Puppy Love for Detectorists

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At last! For the first time this century, the BBC has produced two (count them: one, two) situation comedies which show originality, wit and genuine pathos. Congratulations to the makers of Detectorists and Puppy Love.

Labour must remember why it was created

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Labour came into being to be the party of and for the working class. Of course it is ludicrous to suggest that UKIP represents the interests of working people. We only need to look at where its leaders and its money come from. But UKIP can represent working class – and others’ – prejudices. We all suffer from prejudices but they are only likely to flourish in a vacuum. And Labour has allowed a massive vacuum to develop by its constant efforts to placate the press and the middle-classes and turn itself into another Tory Party. Labour will win nothing by sounding ‘tough’ on immigration or the EU. It cannot compete in that bullring. How does UKIP win support? By Farage etc. saying what they mean – even if it is meaningless. Labour must work to remember what it means (history provides plenty of guidance; or look up ‘socialism’ in a dictionary) and then start saying it again – loudly enough so that its old supporters can hear it over the whines of the Sun, the Daily Mail and so on. And it must do it before it is too late.

Well-packed Lunchbox

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The Lunchbox (Ritesh Batra, 2013) is a wonderful little film: a romance which avoids sentimentality and with just the right amount of humour (bittersweet, of course). It is beautifully written and performed and displays subtlety of character and plot development of which Hollywood can only dream.

What do M&S and Labour have in common?

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1) Both deserted their loyal supporters years ago and now wonder why their loyal supporters are deserting them. 2) Too much packaging.

Novel 2 Draft 1 Complete

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I’ve just finished the first draft of ‘By Hand Or By Brain’, my second novel. It’s a romantic rite of passage set against the background of the political world of the mid 1970’s. After a brief period of rest and relaxation, I’ll get on to the real fun bit – the editing. Meanwhile, I’ll be hoping to increase my output of short stories

An Ode To My Dentist (He Who Knows My Pain)

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To own the truth

About this tooth

I’ve had it far too long.

I say again

Can’t take the pain.

Before the starting-gong…

Need novocaine

Not crack cocaine;

Heroin would be wrong.

Give me a shot

Of all you’ve got:

Enough to do King Kong

Mansfield Park: a great satire brilliantly read by Juliet Stevenson

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Once again, Juliet Stevenson proves herself the best audio book reader of Jane Austen. In Mansfield Park, where Austen delves into much sharper satire of love, infatuation and manners than in her other books, Stevenson’s reading brings it to life in a way none can match. As always with Austen, the unabridged version is a must.

…And Another Letter in Writing Magazine

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More words of wisdom from yours truly on the Letters page of the March edition of Writing Magazine. What a wonderful publication it is.

Brilliant Blink at Salisbury Playhouse

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Theatre isn’t always my favourite medium – especially on an intimate scale. An even greater achievement then by this week’s studio piece at the Salberg at Salisbury Playhouse. Blink by Phil Porter provided the most enjoyable evening I’ve had at the theatre for years. It was beautifully written, intricately weaving a story of love, loneliness, loss, grief and vulnerability through dark and original comedy – and all in one and a quarter hours. A two-hander, the performances of Lizzy Watts and Thomas Pickles were superb. I was impressed particularly by their skilful use of the props which, like the set, perfectly fitted the play and the space.

Letter Published in Writing Magazine

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Look out – if you are so minded – for my letter (as Brian Jones) on back stories on page 8 of the February edition of Writing Magazine, that excellent publication.

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