Welcome.

I am a complicated conservative and a Civilised Right-winger. I am a bit hippy and arty. I am currently working on poems, a memoir, and cultural essays. I nurture hopes of doing a one man show. And I am interested in the spiritual.

Latest posts

“Scrap the BBC!”, 2020

In 2007 I wrote "Scrap the BBC!" for the Social Affairs Unit. It was subtitled, "10 years to set broadcasters free". Well, that didn't happen. The next big though interim discussion about the Corporation's future is set for 2022, preparatory for a new charter in 2027. What are the odds of major change within ten years?

I wouldn't bet on it, not with my record. Anyway, a much bigger set of questions arises. How are we to handle the new world of media? Read more...

Published

22 January 2020

Filed in

National Media Trust, On books, On TV & Radio, Politics & campaigns, RDN's media outings

Nature Writing Interrogated

You will find here a free download of a PDF, entitled Nature Writing Interrogated: 5000 years of nostalgia.

It's a longish essay (about 40,000 words) and explores the long history of writing about nature, beginning very roughly with the Gilgamesh epic and romping through to pieces in last month's Guardian. I have undertaken this task because for half a longish lifetime I have been growing in unease about the way nature has always been used as a repository for civilised mankind's regrets and yearnings. My feeling has been that it was ever thus and that in recent decades the result has worked against, rather than toward, a proper appreciation of nature. Read more...

Published

12 January 2020

Filed in

Mind & body, On books, Politics & campaigns

“Rojo” (2018): over-rated

I have not written what follows in the hopes of steering unsuspecting people away from watching this movie. I don't think it's dangerous or really bad. Rather, it bemused me. And then looking around online for reviews of it puzzled me some more. I can't find anyone who didn't rate it. Even Mark Kermode was in line, and he often sniffs out inadequacy and spots awkward quality. It reminded me of the UK's Supreme Court in one of the Brexit cases: there was a unanimity amongst the judges and its main effect was to erode confidence in their opinion. I lightly wonder if this is the arts equivalent: maybe an omerta of wokeness. Anyway, this is written in case someone who didn't like the film does a search in the hopes of finding someone else out there who didn't respond well to Rojo. Read more...

Published

26 October 2019

Filed in

On movies, Politics & campaigns

Hunston Convent and Chichester Free School

Chichester Free School has taken over Hunston Convent, a 19th Century Carmelite monastery to the south of the city, on the threshold of the Manhood Peninsula. It's a brilliant and exciting adventure, since the school is a mint-fresh sort of institution and the convent building was a Victorian classic. The Chichester Carmel, as the Hunston community were known, had roots which go centuries deep, and all over the world. An offshoot of the Chichester Carmel is now to be found amongst the Carmelites of Terre Haute, Indiana. Vestiges of the old convent's fabric have been reborn, and its footprint largely preserved, in spectacular fashion. I hope something of the community's spirit lives on, too. Read more...

Published

14 October 2019

Filed in

Mind & body

Stained glass tourism in Brighton & Hove

I have become a stained glass nut and hunt it down wherever I may. It is a crucial add-on focus for any trips. It is an addition to the spiritual tourism I am prone to as some sort of secular pilgrim. It is worth saying that this can be virtual… Read more...

Published

07 October 2019

Filed in

Mind & body, On art

Liminality: An interrogation

Liminal is a lovely word for what I find a very moving and rewarding set of ideas. Much as I like it, though, I find its use, including even my own use of it, may have got out of hand. This piece explores some of all that. I want to… Read more...

Published

26 September 2019

Filed in

Mind & body, On art, On books

Coastal edginess, a brief history

The coast is an edge, obviously. It's a fringe. The coast is the hem of the land's garment. Being swept or battered by the ebb and flow of tides, it invites thoughts of marginality. These ideas lead rather quickly to the liminal. If you bear with me, we'll get to some of all that. Now that there is a growing tendency for geographers and nature writers to become interested in mindscapes as well as landforms and land use, I fear I am being almost trendy in looking at the coast as a cultural phenomenon. Read more...

Published

11 September 2019

Filed in

Civilised Right-wing, Mind & body

The Liminal Zone: a loose account

If you are reading this, something has made you curious about what liminality might be or mean. This piece discusses what I will call the Liminal Zone. It’s a wide imaginary territory where Loose Liminality roams free. I call it a zone because in 1988 I wrote an essay in… Read more...

Published

10 September 2019

Filed in

Civilised Right-wing, Mind & body, On art, On books

“Howards End”, a reader’s guide

I saw the Merchant and Ivory movie of Howards End and the excellent recent TV adaptation before I dipped extensively into the novel. I had of course known its main themes. I had on my shelves a couple of Forster biographies and had dipped into them. I knew an older generation of literature graduates for whom "Morgan" was a familiar, fussy almost comical elderly figure in the Cambridge of their day and I may sloppily have picked up a little disdain from them. Because a young person I know was put to read Howards End, I thought I would too. That set me on some highways and byways of allied reading. I have enjoyed all this and offer what follows in case it's useful. Read more...

Published

10 September 2019

Filed in

Civilised Right-wing, On books

Poem: A Wedding Poem

I wrote this because I wanted to express a central mystery in the wonderful business of a wedding. It aims to address the way marriage is a way of enshrining people's sense of compatability, which is such a necessary but brave part of a committed couple's life. Read more...

Published

09 September 2019

Filed in

Mind & body, RDN's poems
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