There are complicated books, and there are simple ones. Both can be great, but the simple ones are often remembered more fondly. Although it is important that thoughtful people write, and read, about human nature in all its ambivalence and complexity, offering us nuanced and realistic portraits of character in the great Russian realist mode,… More Atticus Finch Dethroned
Almost the first thing I did after the result of the last General Election became clear was to join a pressure group campaigning for the UK to stay in Europe. Perhaps naively, I always thought of the European Union as a force for peace, a necessary forum for countries to meet together and seek common… More A Vile-Concluded Peace
Is anybody out there who remembers the slogan., “Did you ever wish that you were better informed?” You might recognise it as a line from the Billy Bragg song, “It says here…”, a coruscating exposure of the British press from the 1980s that, sadly, is as relevant now as it was then. It was also, roundabout… More Ever Wished That You Were Better Informed?
I will shortly be coming up to my 15th year as a primary school librarian. It’s a job I very much created and developed ex nihilo, and I think it would be interesting to reflect on how it has changed in that period of time. When we began, with £400 worth of books from the… More The Price of Knowing What Happens Next – or the dilemmas of a school librarian
A few weeks ago I whiled away an idle half-hour by trying to work out a single word to express the essential quality of each major European nation. (Yes, I know, normal people watch TV or flick through a magazine, but I was in Italy at the time and the scenery seemed to inspire such… More The Greeks Have a Word for it – OXI
Back from London, where on Sunday I went straight from an intense political discussion with my son in the BFI canteen to a production of “Merchant of Venice” at the Globe. I have blogged about the Merchant before, after seeing the striking but ideologically muddled RSC production of 2011. And indeed, one problem with directing… More All that Glisters Is Not Gold – The Merchant of Venice at the Globe
Olive Cooke, aged 92, was one of Britain’s longest-serving poppy sellers. This week her body was recovered from the Avon Gorge – apparently she had committed suicide. There could be several reasons behind this, but close relatives suspect that the intense pressure she felt from several charities to donate to their causes was one of… More When Enough is Enough – the sad story of Olive Cooke