Monthly Archives: June 2007

It’s a load of shite thing

Sixteen-year-old English schoolgirl Lydia Playfoot has taken her school to court after being refused permission to wear her ‘purity ring’, claiming that it’s a religious symbol, etc. despite the fact that it’s about as historic as a John Holmes vibrating … Continue reading

Posted in religion, sex | 1 Comment


Posted in photography, travelling | Leave a comment

The art of conversation

I was waiting for my mother outside the by-now notorious Ladies’ Powder Room at Beatties (see earlier post here) when an elderly lady started to tell me about the advantages of the disabled toilet near customer services. She explained that … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A plum from the icebox (with apologies to WCW)

Slightly misshapen, as though it were auditioning for one of those anthropomorphic fruit-and-veg greeting cards but didn’t have the props…

Posted in poem | Leave a comment

A cold June day in London

Posted in london, photography, travelling | Leave a comment

New Writing 15

The Prince of Wales Suite at the British Council HQ must be the worst place in the civilised world for a book launch. It’s a low-ceilinged box of a room, reminiscent of a Travelodge lounge or provincial tax office with … Continue reading

Posted in launch, new writing 15 | 4 Comments

Questions of honour

In a country that sees fit to knight Cliff Rìchard, the decision to give a gong to Salman Rushdie, if only as a nod towards the idea that fiction has at least as much value as Summer Holiday and a … Continue reading

Posted in blair, fatwa, ian hamilton finlay, islam, james hamilton-paterson, penelope fitzgerald, religion, sybille bedford | 3 Comments

Yo! Benedict!

The Vatican hierarchy is notorious for being morally supine in the face of wealth and power. It buried Pinochet with honours and encouraged the Albanian pain fetishist, Mother Teresa, in her quest for photo opportunities with the likes of tin-pot … Continue reading

Posted in blair, church, ratzinger, religion | Leave a comment

God hates Lily Tomlin

I’m in England for a few days, enjoying the drizzle and the best that UKTV has to offer. Bit of a glut last night, as I moved from Emmerdale to a programme about a house so dirty the most hygienic … Continue reading

Posted in christopher hitchens, elton john, homophobia, revealed truth, television | Leave a comment


This title is both what it says and the name of a story by a fine short story writer, Maria Donovan, which you can hear on Radio 4 at 3.30 pm on 21 June (i.e. later today). The summer solstice, … Continue reading

Posted in story | Leave a comment