Information is not Power

We live in the Information Age. The silicon chip has empowered us. Information is power. Everyone knows that. Data is the ultimate democrat. We are in control. We are protected. The Internet and mobile phones have set us free. So why is it that when we buy an egg and cress sandwich from a reputable…

Crossing the Line

The 2020 Olympic Games begin on 24th July and I hope there are no children watching! The Olympic ideal of ‘mens sana in copore sano‘ is as laughable as a bald man’s comb. Athletes are supposed to be role models for children. At least, when I was a child they were. They represented the triumph…

Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift and he is best remembered as the author of Gulliver’s Travels. He was a priest and a poet —almost obligatory occupations in Ireland— and he wrote some of the best essays in the English language. After writing the classic Gulliver’s Travels, which sadly has become a children’s story and ceased to be the political…

Cricket

The English have a glorious tradition of inventing games and then being bad at them. Both rugby and badminton take their names from English towns, football was first documented in London in the 12th century by William FitzStephen. But the game which the English have taken into their hearts and souls is cricket. The first…

Christmas in the Trenches

It was a cold Christmas Eve in the trenches in France in 1914. Both German and British soldiers were living in atrocious conditions sometimes only a mere 60 metres apart. As the night fell and the stars came out, the guns fell silent. From the German side a young soldier began to sing a song…

Sexsim in Business Writing

No writer can hide behind the status quo. The world changes and a professional business communicator must change with it. Sexist language is confusing at best and offensive at worst. Anyone who works at a keyboard should avoid it. It used to be common to use masculine pronouns in all business communication. That is no…

British Chefs and German Lovers

This morning I had to renew my ‘Tarjeta de Residencia’ or ‘Guiri Card’ as my friends call it. I had to take three photocopies of every piece of paper in my house and some horrible photos. Then we (myself and about 25 other foreigners) stood in the rain and waited outside the Police Station. Then…

Barry Morse 1918 – 2008

In the 1980s I ran a small theatre-in-education company in Manchester called Foursight and we were planning to do a show about drugs. We wrote to famous people for support and among the many replies was one from an actor called Barry Morse. Barry Morse became famous as Lt Philip Gerard in the US television…

Anyone for Sphairistike?

In 1868 the All England Croquet Club was founded off Worple Road in the London neighbourhood of Wimbledon. Then, in 1875, Major Walter Clapton Wingfield introduced a game he had invented and named “Sphairistike” or “lawn tennis”. The game became immediately popular and the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club was born, To celebrate…