Monthly Archives: December 2013


Surprisingly, the biggest shops were not initially sited in the centre, but were rather like today’s out-of-town developments, attracted to the fringes of the metropolis for the same reason: the cheapness of land. Thus Harrods, which had first been transformed … Continue reading

Posted in History, Notebook

Willows in Winter

High water mark near Cookham Bridge.

Posted in Photography

Is that person a real person?

A fascinating item about a voice at the other end of the line. Pure Ray Bradbury. Be sure to read the update too. [Via John Naughton]

Posted in Uncategorized


“There may be casualties, of course, but personally I don’t see it as a soldier’s war at all. Where are we going to fight? No one in his senses would try to break either the Maginot or Siegfried Lines. As … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Notebook, World War 2

Discovered: rare photo of Twitter in real time

Via ClassicPics

Posted in Uncategorized

Lenny at large

Writing about the Leonard Bernstein letters for the NYRB (he’s lukewarm) Robert Gottlieb takes time out to watch a vintage DVD of the maestro on the podium: Look at him up there, facing a cadre of highly disciplined, impeccably groomed Englishmen. … Continue reading

Posted in Music, Uncategorized

Sweetness & light

Carla Bruni with a track from another of my favourite albums of the year, “Little French Songs”. Some critics hated it. I thought it was stylish with just a hint of  Georges Brassens. Charles Trenet is the inspiration on this … Continue reading

Posted in Music


It’s forty years since my father died. I’ve often thought about him since, of course. As he was when I was a child, as he was when I grew apart from him in my adolescence, as he was when we … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Cuba’s other voices

  Recorded way down in the West Country… Number 8 on my list of  world music albums of the year.

Posted in Music

Artificial intelligence

So now we’re reached the point, apparently, where most of the traffic on the Internet is non-human. Bots rule.

Posted in Technology