club are simple. You must be: Rich Posh Sociopathic Misogynistic Secretive Well-tailored The Bullingdon Club is for wealthy young men at Oxford University who, it is said, burn £50 notes in front of beggars as part of the initiation ceremony and trash restaurants and public houses after elaborate dinners– […]

Photograph of Prince Charles reading a book, possibly Sex, Surrealism, Dali and Me.

Prince Charles and the Lost Copyright

Has Prince Charles read Sex, Surrealism, Dali and Me? Seeing how he was for a brief time the copyright owner, I rather like to think that he has and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I wrote ‘Sex, Surrealism, Dali and Me’ long before I became cynical and had the rare pleasure of reading the translated version in Spanish […]

sunflowers painted by van-gogh

The Secret Life of Sunflowers

On Monday I bought two sunflowers at the market and planted them in a pot outside our house. Everyone who passes sees their smiling yellow faces and smiles back. Sunflowers know the secret of life is to follow the sun. The Sun God Apollo once fell in love with a water nymph named Clytie. When his […]

creating great characters is like sculpting a figure from clay

Great Characters come from the Genes of the Writer

Great characters aren’t created. They are born from the genes of the writer: the writer’s passions and experience, desires and obsessions, that oil-and-water blend of self-confidence and self-doubt every writer carries.  Beating in the chests of great characters are big hearts, genuine concerns and fatal flaws. They may set out on the wrong path, but […]

quotation one writing first paragraphs by Hunter J Thompson

From the First to the Last Paragraph

I have put off writing this piece for some time because I couldn’t think of a first paragraph. In this I detect a common dilemma. Reading through a collection of short stories recently, I realised that several were rather good – except for the first paragraph, the one sculpted to such perfection they said nothing […]

Matt Hancock with Gina Coladangelo

Hancock Lies Unzipped by a Kiss

It’s enough to make you laugh. Or cry. Or throw up. Health Secretary Matt Hancock lies to the public over serious life and death issues and resigns after getting caught in a kiss. Hancock caused the unnecessary deaths of many thousands of elderly people by sending them from hospitals back to nursing homes with Covid. […]

Boris Johnson posing with his team in the Eton ball game

There is Only One Rule in the Eton Wall Game

David Cameron dropped the ball and Boris Johnson scrambled it out of the scrum with a series of feints, dodges and subterfuges. There is only one rule in the Eton Wall Game and only Old Etonians know what it is. The Eton Wall Game is only played at Eton, the poshest school in the world. The purported purpose of […]