Dabbler Diary – Glum Australians

It has been heartening to see the emergence of Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon. Ever since the golden era of McEnroe and Connors, men’s tennis has been rather lacking in jerks. Krygios is a proper, no-bones-about-it jerk - but even better is that I can add him to my cherished list of ... Read More...

Dabbler Diary – Job Justification

I don’t know if you’re the same, but whenever I watch coverage of the Glastonbury Festival on the BBC and see the sheer scale of Michael Eavis’ achievement - the array of great music and performers, the creativity, the tradition, the vibe, the extraordinary range and diversity of people all ... Read More...

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...

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...

Philippines Diary

Toby Ash has spent much of the last year living in the Philippines working for an aid agency helping those affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the country in November 2013. This is his Philippines Dabbler Diary...   I didn’t want to disturb Ricky while he was applying his make up, ... 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...