chosen ones and dark lords and everything in between

To start with, this was mostly about books, and I think it will end that way too. But it begins with a not terribly controversial statement; hero worship is not good. And the greatest figures in the fight for human rights or human progress of…

music in quarantine: march 2020

  This is another roundup of new music that seemed interesting enough to me to check out. Not, you might think, an ideal time to be releasing a new album; and yet, with the majority of music sales, despite the resurgence of vinyl, still being digital…

yesterday was crazy; D’Angelo’s Voodoo by Faith A. Pennick

  Faith A. Pennick D’Angelo’s Voodoo 33⅓ books This review may not be fair to writer/filmmaker Faith A. Pennick and her excellent book, not because I didn’t like it – it’s great – but because since I was sent the book (by now onsale), events…

“Ane doolie sessoun” covid-19 and the art of isolation

  At some point in the late fifteenth century, the poet Robert Henryson (who lived in Dunfermline, not too far from where I’m writing now), began his Testament of Cresseid with one of my favourite openings of any poem: Ane doolie sessoun to ane cairfull…

how it felt to be alive in February 2020

The correct response to the title here is of course it depends who you are and what you did. But anyway; in a February when the big news story was the alarming spread of coronavirus/COVID-19, which history will tell us is either – (a) a…

what January 2020 sounded like

  Despite the portentous title, this is a round up of things I was sent by nice PR people that sounded interesting, since I said at some point a while ago that I’d do this regularly (and why not?) so here they are, in alphabetical…

New Year, New Decade, New…

  A new decade, and the year is flying past already. I intended to write something full of enthusiasm and positivity at the beginning of January, but at that point I was still clumping about in a walking boot and using crutches so it had…

crafting a memory of Christmas

It’s mid-December as I write this and the farmyards, the stately homes and converted stable blocks of rural Fife are aglow with rustic Christmas ‘Fayres’. Leaving aside that I’m clattering around the cobblestones on crutches, what could be more festive and redolent of Christmas past…

messages from the past for the future

  Sitting down to write this, a month after breaking my leg and having to grapple with hitherto-unconsidered questions like ‘how do I usually sit on a toilet’? and one week before a General Election where my preferred of the apparently plausible outcomes is an…