Mind & body.

I am interested in the idea and practice of spirituality: but it may all be nonsense, and I may be venially corporeal. This category is a bit of a catch-all for posts on subjects ranging from the intellectual (I should be so lucky), to the spiritual (likewise) via the psychological and the creative.

Page 7

Following Sachs’ advice to let go a bit

Oliver Sachs writes beautifully about growing old and, in particular, about his imminent death. The essence of his message in the New York Times is that he remains interested in life and quite cheerful about it, but.... Read more...


20 February 2015

The Anthropocene, Prof Cox, and more

The idea of the Anthropocene has been gaining traction, not least in a spate of books (as exemplified in an FT books review roundup, "Masters of the Earth", 13/14 December 2014). Unfortunately, most takes on the Anthropocene seem misanthropic. Luckily, Professor Brian Cox makes a sort-of exception.  We are alone, and it is exciting. Read more...


19 December 2014

Interstellar (vs Gravity)

There's a lot to like in Interstellar, and much of it has been caught by professional reviewers. I think there are several dimensions (oops) one needs to reckon with. One: is the story a convincing human - personal - drama? Two: is it a good morality tale? Three: is it a good cinematic theme park ride? Four: is its science robust? If you've the patience here's my unpick of some of those, below the fold. Read more...


11 November 2014

War and art on BBC R4’s BH

I had an outing on this Sunday morning show as a paper reviewer (and squibbist on Strictly Come Dancing) and said one thing which may have seemed distasteful. Can I try to put things right here, below the fold? Read more...


02 November 2014

Unique 1945 Hamburg book: the 79th and “Hobart’s Funnies”

In around 2013 I was given a unique, beautiful book, The Story of 79th Armoured Division: October 1942 - June 1945, published  by the unit's officers and men in July 1945 in the ruins of Hamburg, which they had just helped liberate. Since then, I have researched a fair bit and here is what I think I know, or can reasonably guess at.... Update: December 2017 brought a new hypothesis that Broschek of Hamburg may have produced the book (see below). Read more...


17 October 2014

The Britten-Pears Red House experience

At long last I have visited the Britten-Pears residence, shrine and museum which is the Red House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk. It was indeed up there with the Bloomsberries' Charleston, near Eastbourne,;or with Karen Blixen's Rungstedland, near Copenhagen (or her house by the Ngong Hills, near Nairobi). All are places where creative people surrounded themselves with good taste. Above all, the Red House could be compared with the wonder of Kettle's Yard, Cambridge. Both these East Anglian gems are, after all, pilgrimages for the "Soft-Modernism" which the middle classes adopted from their post-war Bohemian leaders in style. In the event, the Red House excelled, and was almost a disappointment too. Read more...


06 October 2014

Bernardine Bishop’s “Unexpected Lessons In Love”

This is a very fine book, and well merits the comparison with the writing of Penelope Fitzgerald, which Adam Mars-Jones drew in his Observer review. It's a comparison as to both classiness and type, and I hadn't made it, which was dumb of me, since I have been reading and loving Fitzgerald.. Read more...


10 June 2014
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