If

The call came in the middle of the night. For each member of the President’s entourage, the message was the same, delivered with military precision: “Get up, get dressed, the President is leaving in one hour.” Hotel rooms throughout Phnom Penh subsequently echoed with a chorus of crisp cotton sheets being whipped back, the sound […]

With a Whimper

It was a marked contrast to the flashbulbs and glory of President Obama’s re-election; on November 15, I awoke at my usual time, 5:30 AM, fed the cats, made coffee, and took out the trash. Then I walked down to the community centre attached to the local Catholic primary school; the sun was not quite […]

The Bittersweet Hereafter

Election Day always makes me think of my grandfather. Had he lived to see this one, he would have been 104 years old; however, I doubt advanced age would have deterred him from going to the polls. I can see him in my imagination: his sparse white hair and twinkling eyes, wearing a neatly pressed […]

Fired Up. Ready to Go.

By the time this essay is published, most people in the United States will be fast asleep. No doubt there will be exceptions: some journalists and campaign staffers will work through the night. Perhaps President Obama will sit in the darkness of his hotel suite with the radio and television switched off while he sips […]

The Desperate Hours

Climate change is no longer a theory. I grew up in a New York suburb which is prim, proper and thoroughly bourgeois: it’s a place that features tidy suburban houses, neatly trimmed lawns and American flags fluttering proudly. While the weather could be wild, I don’t recall it being extreme. I remember one particular rainstorm; […]

A Most Malignant Gathering

Prior to his ascent to the throne, the Roman Emperor Claudius was continually underestimated. He had a club foot, a stammer, was prone to nervous fits and was frequently ill; many of his contemporaries dismissed him as a buffoon, maligned and deformed by nature. The causes of his indisposition are unclear: historians have suggested that […]

Thoughts from the Attic

This past weekend, I doubt I could have been more away from it all: I stayed in a holiday cottage in the middle of Cumbria. When I looked out the window, I could see the mountains rising in the distance, with rolling fields below. On Sunday, the landscape was blasted by wind and streaked with […]

A Small Comfort for Calamity Clegg

It’s very clear that Nick Clegg doesn’t watch “The Thick of It”; in the last episode, the hapless (presumably Tory) minister Peter Mannion (played with expert grumpiness by Roger Allam) is rushed back from a vacuous, cliché laden retreat to address a crisis. En route, he’s offered a selection of ties: he rejects a rainbow […]

I Agree With Unscripted Nick

There are many reasons why we should damn Tony Blair and his minions; the nonsensical and murderous Iraq War, the now-ubquitous presence of closed circuit television in our national life, the exemption for Formula One from tobacco advertising rules, and the ever-widening separation of the Labour Party from the trade unions. However, perhaps one of […]

Farewell, Summer

Autumn usually sneaks in via the back door. Its shadows lengthen on the staircase, and they take ever longer to be dispersed by the dawn. Summer’s glories fade away: the blooms on the clematis fade and die, the trees begin to change colour, shifting subtly from green to green accentuated with a touch of yellow. […]

Me And My Blog

Picture of meI'm a Doctor of Creative Writing, a fiancée, a son, a brother, an uncle, a published novelist, a technologist, a student, and still an amateur in much else.

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