Welcome to the written world of RDN. I am a complicated conservative, and a bit hippy and arty round the edges. I am currently working on poems, a memoir and a one-man show. Over all that is an increasing interest in the idea of spirituality. More »

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Rural idylls: Creative declinism

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On art / On books / Politics & campaigns on 22 December 2016. No comments.

Much – probably most – modern creative work deploys the rural  as emblematic of the fragile world which man has wounded. I want to map some of this rural declinism, and counter it. Oh, and I like much of man’s work in Nature. More »

Rural idylls: RDN’s take on Arcadia

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On art / On books on 22 December 2016. No comments.

The countryside is the repository of people’s dreams. It is the canvas on which they paint their fantasies. In this piece, I look at the way I do it. More »

“SS Fawn”, the Bowyer’s, and the nuns, 1870

Posted by RDN under Mind & body on 11 December 2016. No comments.

This is a story of a steamship, a Carmelite community of sisters, an extended family of Southampton pilots and a German ship-builder, in late 19th Century Southampton and Sussex, Normandy, Kiel, and the Orkneys. More »

Thérèse of Lisieux: A child of Christ, her time and ours

Posted by RDN under Mind & body on 8 December 2016. No comments.

I have been mildly interested in Thérèse of Lisieux for years. Recent encounters with the Carmelite tradition and some Carmelite nuns seemed to make it urgent that I address the rather sneering attitude I fear I had adopted towad “the little white flower”. Here is my best attempt at a reading of interesting work on the saint, some of it old, some very new. (Longform alert: this is a 5,000 word essay.) More »

Poem: Thoughts on a full stop

Posted by RDN under RDN's poems on 15 November 2016. No comments.

This isn’t about me, at least not in particular, and it isn’t gloomy, I hope. I fear it offers advice, which – it might be remembered – comes from a man with little courage and no pretensions to wisdom. More »

Poem: Beech Wood near Henley

Posted by RDN under RDN's poems on 15 November 2016. No comments.

My wife and I house-, chicken-, and dog-sit near Henley. This part of the Chilterns is far deeper countryside than I had ever expected. More »

Poem: Suicide Boy, 1872

Posted by RDN under RDN's poems on 15 November 2016. No comments.

I came across this news story from a local paper about a suicide-by-train  and wanted to mark it in some way. I feel oddly scrupulous about opining too much, or seeming to assume any understanding of the events it describes. More »

Chris Martin on Trump (Or: Fascism, liberalism and karma)

Posted by RDN under Handling protest / Mind & body / Politics & campaigns on 13 November 2016. No comments.

Chris Martin of Cold Play was spot-on when he burst on to Graham Norton’s set and described the karmic moment represented by Donald Trump’s success in being elected President of the United States. Mr Martin said, in terms, that Trump expressed the feelings of millions of people, and that doing so is a refreshing and crucial part of democracy. Dead right. More »

Notes on politics for artsy-liberals

Posted by RDN under Politics & campaigns on 18 July 2016. No comments.

I have posted four linked posts on what bright, educated, nice, liberal-minded and especially young voters ought to do instead of feeling disquiet about Brexit, the disaffected white working class, and the Tories. A brief guide to these brief notes follows… More »

#1 How the centre-left can thrive

Posted by RDN under Politics & campaigns on 17 July 2016. No comments.

In a nutshell: Things look quite, but deceptively, rosy for the Conservatives just now. But against all the odds, the centre-left maintains a strong vote and could – if it made the right moves, and probably because of the support of young arsty-liberals – become the power in the land which Tony Blair always dreamed it might be. Here’s how. More »

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