Keep on strumming

I am an enthusiastic, if very limited, musician. I don't even think of myself as a musician - and neither does anyone else! I've never been able to read music properly, I've never had a lesson and I am certainly no virtuoso on any instrument. But music means a lot to me, and not just…

Back to the Future?

Jessica Rimoch is the young woman who owns, and can nearly always be found in, Jarr Market, a zero-waste shop that has opened a few minutes' walk from where I live. Born in Mexico City, Jess came to London six years ago. After initially working in the IT industry she became increasingly concerned about the…

Not fade away

I had a long one-on-one lunch and even longer conversation with a former colleague this week. The theme of memory, and loss thereof - personal, cultural and institutional - quickly emerged from our discussion of couple of recent incidents. He'd recently met, by chance, an old friend in a part of London he rarely visits…

The Good Old Days

I was 19 in 1974. The year began inauspiciously with the Three Day Week, power cuts, a miners’ strike and a General Election. It was a matter of debate whether Ted Heath’s government was really in power or just pretending. I can’t say it bothered me much, apart from when the pubs were shut. The…

La Brexoire

I didn't post in August - not once. Not because I am dead, or anything like that, but because I and my blog were on holiday in France (La Bréchoire, Charente) for the whole month... the whole blessed month! I was so busy doing nothing that I lost the will to blog. Once you stop…

So… back in August 1990

Anne and I were in France. It was the first time I'd been on holiday in France (apart from a week in Montmartre, 12 years earlier, dossing down in a friend's garret) although I was 35! Put that down to all those years studying Spanish and Portuguese. We were on our honeymoon (aw!) in Brittany.…

Pipe down!

Nigella Lawson says that the thump of loud music now found in some of the most fashionable (and expensive) restaurants leaves her unable to taste her food. She says she is "allergic to all noise including music in shops and restaurants… It is utterly draining. And it drowns out the taste of food. I’ve always…

Why I love Greece

My first visit to Greece was in April 1971. I was 16¼. Although I’d just dropped Greek for Spanish at A Level (and never regretted it), I was still studying Ancient History and I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity of spending three weeks in Greece if I could help it. My former schoolteacher Eddie…