Monthly Archives: November 2013


In the early 1970s Alan became very pessimistic about his financial future. A seemingly endless succession of strikes threatened to paralyse the economy, presenting a challenge to the Government. At first Alan was wholeheartedly on the side of the workers. “I … Continue reading

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Journey to school, Indonesia

Images from two humbling Reuters Photography dispatches. Reza said he collected the bamboo raft because he is the best swimmer in the group. “Do you have alternate ways to cross the river?” I asked. “Yes, I have…” Reza said pointing to … Continue reading

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It was the period when Western sympathisers arrived at Soviet ports by the boatload, and embarked on the return journey with their heads stuffed with propaganda. The slump at home quickened the tide… Almost without exception, they were astonishingly gullible. … Continue reading

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Reviewing [£] Columbia’s  huge new Herbie Hancock box set brought back some happy jazz-funk memories. Unlike bell-bottom trousers, the best of the music hasn’t aged at all.

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Why academia resembles a drug gang

“Even if the probability that you might get shot in academia is relatively small (unless you mark student papers very harshly), one can observe similar dynamics.”  It’s all about a limited supply of posts and an ever-increasing flow of would-be … Continue reading

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The score against Alan in Oxford gradually mounted. McFarlane was not the only don to disapprove of his journalism and television appearances, not to mention his wives. Nor was Alan the only one to be criticised. Not long after the … Continue reading

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Marcello & Carla

Signor Mastroianni looks on as Ms Bley leads the band through the theme from “8 1/2”. Nino Rota concert, EFG London Jazz Festival.

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In 1992, fewer than one-third of Americans accepted the Warren Commission’s conclusions as persuasive… The fact that none of the conspiracy theorists have been able to offer convincing evidence of their suspicions does not seem  to trouble many people. The … Continue reading

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Chi siamo noi?

  I’m still in a state of mild euphoria four days after that breathtaking show by Paolo Conte. Here’s another song he didn’t play on the night, although I have seen him perform it a couple of times in the … Continue reading

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Facts, fantasies… & JFK

“No sane person believes Kennedy was killed by one bitter ex-marine,” declares actor Alec Baldwin in the New Statesman. “Anyone with eyes can see that Kennedy was shot from the front.” Which suggests, as if anyone thought otherwise, that the 50th anniversary … Continue reading

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