Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

I have never forgotten an extraordinary documentary I saw on television some years ago about a woman whose life was irrevocably changed when she uncovered some information about her past of which she had previously been unaware. She had been raised in a Welsh Presbytarian family and had happily lived her life within that religious […]


Two days after D-Day, on 2 June 1944, a young English soldier was dug into the ground for protection, just off the beaches of Normandy. Just before he fell asleep, an army comrade beside him asked him what his ambition was. The young man – an architect by profession – replied, “To build a cathedral.” […]


It’s not every day that the telephone rings and the man’s voice at the other end happens to be a legendary composer of film music. But that’s what happened to me yesterday. My home phone rang at 5pm and the caller was none other than John Williams, phoning from the famous Massachusetts music venue Tanglewood where […]


He was the most adored singer of his time, his vocal brilliance bringing him fame and wealth beyond comparison. Before the age of 10, Carlo ‘Farinelli’ Broschi (1705-1782) had joined countless other young boys subjected to that barbaric snip that kept their voices high-pitched, pure, and flexible. As women were barred from taking part in […]


Meat and seemly

01May09

Much to the disdain of my vegetarian friends, I never apologise for the pleasure I derive from consuming food that once lived and roamed the countryside as carefree citizens of the animal kingdom. From time to time I even delight in a little provocative stirring, by averring that animals fulfil their highest purpose by becoming […]


Last Monday, I learned something that I had not known before. I learned it – believe it or not – while visiting a shed on a remote island, almost 1000km north of London in the North Sea.  The shed belonged to an artist living on the island of Bressay, eight minutes or so across the […]


It’s official: I have reached middle age. Kind of.  I say “kind of” because medical diagnoses on the internet are about as reliable as expecting a London bus to arrive on time. Yet, according to http://www.livingto100.com‘s Life Expectancy Calculator – which uses “the most current and carefully researched medical and scientific data” to estimate how […]