Vacillate or Vaccinate?

Vacillate or Vaccinate?

I had to do something. After a year of war-like rhetoric, waged against an invisible enemy, Covid had killed one in every 200 people over the age of 50. In late December, there was at last a call to arms. All citizens were expected to take, at least, a couple...

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Familiarity and Contempt

Familiarity and Contempt

Tucked in a mental pocket, scrawled on a scrap of ethereal paper lodged in my half consciousness, I have a list of 8 records chosen for a fantasy date with Lauren Laverne on Desert Island Discs. This list, like those of thousands of other no-hopers, changes frequently, depending on the...

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On Reflection

On Reflection

Some things are just really hard to love, even though you’re supposed to. Most turn up at Christmas. Racist relatives, scented soaps, the Queen’s speech, Brussels sprouts. And then, especially in January, the hardest thing to love is your reflection. I f we were happy narcissists, in love with our...

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Time to be Optimistic 

Time to be Optimistic 

For reasons which probably stretch back to the way the Romans ran their military and their civilian administration, the numbers 10 and 100 have had a special significance in our Western lives for the past two thousand years or so. And at our esteemed, loved and highly rated local monthly...

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Theories of Conspiracy

Theories of Conspiracy

In the world we inhabit, what used to be called ‘myths’, once long in the growing, have morphed into swiftly manufactured ‘conspiracy theories’, and in the same way that religious myths can engender unquestioning belief in non-facts, so these invented conspiracies can influence followers of a political idea. This phenomenon...

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Make America Wait Again: a maddening Presidential Election

Make America Wait Again: a maddening Presidential Election

In the end, Joe Biden came through at the last to become the President-elect of the USA despite the antics of President Trump who threw even more toys out of his pram. He simply couldn’t believe he hadn’t won. His behaviour was frankly shocking. He would be remembered for the...

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Huggin’ Joe

Huggin’ Joe

From the early 19th Century to the end of the 20th, the sure-fire way to make Britons feel awkward was to embrace them. Much hilarity was had by Europeans feeling us assume a living rigor mortis the moment they put their arms around us. Like headlamp-hypnotised rabbits we would freeze...

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Letter to America 

Letter to America 

It feels like there are three versions of America which we see here in London across our shared social media. The first is the continuing sheer brutality of your police force. In a mature society, it simply is not possible to comprehend what was going through a white policeman’s mind...

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The one thing you need to get rid of right now to become happier, more successful and more attractive

The one thing you need to get rid of right now to become happier, more successful and more attractive

Gorgeous celebrities swear by getting rid of this one thing. It’s the one thing holding you back from your true potential and the Kardashians, only mentioned here so we can stick in a sexy picture, may have never had this one thing in the first place. But wait, it doesn’t...

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Noblesse Oblige – or Does It?

Noblesse Oblige – or Does It?

The Tenacity of English Tribal Markings Over a century ago, when George Bernard Shaw was appearing on an Edwardian equivalent of a TV chat show to promote his new play, Pygmalion, he said, probably in an Irish growl, that ‘it is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without...

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