The PJ O’Rourke principle

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the American satirist PJ O’Rourke recently – in particular his funny, acerbic travel books, which I became fond of in the nineties. I tend not to bother with travel articles, because (a) they’re usually aimed at well-off families and (b) you can almost guarantee that stories about the developing […]

Paperback writer

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Well, that’s it. I’m no longer just a journalist, I’m an internationally published author. My book George Orwell on Screen is out and people are reading it. I can only speculate on what, if anything, this means for the rest my life. I’m writing this on Sunday, 23 September, nine days after an editor at my […]

I heard it through the grapevine

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Gladys Knight doesn’t have pancreatic cancer and isn’t on the verge of dying, whatever the hysterical press coverage of Aretha Franklin’s funeral might say. This is wonderful news, as I’m going out of my way to see the Empress of Soul perform in Hyde Park next week. I wasn’t always a fan, but after stumbling upon […]

All mouth and no fingers

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This blog post is quite a departure for me, because I’m dictating it. It’s the first day of the UK financial year, so I splashed out on something I’ve been eyeing up for a while: Dragon NaturallySpeaking dictation software. The seed was planted in January, when I listened to a podcast by the highly successful […]

Judging my book by its cover

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I Googled myself last night. It had been a while since I’d heard from my publishers, and my English diffidence prevents me from sending them a ‘hey, what’s happening?’ email. Part of me suspects that an email of theirs has vanished into the ether. Anyway, I was keen to learn whether my forthcoming book, George […]