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Thursday, December 14, 2017

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Thomas the Tank Engine, I confess, was one of my formative influences when I was little. I loved the simple little tales of W. V. Awdry about railway folk, tales that helped with my early reading.

No pre-school Christmas would have been complete, moreover, without seeing Thomas on video, all voiced by Ringo Starr. But I wasn’t being delighted and entertained, you see, I was being indoctrinated; for, according to Professor Shauna Wilton, these stories are not only sexist but they also present a ‘conservative political ideology.’ Ah, so that’s where my politics come from; I’ve long wondered... Read More

Introduction

What follows is a slightly amended version of a piece I wrote for my personal blog about Rupert Murdoch and News International, a corrective to the hysteria that presently surrounds this whole story. I hadn’t intended to add it here, though it follows on from an article I published under Letters from Ana (No More News of the Screws).

However, there are issues that I think an American audience specifically may not be fully aware of, especially if Murdoch is perceived purely through the partisan perspective of Fox News. There are all sorts of extraneous details now... Read More

I had a date with Kevin Spacey on Saturday. Yes, I did, one I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while. There we were, Kevin and I, an intimate evening for two; or it might have been but for several hundred others!

Off I went to the Old Vic Theatre, tickets purchased well in advance, where he is currently performing the lead in a modern dress production of Shakespeare’s Richard III. Directed by Sam Mendes, the play is being staged as part of the Bridge Project, a touring collaboration between the Old Vic and New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Spacey himself has been... Read More

It is Sunday afternoon, preferably before the war. The wife is already asleep in the armchair, and the children have been sent out for a nice long walk. You put your feet up on the sofa, settle your spectacles on your nose, and open the News of the World. Roast beef and Yorkshire, or roast pork and apple sauce, followed up by suet pudding and driven home, as it were, by a cup of mahogany-brown tea, have put you in just the right mood. Your pipe is drawing sweetly, the sofa cushions are soft underneath you, the fire is well alight, the air is warm and stagnant. In these blissful circumstances,... Read More

Highgate Cemetery, in the north of London, is a fascinating kingdom of the dead, a place I think that people who do not know the city would find completely beguiling; I certainly do. It’s not that old, though parts of it are so overgrown that it gives the appearance of something ancient. A lot of the memorials are built of stone, allowing moss to gain a purchase, unlike marble. As far as I am concerned moss, trees, death and stones all make perfect partners!The cemetery was opened in 1839 as part of a plan to deal with the overflow of the dead. There were other cemeteries created under the... Read More

This is the beginning, the first in a series of Tuesday letters, home thoughts from England! It’s super to have this slot, to be given this opportunity, to be able to communicate with you, as I intend, in a wholly informal manner.

Yes, I do have a ‘you’ in mind, an ideal reader, the person to whom I address my remarks. It seems clear to me, from a fairly brief acquaintance, that most people who read BrooWaha are from places firth of my Sceptred Isle, as are most of the contributors.

So, what I intend to do is to write about life in my country in a loose and discursive fashion,... Read More

Judges must beware of hard constructions and strained inferences, for there is no worse torture than that of laws.

So wrote Sir Francis Bacon four hundred years ago. Not that much has changed; for some laws are torture and the interpretation of law even more tortuous, the interpretation specifically of the Human Rights Act. This legislation, part of the European Convention on Human Rights, was swallowed whole by the government of Tony Blair, which allowed it to pass into British law without any attempt at digestion. The result has been a huge stomach ache, with a headache added as a... Read More

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