Celebrating Diversity

24th February 2019 4

There is nothing wrong with ‘celebrating diversity’ and ‘valuing our differences’ – it all depends how it is done. Until quite recently, comedy played a major role in this therapeutic process. Our foibles and eccentricities, our traits and national characteristics, all the things that make us different from each other, have long been a rich source of humour. Whether it … [Read on]

Coming of Islamist Age

22nd February 2019 22

Aged thirteen I was fascinated by politics and became a determined socialist. When I received literature from the National Front in Wolverhampton, whom I loathed, I wrote to my MP demanding that he crack down on them. He wrote back, to my mother, condemning the NF for sending literature to, ‘A child of that age.’ I was enraged; his message … [Read on]

We’re so excited – not

30th January 2019 2

“About twenty-five years ago I had an idea for a novel. I had already published three novels, but this one was different. I produced an outline plot and about fifty pages of text. I hawked the project around a dozen or fifteen publishing houses, but I couldn’t raise any interest. I quickly learned why my work was being rejected. To … [Read on]

A Desolation of Learning

29th January 2019 3

When I was on a teacher training course during the mid 1980s, the education academics running the course were cock-a-hoop that the nasty old O level was about to be consigned to history and replaced by the all inclusive, all embracing GCSE, with its A to G grades, all of which were equally worth having. Some of us were suspicious. … [Read on]

Goodbye Sergeant Major

21st January 2019 5

Many will regret the passing of that great comic actor Windsor Davies, whose depiction of Battery Sergeant Major Williams in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum made us laugh till our sides ached. We laughed all-the-more because the character, based on one of Davies’ own sergeant majors during his National Service, was so true to life – as indeed were the … [Read on]

Are you being served?

18th January 2019 5

 ‘What does the ‘plus’ mean?’ I asked the young assistant as I bought a new DAB + radio in the John Lewis post-Christmas sale. ‘I’ve no idea,’ he said smiling confidently. He made no attempt to find someone who did know or look it up on his phone. I bought it anyway, not really knowing what I was getting, good … [Read on]

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