Forgotten authors: Warwick Deeping

Steerforth discovers Warwick Deeping, once a prolific writer of bestsellers, now all but forgotten (and in this case, perhaps deservedly so)... In his wonderful essay Bookshop Memories, Orwell lamented that the authors who were most popular with his customers were Ethel M Dell and Warwick Deeping. I didn't recognise the first ... Read More...

Out of the Race: Politics, Fear and Failure

As a couple more Labour leadership contenders drop off the greasy pole, Terry Stiastny, author of political thriller Acts of Omission, disinters a blisteringly cynical fictional account of the political life, and wonders why they bother in the first place. It was so comfortable to be out of the race. Then again, he ... Read More...

John Snagge, Wally Hope and the Counterculture

Nige on a legendary hippie and his surprising family connection... One of the more surprising facts about John Snagge, the old-school BBC radio announcer and boat race commentator ('I can't see who's in the lead, but it's either Oxford or Cambridge') is that he was the guardian of a legendary figure of ... Read More...

Cecil Beaton and the Baroness

When Steerforth came across the strange-looking autobiography by one Baroness Von Bülop, he was intrigued - especially as she seemed to have enlisted the celebrated photographer Cecil Beaton... One stormy afternoon, I came across an illustrated 1939 autobiography called 'My Royal Past', by Baroness Von Bülop: It didn't look terribly inspiring, but then I noticed ... Read More...

Mercy

When she was a teenager Misti Traya travelled from America to spend three months working in an orphanage in Romania. This is what happened to her... When I was 15, I went on a mission of mercy.  My mission was this:  Dear God, please let the Ivies have mercy on my ... Read More...

My life as a failed stamp collector

Steerforth recalls, with pathos and bemusement, his brief attempt at being an entrepreneurial philatelist... When I was 11-years-old I became friends with a boy whose parents were divorced. I'd never met anyone whose mother and father lived apart and I remember feeling quite jealous that he had two homes. In my ... 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...