What I’ve been reading: Atwood/Coe

Read what I thought of them here – Librarium 2017


Born in 1961

Today is my birthday. I thought I’d mark the event by looking at who else was born today; it turns out I couldn’t find that many inspiring September 27thers (apart from Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, Filth and The Acid House), so I switched to others born in 1961. This produced a much more interesting list. The gender balance is rather off, but………… here’s my Top Ten of cool 55 year olds.

10. Ricky Gervais. Comedian, actor and animal rights supporter hailing from Reading where I spent my early twenties. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but often brilliant.

9. Tom Ford. Fashion designer, film director, creator  of  sublime perfumes.

8. Bill de Blasio. Mayor of New York City. I love this guy’s radical housing solutions. In a city where the locals are increasingly unable to afford rents (much like London), the mayor is building thousands of new homes specifically for low income families. The rent will be set according to the incomes of each individual tenant. Right on, Bill!



7. Alfonso Cuarón. Film director, here by virtue of his work on my favourite in the Harry Potter series, HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

6. Arundhati Roy. Author of The God of Small Things, political and human rights activist, environmentalist, goddess.

5. Barack Obama. President of the USA, saviour of the western world, most gracious and diplomatic citizen of planet earth. And Michelle is great too (though born 3 years too late to legitimately be on the list).

4. Steven Moffat. Film and TV writer and producer, responsible for such gems as Sherlock, Dr Who, The Adventures of Tintin and Murder Most Horrid (and more).

3. Tim Smith. Founder member, guitarist and lead vocalist with Cardiacs, one of the most unique, avant garde, idiosyncratic, fabulous bands of these isles, who I saw live on at least one occasion in the early eighties (precise memories of that era are rather thin on the ground). Try  this ….

2. Julia Gillard. Politician who became the first (and, thus far, only) woman to hold the positions of Leader of the Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition and Prime Minister of Australia.

  1. k. d. lang. Possessor of the most beautiful female voice in the known universe; caramel and cream with just the right amount of pain and despair. Try this ….

    k d lang

Art and Tapas

National Sculpture Prize 2016

On this day last year, I was proudly attending my daughter’s graduation ceremony in scorching Stoke-on-Trent. This year she and her significant other were with me again, this time at Broomhill Sculpture Park in cool for July North Devon, one of my favourite haunts, and only a few miles up the road. The tapas was (were?) excellent as always; even bigger and better if that’s possible.

Here is the work of the ten finalists in this year’s competition. The winner will be announced in October.

Artists’ statements and general information about the sculpture park and hotel are all available on the Broomhill website. Elsewhere in the grounds ………