The Hobyahs

Commenting on Frank Key's bedtime story about the glib hatter,  Adelephant recommended the story of The Hobyahs as suitable follow-up reading matter. This remarkable folk story was collected in Joseph Jacobs' 1890 work 'English Fairy Tales'. I offer no analysis or comment - it really does speak for itself... Once there was ... Read More...

A Short History of Useful Idiots

Daniel Kalder examines the phenomenon of otherwise intelligent people falling head-over-heels for murderous tyrants... Mussolini: you might think he was just a blustering fool in a fez, but once upon a time many people took him very seriously. I remember my shock when, aged 15 or so, I learned from my ... Read More...

The Pleasure of Pointlessness

This is one of the editors' favourite ever Dabbles. ZMKC recalls an early experience of being too creative for a 'creativity-first' school, and explains how it has influenced her career as a blogger... When I was about nine I began exchanging letters with a girl called Paula who was in the ... Read More...

A rum do in Cognac

Crumbling châteaux and closet gay Counts - here's Gaw's terrific tale of some strange lodgings he took whilst playing rugby in South-West France.... Being a professional sportsman isn't all it's cracked up to be. It's actually very boring. Training isn't mentally stimulating and professional sportsmen tend not to be that interesting; ... Read More...

How to be Happy

Radio 4 reporter Becky Milligan ponders the secret of happiness... The question is: what makes you happy? What makes you laugh so hard you’re sick on the floor? Are you happier than sadder? Or so-so, on cruise control, or just below par? And what makes you cry, sob into your sandwiches, ... Read More...