An adapted chapter from my debut novel — Chalk Face — this story was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize 2020.
‘Sorry Miss, didn’t see you,’ Charlie says cheerily as he bumps through the door, head returning to level from slugging a Red Bull, nearly walking into her.
‘Allow me some of your drink,’ Danny asks as he swings his bag into Charlie and clouts him round the back of the knees.
A little shake of the wrist, assessing how much is left. ‘Sky it though,’ he says and hands it to Danny, who tips his head back ninety degrees like…
Perhaps it’s a fluke, but it does seem extraordinary that the rising pressure over Brexit has coincided with the rising movement about climate change.
One wants us to take a hit on our standard of living in order to deliver on some internal ideal of sovereignty. The other wants us to take a hit on our standard of living to save the lives of millions of people and sustain the future of an entire planet. I know which side I want to be on.
Speaking to my mum earlier, a woman who lived through WW2 and was campaigning for Greenpeace…
“Stay you imperfect speakers, tell me more” — Macbeth, Act 1 Scene iii.
Just a day or two before Christmas, with Parliament broken up in all of the ways, I sat one night having a nightcap with an old friend who has spent his life much closer to politics than I have, with extensive time in the senior Civil Service and inside Number 10 too.
‘We must respect the democratic will of the people.’ So said Chancellor George Osborne this morning, after just shy of 52% of the 72% of the British population voted to leave the EU. A vote was held, the results were counted, and the fundamental principle of democracy requires that we respect the decision.
But what if what we have witnessed wasn’t actually the highest form of democracy, but a low facsimile of it? As our country tears itself apart, and is ravaged by financial markets, should we blindly demand that the will of a slight majority of those who…
OK, finally, after two years of writing, GETTING HIGH will be published mid-April 2016!
I know, I know… It’s a book that’s been a long time in gestation. I actually finished a full draft a year ago. I’d also written and presented a 30 minute meditation on flight for BBC Radio 4, and in the course of that a literary agent had got in touch to say how much she’d enjoyed it.
When I told her it was based on a book that I was writing she jumped at the chance to read it, and really loved it. But……
For Baltimore and Ferguson: some lessons from the Tricksters
What should the response be in the face of systemic injustice? Should black people be on the streets protesting, or sitting peaceably at home working on letters of complaint?
At a recent event in Belfast — a city that has had its own fair share of troubles in recent times — I gave a presentation on the idea of ‘trickster,’ and how this relates to a political theology of radical activism.
I’m no expert in the situation in various cities in the US, nor am I in any way able to…
‘What kind of persons do we need to be to live in harmony with others?’
The blood that was brutally shed in Paris 10 days or so ago has opened a wound from which raw words, feelings and emotions have flowed. In the initial smarting pain of such a callous attack, some of this reaction was reflexive, full of expletive, some of it roared at piercing volumes at the horrible agony, some of it went too far in all kinds of directions.
It’s when the levels of adrenaline begin to ebb that the real pain, deep and constant and thudding…
As part of a New Year’s Eve party I was asked to contribute a ‘review of the year.’ This was the hour’s stab I took. Apologies in advance for the shifting meter and some awful rhymes. Read aloud after long application of wine and gin.
Each year that passes becomes the past
Events we hold dear, that we’re sure will last
Oh-14, for an hour or two yet
has been who we’ve walked with
and talked with…yet
Seamlessly as three hands all pass twelve this year-long present will be placed on the shelf and we’ll pass our hands too to…
A friend of mine just got a Kindle. He loved it enough to announce his love on Facebook, going on to admit that, in his new love:
I have realised I am basically one of those born-agains who think they are the first people to ever use an ebook.
This prompted a re-run of the well-worn debate on e-readers: those who love the smell of old books, those who want the convenience of portability, those who apparently still read paperbacks after they’ve been dropped down the loo because they’d survive and there’s no way a Kindle would! …
Though you’re probably blissfully unaware of it, there’s been some furore in various small religious ponds about Rob Bell. Once a pastor of a ‘megachurch’ he jumped/was pushed in the fall-out over his book Love Wins, which dared question the doctrine of hell. He subsequently moved out to California and now has a show on Oprah’s network.
I’ve hung out with Rob, and he’s a nice guy. His work with Oprah feels very much in the gooey-spiritual area of self-help, to which I’d normally shrug and get on with life. But then someone shared this video.
It’s a 2…