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.

Page 3 of all posts

The Empathy Delusion

This piece argues that we do not have much empathy, and that even if we had more it would still be a very imperfect engine of moral or ethical behaviour. Read more...

Published

27 December 2017

Filed in

Mind & body

RDN on BBC Scotland on ads’ gender stereotyping

I had a lively outing on BBC Radio Scotland's morning phone-in on the ASA/CAP's crackdown on gender stereotyping. Without much thinking about the Quangos' specific motives and proposals (I will maybe devote time to that exercise) I said quite boldly that whatever stereotypes advertisers promoted, I had never seen any that were more harmful than the culture-crimping, the dreary campaignitis - and, yes the PC Gone Mad element - of the Bossy Liberals who want to censor them. Read more...

Published

14 December 2017

Filed in

Mind & body, Politics & campaigns, RDN's media outings

Jews and design in post-war Britain

The Jewish Museum in Camden Town, London, has put on a revelatory exhibit: Designs on Britain. It’s about the works of Jewish émigré designers who escaped Hitler’s Reich to settle here. Their images and inventions contributed to the upbeat, the witty, the bright - and also sometimes the edgy -  in the day-to-day experience of British people. By the way, the show does not feature the most famous Jewish designer of the period: Abram Games was born in the UK (and has had his own one-man show at the Museum). Hardly anyone, I think, realised or realise just how many Jewish people produced the designs which populated our lives back then. Because I can find no one-stop online bringing-together of this story, here's my rather casuual and amateur attempt... Read more...

Published

14 December 2017

Filed in

Mind & body, On art

Poem: Catching the light

Here, four moments from the 1980s and the 2010s provide the vignettes which I hope convey how an auto-didact skips and slithers, in a hungry sort of way, amongst the wit and wisdom of his betters. Read more...

Published

22 October 2017

Filed in

RDN's poems

Jack Reacher: Mythic hero who travels by bus

This has been been the sunny season when I lay on a lounger and read something like three-quarters of the 20-some Jack Reacher thrillers produced by the Englishman in New York, Lee Child. I think Reacher is a rare - possibly unique - type in the detective thriller, though it is quite common in Marvel comics and movies. In written form it is a story from over 3,000 years ago. It deploys the epic manner in telling stories about a mythic, and partly divine, figure. Read more...

Published

17 September 2017

Filed in

Mind & body, On books, On movies

BBC pay for Talent, and fairness

I was called, but not chosen, as a potential contributor to a BBC Radio 4 current affairs show about the BBC pay disclosures. Here, put simply, is what I would have said (with a bit of explanation below the fold): The BBC ought to organise itself so that its senior current affairs presenters are better and cost less. Its entertainment presenters should matter less to it, and also should increasingly be more cheaply home-grown. Also: is absurd for quite over-paid women presenters to complain that they are not paid as much as grossly over-paid males. No fairness principle worth the name is at stake in the women's claims for parity. Read more...

Published

24 July 2017

Filed in

Mind & body, Politics & campaigns, RDN's media outings

Polite Modernism: Eric Parry & the Other Tradition

What Colin St John Wilson called "The Architecture of Invitation" or "The Other Tradition", I call "Polite Modernism". Its finest living exponent is Eric Parry, who is firmly in the CSJW tradition, both academic and creative. And now he has delivered what looks like an excellent successor to CSJW's British Library, and Denys Lasdun's Royal College of Physicians. Actually, his headquarters for the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers has a decent claim to be the ultimate in the genre so far. After the fold, there's an account of what Polite Modernism is, and how it fits into Brutalism and Modernism, and even post-modernism. Read more...

Published

28 June 2017

Filed in

Mind & body, On art, On books
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