Thieves with Snouts in the Trough

John Penrose became the Conservative MP for Weston-super-Mare in 2005. Since 2017, he has served in the Cabinet Office as the government’s Anti-Corruption Minister. His job is to make sure there are no thieves with snouts in the trough. In undeveloped nations and Banana Republics, petty dictators and charismatic popularists funnel juicy government contracts to […]

Straight Glass Drinkers Are Not Amused by Rishi Sunak's budget.

Straight Glass Drinkers Are Not Amused

Straight glass drinkers are not amused, according to a poll carried out in my local. With a pint costing £5 in most pubs, being handed back two copper coins from your fiver is, at best, an inconvenience. Men don’t want wet 1p and 2p coins in their pockets. They want their government to do something […]

Water Companies Have Taken Back Control with image of Boris Johnson on a bike

Water Companies Have Taken Back Control

We are lucky in this country – the best in the world. Now we have taken back control, we can swim in our coastal waters without the fear of immigrants sliding by in packed rubber dinghies. Environmental protection of our shores was overseen by the European Union. That’s all changed. We have taken back control. […]

Cutting Down the Trees and Capitalism

The earliest form of modern capitalism began in 1420 when Portuguese settlers arrived on the island of Madeira in their tall galleons and began cutting down the trees. Spread out before them was a sub-tropical forest with rare species of animals. But what they saw wasn’t an island paradise. They saw an opportunity. They saw […]

Figs are a better aphrodisiac than Spanish Fly

What is Spanish Fly?

They say in Amsterdam you can buy anything – even girls appear semi-clad in shop windows. Smoking cannabis is decriminalised and I was once offered Spanish Fly in a bar in De Wallen by a man wearing an eye patch. ‘It will make your dreams come true,’ he said and winked.  Gabriel García Márquez may have […]

Death and the Maiden - devil creeps into woman's bed

Death and the Maiden

In the story Death and the Maiden, a pretty young woman – innocent, probably a virgin – is seduced by Death, in the shape of a monstrous old man – sometimes with horns, sometimes just a skeleton. The two images capture the yin and yang of all things, all opposites. But, like yin and yang, each […]

Orang-utan typing on a computer asking what are you writing?

What Are You Writing?

When someone says: what are you writing? It sounds in my ears like they’re saying: I’m going to set fire to your house. Or I’m going to kill your dog. And I don’t even have a dog. It’s like asking a man: are you still beating your wife? He is condemned by the question. Asking […]

Image Shows Salvador Dali holding a seashell as he sails out to sea

Salvador Dali Brings Simon Baker to Cadaqués

An album – a feast, a spectrum, a kaleidoscope – of some of the world’s best photography opens in the streets, bars and galleries of Cadaqués on 1 October 2021 at the start of the InCadaqués International Festival of Photography – now in its fifth year – the second year of Covid.  The best? Absolutely. After […]

Poetic License and La Bohème - poster from the opera

Poetic License and La Bohème

Pucccini’s opera La Bohème isn’t a love story. It is a warning to women never to fall for a poet. Poets – like politicians – tell you the grey sky is blue and you believe them. It’s what they call poetic license. Politicians we can get rid of. Poets live on with their rhymes and rhythms wriggling […]

Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan contemplating the idea that there must be some kind of way out of here

There must be some kind of way out of here

Two riders stop on a hilltop. They gaze across the valley at a castle surrounded by farmland where people labour in the fields. In the castle, princes and their beautiful women drink wine while barefoot servants come and go unnoticed. ‘There must be some kind of way out of here?’ says one rider to the […]