Dabbler Diary – A History of Failure

‘I hate Cleopatra!’ says the precocious student and mathematical genius Thomasina Coverly in the play Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. She goes on to explain: The Egyptian noodle made carnal embrace with the enemy who burned the great library of Alexandria without so much as a fine for all that is overdue. Oh, ... Read More...

Dabbler Diary – H. G. Wells’ spare bedroom

‘Tell me a story from your head instead’, commanded C, apparently bored by the mild misadventures of Paddington. A great weariness came upon me. ‘What about?’ I said, closing the book. ‘About… Mr Chocolate Cake,’ she said at random. ‘And a Princess.' ‘Oh for goodness sake’, I said, and proceeded to tell the most ... Read More...

Dabbler Diary – Hand of the Teen Wolf

Having the house to myself and thinking to effect an overdue reconciliation with combative hack bombshell Pippa Tregaskis after that unpleasantness last June, I tentatively invited her to come over for an afternoon tipple and some audio entertainment on my newly rigged-up hand-operated copper-plated original Blötzmann Mk III turntable, which ... Read More...

Campaignballs! The Top 7 Pieces of Twaddle you’ll hear between now and the General Election

Virtually everything you will hear in the forthcoming General Election campaign from all Parties will be frothy twaddle, bearing no relation to facts and designed merely to appeal to tribal prejudices. Here are some of the most frequently-recurring pieces of tripe and the truths behind them...   1) Conservativeballs: Osborne’s ‘austerity’ has meant ... Read More...

Dabbler Diary – I Was Norman Smith

Last year I wrote a short biography of my childhood dog, Jason, and mentioned that, preposterously indulged, he had his own armchair in the front room. It was a pretty naff 1970s-coloured one left over from a previous suite, but this is what British people are like with their dogs. ... Read More...

Dabbler Diary – A Multitude of Idiots

I saw Stephen Fry’s anti-God rant and felt a burst of sympathy for the man. His stance - being very angry with something that he believes nonexistent - is a nonsensical one which usually means the angry person is really angry with Christians, either for being so stupid as to worship an evil ... Read More...

The Dabbler’s Guide to Spiral (BBC Four)

If you're following the latest series of Spiral on BBC Four, or wondering whether to start watching from the beginning, here's Brit's introductory guide to the French cop show... The first thing to say about Spiral (in France: Engrenages, meaning not in fact ‘Spiral’ but ‘Gears’) is that it offers the ... Read More...

Dabbler Diary – Taxi Driver

A little after one in the morning we emerged arm-in-arm from the Bristol Museum and walked unsteadily in the direction of the taxi rank outside Brown’s. Mrs Brit was in a cocktail dress and heels. I was in a dinner suit (by M&S, machine washable) and a real bow tie ... Read More...