I'm the author of three novels, “Out of Office” and “Fire Horses" (both published by Legend Press), my new comic novel "Kidology," and a collection of short stories and creative non-fiction, "Militant Factions." Now a regular Spectator contributor, I've had dozens of major features in the Sunday Times, Times, Guardian, Independent, Mail, Express, Telegraph, Observer (though not for a while!) and many more. Email me at: [email protected]
|Posted on March 20, 2018 at 4:45 PM|
"The suspected Novichok nerve agent attack on former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, on March 4th in the leafy town of Salisbury, England has exposed not only age-old divisions between the West and Russia but also political divisions within the UK. Moscow has flatly denied involvement in the attack, which has left Sergei and Yulia critically ill and probably condemned to a slow, lingering death, but the UK government and much of the media have, perhaps predictably, been quick to point the finger East..."
|Posted on February 21, 2018 at 6:25 AM|
"In the past week, two very different stories have highlighted our innate desire to generalise people, to raise them up as heroes, ciphers for the things we believe in, then bring them crashing down when they no longer keep to those high standards we probably don’t reach ourselves.
"There can’t be many compassionate people who haven’t been saddened by the news about Brendan Cox, husband of murdered MP Jo Cox. Whatever happened at Harvard back in 2015 – and it must have been fairly bad, even though he denies the more serious allegations – it’s depressing indeed that he has now stepped aside from two charities he set up following his wife’s ghastly murder at the hands of a disgusting, sad little fascist. Cox’s dignity and calls for restraint following his wife’s murder came when the country seemed riven with division, and probably prevented more serious unrest. Should he step aside now, because of a stupid, drunken incident?"
|Posted on February 7, 2018 at 2:10 PM|
"I’ve worked in several warehouses unloading stock and I’ve also worked in supermarkets stacking shelves. I’d have to say the latter is marginally harder. Not that there’s much in it: both are physically hard, mentally untaxing, and probably undervalued – but then, don’t we all feel undervalued at work?
"Warehouse jobs are more of a laugh. When unloading boxes that all looked the same, some were much heavier than others. If you were on the van you’d make out the heavy ones were light and vice versa. Oh, the japes we had… Best of all, there was usually an unloaded pallet you could hide behind for a nap. Whereas on the shop floor, surrounded by members of the public, with some tetchy manager in a cheap suit on your case, there were fewer opportunities for mayhem..."
https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2018/02/men-and-women-of-the-world-unite/" target="_blank">Read the rest of my latest Spectator blog here.
|Posted on January 23, 2018 at 11:00 AM|
"Reading Melanie Phillips in this morning’s Times made me really cross. Nothing unusual in that – except I’m cross because I agreed with every word she had to say about free speech, and the lunatic attacks on Canadian academic Jordan Peterson by activists who have the gall to call themselves progressive. Peterson, in case you didn’t know, has argued against proposals that Canada introduce new laws insisting personal pronouns be changed to ze and zir at the request of the addressee concerned.
"As someone who still thinks of himself as ‘left wing’ (Left and Right being, as I have said here before, somewhat outmoded), I hate agreeing with Melanie Phillips. Of course the route from youthful socialist to ageing conservative is a familiar one, but even aged 50 I don’t feel particularly conservative, either upper or lower case; I feel deserted. I’m in the same place I was 35 years ago, but the crowd around me has retreated to the fringes of the battlefield to shout rude names from the safety of their virtuous towers..."
|Posted on January 9, 2018 at 6:30 AM|
“A tiny British anti-Muslim party called ‘Britain First’ benefitted from worldwide publicity at the end of 2017 when President Trump retweeted three videos purporting to show examples of Islamist violence. Closer scrutiny later proved that none of the videos was quite what had been claimed, but by then the damage had been done: the group claimed Trump as a fellow traveller in the fight against ‘Islamism.’ Parties across the political spectrum lined up to attack the President for appearing to endorse the views of the controversial organisation—if ‘organisation’ isn’t too complimentary a term for this bunch of misfits, Nazis and thugs…”
|Posted on January 6, 2018 at 6:55 AM|
“It’s just a few metres from Bartholomew Court, EC1, where a young man was one of four stabbed to death over the New Year, to trendy Hoxton, famous for its cereal bars and hirsute hipsters. It would be easy to say these two worlds – those of the trendy media types lampooned by ‘Nathan Barley’ and ‘Its Grim up North London’ and the large nearby estates – are separated by an unbridgeable gulf, but it would also be inaccurate. Areas like Hoxton became popular in part because of this edginess, this picturesque urban decay, where drugs can be bought cheaply from local youths and consumed in the safety of the adjacent wine bars and gated communities.
"When I first moved to this area in 1985, much of Hoxton was like Bartholomew Court; even now there are some areas even drug-craving hipsters avoid. Over the past 30 years the area has changed almost beyond recognition, with new apartment and offices blocks, trendy eateries and poodle parlours on every corner; yet many of the old council estates remain, their long-term residents confronted daily by the inequalities and injustices of modern Britain…”
|Posted on December 12, 2017 at 9:50 AM|
“How would you feel if a gang of fabulously wealthy twenty-somethings kept appearing in your young daughter’s bedroom, telling her she’s really special but then badgering her to send messages and money? If, like my 13-year-old daughter, she’s been taken in (and not yet spat out) by the YouTube phenomenon, it’s happening right now – in a bedroom near you…”
|Posted on December 10, 2017 at 6:05 AM|
This morning I was on Paddy O’Connell’s “Broadcasting House” to discuss Brexit with The Guardian’s Zoe Williams. Really enjoyed the debate, and hopefully we demonstrated it’s possible to have divergent views about the thorny subject without coming to blows. Which is just as well as Zoe’s bigger than me.
|Posted on November 17, 2017 at 5:15 AM|
Even though my year of abstinence ended a year ago, I kept my Just Giving page open up to today (17th November 2017) in the hope more people would donate to this incredibly worthy cause. In total, I received donations of approximately £322.30 – thank you so much!
As you know, I promised to match all donations up to the first £1,000. Last December I donated £252.30 so I’ve just paid the balance of £70. That means my abstaining from alcohol for a long, long year raised a total of…
Many thanks all (and never again!)
|Posted on November 8, 2017 at 11:55 AM|
In the last three days I’ve been lucky enough to have two new blogs published at The Spectator. On Sunday I argued that for all his many, MANY faults (!) Kevin Spacey shouldn’t have been dropped by Netflix. Today, why Lloyds Bank’s new charges are nothing short of a tax on the poor.
To celebrate, I've decided to reduce the price of Militant. Now just £6 in paperback, $6 in the US and Australia, and still just £1 on Kindle. Buy it here.
|Posted on October 23, 2017 at 9:55 AM|
“William Goldman’s famous quote about Hollywood—“Nobody knows anything”—could also apply to the prolonged, painful extraction of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU), aka Brexit. The truth is, no-one knows the truth. Will it actually happen, or will there be another snap election where Labour includes the promise of a second referendum on EU membership? Will Europe (or, more specifically, France and Germany) “punish” the UK, or will they realise that to do so would be self-defeating? Will Brexit push up the price of food and drink, as claimed by Remain, those on the side of the UK staying in the EU, or bring them down? Can the UK survive as a single entity, or will Scotland and Northern Ireland pull away in a frantic (and probably hopeless) bid to stay within the common market?”
|Posted on October 21, 2017 at 3:00 AM|
For a short time only you can buy my comic novel KIDOLOGY and my collection of fiction and non-fiction, MILITANT FACTIONS, for just £1 each ($1 in the US or Australia).
|Posted on October 19, 2017 at 11:20 AM|
“My nan turns 96 today (Wednesday 18th October) but it won’t be much of a celebration. I’ll go and see her with my 73-year-old father at the care home where she resides. If she’s having a good day, nan might remember who I am – her only grandchild; I say “good day” because last time dad visited, she asked him if she’d ever had children. Despite being by now somewhat inured to nan’s fading, dad was naturally somewhat stunned, and more shocked when a care worker said nan claimed to have voted Tory all her life – she’s a lifelong socialist and Labour supporter who once showed Dennis Potter round her local group. Dementia is a miserable end, less a full stop than a trailing off…”
|Posted on October 16, 2017 at 8:35 AM|
As Hurricane Ophelia reaches Ireland and the UK, my memories drift back to 1987 when, 30 years ago today, I wandered across London on acid as the Great Storm hit. I later used my memories in my first book, Fire Horses, published by Legend Press – where you can read about that strange day here and now…
|Posted on October 9, 2017 at 11:20 AM|
“The mood at the Labour Party’s annual conference is jubilant this year. Following a general election where he performed better than expected—though he still lost—leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has crushed his many critics within the party (or, as his supporters would prefer, re-educated them to his point of view) and, if yet another general election were to be called, would march into Downing Street, where no doubt he would soon be turning the back garden into an eco-friendly allotment. The UK, no longer hindered by the EU's harsh economic restrains, would soon become a socialist wonderland where education, health and transport are efficient, public-owned and free to use…”
|Posted on September 28, 2017 at 6:20 AM|
Yet again I'm indebted to the Royal Literary Fund - this time for providing me with funding to purchase brand new computer equipment! Thank you RLF, I hope I can justify your faith!
My dream is to one day be able to repay the RLF for all the funding they have provided and which has come in incredibly useful following the abrupt termination of my contract by the International Business Times back in May. Four years, well over 2,000 articles and countless page hits - and I didn't even get an explanation from IBT, let alone a thank you. Shabby way to treat your freelancers - and now they're advertising for more freelancers apparently. Good luck, guys!
Anyway - one way you could help me repay the RLF (and stick it to the IBT) would be to buy one of my four books - Militant Factions, Kidology, Out Of Office and Fire Horses - in paperback or on Kindle. That would buy me the time to write two more books which hopefully will help me get a new agent - I'm almost starting to regret sacking my last one now...
(Actually - no I'm not. A YEAR to read a draft of a book?!)
|Posted on September 15, 2017 at 9:20 AM|
Many thanks once again to the Royal Literary Fund for providing me with a very generous grant for the second year running. Means a great deal when such a respected organisation shows such faith in your writing.
|Posted on September 14, 2017 at 7:25 PM|
"In 1982, aged 15 I boarded my first plane and flew to meet my father and step family in Los Angeles. I never forgot that trip: sleeping in a car in Death Valley, smuggled into motels in LA, walking through Tijuana street markets and squatting in San Francisco when Freddie Laker went bust.
Now my wife Lynda and I have decided to take our children – Daughter, 13, and Son, 10 – on an even more epic journey. Already we’ve taken in Toronto and Niagara Falls, watched the Yankees with hot dogs, eaten at ‘Cake Boss’ Carlo’s Hoboken bakery, farted in the UN security council, melted in Vegas, hunted aliens at Area 51 and been dumb-struck by the Grand Canyon before reaching San Diego..."
|Posted on August 29, 2017 at 9:50 AM|
Delighted to announce that my (very) short story, "Behind every cloud there's a clear blue sky," has been published at Legend Press, which published my first two novels "Fire Horses" and "Out of Office."
My short story collection, "Militant Factions," is now available in paperback and Kindle. Be warned - some of the stories are extremely graphic...
|Posted on August 28, 2017 at 6:30 AM|
Recently a man in Ipswich made headlines when a seagull reportedly ripped of his gonad as he sunbathed nude in his garden. Thankfully the story, which was widely shared, was probably fake - but nevertheless eerily reminiscent of my short story, "White Hawk," first published in my "Militant Factions" anthology.