A Descent Into Darkness

It was the beginning of 2007 and life ambled along until the darkness struck, creeping up on me like a dense black cloud and then raining down on me, upon which my world was turned upside down for good. I was thirty-four years old, still single, and wondered whether I was destined to be a […]

I Aspire to Be Downwardly Mobile!

William Styron, in his wonderful short story, Shadrach, describes how his young ten-year-old protagonist loved the Dabneys because they were happy to bask in “casual squalor”, possessing a total absence “of the bourgeois aspirations and gentility which were my own inheritance.” This inheritance is ours also, every Briton’s, Thatcher’s free market crusade and promotion of […]

Putin’s Dark Imperium

I’ve had a passion for Russian literature since I was a teenager. Its grand themes of murder and redemption were always going to hold more appeal to a troubled adolescent than the airs and graces of yet another Austen novel – I pray the British people tire of her soon! – and after reading too […]

The Equality and Humanity of Communal Showers

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks gave his Thought for the Day yesterday on BBC Radio Four. His principal observation was the crucial sanctuary which places of worship provide from the demands of a success-obsessed modern world. It might matter what car you’re driving or what brand you’re wearing outside a church, mosque or synagogue, but once inside […]

What Does it Mean to be a Man Today?

I’m due to become a father soon, and the following question is becoming increasingly pertinent in my mind: what does it mean to be a man today? As a young boy, I imagined that I’d make myself into a man by being rational, analytical, controlled, steadfast and independent. I would exercise these uniquely male characteristics […]

Miami, Miami!

Miami … what a place! And the people that live here … they are so affluent. This is the impression I get as I sit in a cafe on the opulent Ocean Drive sipping on a pina colada no less, and watching an impeccably dressed middle-aged man stroll towards me, the picture of material success […]

The Tabloids Bay for Blood

There was something deeply troubling in the recent tabloid coverage around the murder of Joanna Yeates when police called in her landlord. One red top argued that because he, Chris Jefferies, had a penchant for the avant garde – for literature and cinema which was deliberately obscure, challenging and unorthodox – this pointed to his […]

The Readers

My wife, an artist, took me to a performance of The Readers in Hackney the other night, an avant-garde performance art group led by two contemporary artists Ramon Salgado-Touzon and Jones Tensini. “What do they do?” I asked her dismissively, on the way to the venue. “Well, it’s hard to explain,” she replied. “They’re specialists […]

It’s Us Against Them

Fan the Flames, No. 6, Dec 2001 Wednesday 12th September 2001 I’m in my car on my way to work. I won’t forget this day. Why? Because the day before was one of the worst days in American history. I switch on the radio and listen to the Today programme on BBC Radio Four. John […]

The Limitations of Lying on the Couch

Human Givens, Vol. 9, No. 2, Summer 2002 I want to recount my experience of psychoanalysis in the hope that I can determine exactly how effective and therapeutic it was for me. Did it alleviate my mental distress? Did it make me feel less miserable? Did it make me happier? I do not conduct this […]