The Story of 1804 Part One: Winter

The independence declaration, written in French by Louis Boisrond-Tonnere and signed by General-in-Chief Dessalines, founded a new state called by its native name, dedicated to the abolition of slavery, ‘anathama to the French’, and a ‘radical understanding of race and citizenship.1 Revolutionary France, under pressure from Saint-Domingue’s ‘black jacobins’, had abolished slavery in 1794, emancipating […]

On Budget

My response to the 2024 budget statement Budgets, according to least two political podcasts over the last week act as a wonderful energy booster for the party in power, only to lose their power as people digest their contradictions, assumptions, and consequences . Last week’s budget statement by Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt seems […]

The Story of 1804 – from Haitian Independence to the Battle of Tsuntua

1804 proved a remarkable year in world history, in the arts, in science and industry, and in the shifting sands of liberty and empire. This revolutionary age reaches a kind of climax: a good starting point for understanding the 19th century that emerged. Warfare between Russia and Persia, America and Tripoli, and elsewhere in Africa […]

Old Wine in New Skins

Thoughts on re-presentations of vintage Doctor Who In the run-up to Doctor Who’s sixtieth anniversary last month, two announcements in particular took this fan somewhat by surprise. Firstly, accompanying the release of the bulk of 20th century episodes onto the UK’s publicly-funded streaming service BBC iPlayer, came a brand new spin-off series exclusive to that […]

Sunday Afternoon Radio

I spent the afternoon of the 24th October this year listening to two instructive, entertaining and even illuminating editions of two standards of BBC Radio broadcasting. Desert Island Discs, running continuously on the BBC since 1942, interviews each week a ‘castaway’ entitled to choose eight sound records, a book and a luxury to console them […]

Taxing the Rich

A year or so ago there was a possibility I’d be interviewed for a story in the Daily Telegraph. I subscribed to the paper to check out the journalist involved, and have never got round to cancelling. The paper sometimes called The Torygraph, the paper of that party in effect, might be useful to read […]

Walk the Walk

With an apparently innate antipathy to the internal combustion engine, I’ve always been a keen perambulator. I was born and brought up in Stourbridge, that strange interface between the industrial Black Country and the Worcestershire and Shropshire countryside. My beloved Grandfather was a great walker. In my late teens I journeyed to Birmingham to catch […]

a good play needs no epilogue

or, a bum reduced to the status of an actor Part One: Yes, And? January. But not just any January. It’s 2018. On Jan 9th President Trump cancels a program allowing 200,000 San Salvadoreans temporary status to live in the US, the same day mudslides sweep away 100 houses in Montecito, California, killing at least […]

The Picard Manoeuvre

I want to review CBS’s latest Star Trek series, Star Trek: Picard. But first I have to set the scene, about my relationship with Star Trek, and a potted guide to its history for those unfamiliar.

Laughter Lines

In late 2015, after physically healing an injury I’d sustained in midsummer, I was looking for some psychological healing experiences. Laughter, of course, is often called ‘the best medicine’ and there seems to be some truth in this. I discovered laughter yoga, which I found an excellent tonic. What’s the medical evidence for this? Somewhat […]