Dabbler Diary – Railway Cake

Hugh Laurie once wrote of his teenage self: “I somehow contrived to pull off the gruesome trick of being both fat and thin at the same time”. This summer has managed to be similarly perverse, being first disgustingly hot then offensively cold and wet. Why do we British even pretend ... Read More...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Guns Before Butter

Guns or butter? Butter or guns? It really is as simple as that. Which would you choose?... I have been watching, with something akin to hysterical overexcitement, reruns of the long-running television game show Guns Before Butter. It really is the most fantastic example of Bismarckian light entertainment ever devised. As ... Read More...