It’s Too Late to Stop Now – Sinatra/Basie

I’ve been listening again to these two albums recently, and have been struck by a certain peculiarity across the two. Released a decade or so apart, they have more in common than you might think, but they both sound a little odd to my ears. When Sinatra set up Reprise, he took the kind of control […]

1971: Never a Dull Moment, by David Hepworth

This book, says its author David Hepworth, started as a column in the late lamented Word magazine, but I don’t remember reading that. I do, however, remember a series of tweets and a Spotify playlist around September 2012 (and a blog entry – remember blogs?). The central idea is intriguing: that 1971 was the greatest year for the rock […]

Bring out your dead

Farrah Fawcett had the misfortune to die on the same day as Michael Jackson. With Twitter just a couple of years old at the time, the reaction to her death was considerably muted. I don’t remember it well: I was on the Twitter at that time, but only just, and I didn’t have a smart […]


I’m on a bit of a Tim McGraw jag at the moment. I don’t know why. Those smooth sounds, maybe, that vocal sound, which is not so much autotuned as excitered into the fifth dimension. His recent album Damn Country Music is much of a muchness with his other output of late, and no particular song jumps […]

Port Designs LED backpack

Although I only recently bought a new backpack for work, when I saw this in my favourite shop (Nature et Découvertes), I thought about it for a few days and then went back and bought it. My requirements are quite simple these days. I’m a teacher but I travel light. If I need to transport […]


I hate this sign, not merely because it makes you think that someone has been mutilating cats (or offering to mutilate cats), but because it is the avatar of the UK’s gradual descent to the status of a developing nation rather than an advanced economy. Why are roads being repaired, all over the place, with cats’ […]

Can Twitter Save the World for Democracy?

It’s generally accepted that while Facebook can be horribly right-wing and parochial, Twitter is both more cosmopolitan and more left-wing. A few years ago, I was hopeful that Twitter (as a medium in its own right as opposed to being a mere platform) could become the counter-narrative, the great hope of the counterculture, the voice […]