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 […]

Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time

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World premieres don’t often happen in my hometown, and yet tonight, the BBC showed the Doctor Who Christmas special Twice Upon a Time at Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre. Wait, did I just call it a premiere? I did that on Twitter earlier and a Who fan objected, pointing out that it was “a public screening […]

The night I heard Tony Blair swear

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It’s 25 years to the day since I heard Tony Blair say “fuck”. I’d never heard a politician swear before, let alone a future prime minister, and it’s stayed with me ever since. I was a would-be local hack at the time. A student on Darlington College of Technology’s 10-month journalism course, employed by the […]

Return to Wigan Pier

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I was in Wigan the other day – a flying visit, really – for a weekend of events to celebrate George Orwell. Eighty years on from The Road to Wigan Pier‘s publication, townspeople, local dignitaries and the Orwell Society were putting on a show. Several, in fact. Though I was snowed under with work, I’d […]