Read through my latest blog posts and feel free to comment on them if you like.



Latest Posts


Posted on 9th March, 2023

Much of my time, at the moment, is not here at the desk but around and about, with talk on the hoof, such is an Election. A girl of eight asked me yesterday "when I can I vote?" I replied, "ten years' time!", which means that her brother has fifteen years to go (unless things change in the meanwhile).

Below the Line

Posted on 6th March, 2023

I find today that the back-bedroom bigots in the local newspaper's comments section include one who calls me "eccentric, incompetent, nascent authoritarian".


Bemused at this, and also by these people who pronounce on Election results two months ahead of polling - they have not been going round to judge the mood, to listen to what people at large have to say.


As it is, most people are content - they do not vote.


Posted on 26th February, 2023

How invigorating it is to look at his work as he saw it. All those hours, daya and more that he started at the objects, the landscapes and the canvass which refracted the retina. At an exhibition, such as the one which continues at the Tate in Southwark until the 15th, one can spend but a fragment of that time in front of the work, such is the press of those upon which he had also worked. The light, the texture - these are far greater than even the best reproductions can convey: the world in an apple, which sounds preposterous but it is true, across a century and more, into these times when, the way that prices are going, he would have had to painted for such food.

Burt Bacharach and Myself

Posted on 10th February, 2023

This sunny morning in Hove, I began to sing "Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa". Well, sing is perhaps, er, pitching it a bit high. A friend pointed this out, and told me of the voice-training method created by Jo Estil.


A matter of opening the mouth wide, this is accompanied by laughing heartily but silenty for a while. The effect was remarkable. Even Burt Bacharach would perhaps have been impressed by the improvement in my tribute to him.


A good thing to do even at less momentous times than his death. As instinct has previously taught me. People said that my voice resonated when speaking in the Council Chamber, and, along the way, I had found that the rolling syllables of "Councillor Janio!" were a good way of limbering up for the addressing of more serious matters.



More on the Door

Posted on 8th February, 2023

I spoke further with the Hove resident who had been rooked, and more, by a locksmith (see yesterday's entry here).


She, too, a hard-pressed nurse, had been looking into it. And she had found that, bizarrely, anybody can set up as a locksmith. There is no legislation about this. These are people who deal in the securing of property. If somebody is criminal enough to charge way over the odds for supplying a lock, what is to prevent that tradesperson from keeping an extra key?


Always be sure to deal with a reputable firm.


As I said, the amount that the resident was charged would have been enough to pay for several nights in a good hotel (although, as it happens, trapped in her home were the very  cards to pay for that and the charger for a cellphone which was down to 1% after a fraught day).

A Tale of a Door

Posted on 7th February, 2023

Aghast, several weeks later, to speak with a Hove resident who found she was locked out of her flat. She got a locksmith from the internet, and was charged £450 to get in. He made up the sum, adding more, as he did the "work": this is a relatively simple task, for which a reputable firm charges £60/80. I told her that she should contact Trading Standards, to alert them to this. It is probably too late for anything to be done (he was paid in cash), but the name should be registered as an offender so that others do not suffer.

Pillar Boxes

Posted on 7th February, 2023

Do others share my fascination with these instances of living history?


How many tons of letters have they contained down the decades? Here in Hove there are some with the embossed, looped letters VR which denote that some time before the turn of the nineteenth century into the next some, perhaps in flowing dressings, small dogs at heel, had strolled towards the sea to post missives? What did that cursive script convey? When did the vogue for black-edged writing paper fade?


There are now some who posit that they will be winched away, which was the fate of their later cousins, the telephone box. Predictions are rarely safe to make. As yet there are sure to be some with the new King's initial upon them - perhaps simply CR, as was Victoria, Edward Vll and George V. Come to think of it, how was the late Queen denoted? Have a look next time you pass by.


Posted on 6th February, 2023

Whate else is there to say? Well, he was variable - and one of his best perfomances was in On the Waterfront. Seventy years on, it has an effect. Many dwell on certain scenes, not least the discussion with his brother in the back of a taxi (the for filming of which Brando was partly absent). It success, though, is surely in the way in which it all hangs together - screenplay, setting, music, performances. The last of these could, in other circumstances, have appeared overwrought but they are carried by Kazan's direction. And credit should be given to Eve Marie Saint - still with us, and working, at close on a hundred. She is the one woman of note in the film, a counterpoint to all those men who given the impression that something is lacking in life is much time goes by without a brawl.


Posted on 4th February, 2023

You mever know what a doorbell might yield. In the space of a few of these, I found tlak ranging from housing associations to rubbish bins, but I also managed to riff something on the subject of eyebrows without raising my in surprise at this (so far as I know).

Another Day

Posted on 3rd February, 2023

Some writing - 650 words in an hour -, a perusal of the poetry of Aimé Césaire, whose apocalyptic view of a town is at some odds with Hove where I later talked at its fabled Tandoori opposite the Library before a late-night viewing of Paris, 13th District which began promisingly but sloughed into monotony (as distinct from stillness), and so it was a relief to turn to the quarter-hour of Lotte Reininger's 1922 take on Cinderella: a sequence of silhouettes akin to stop-go motion with a shocking view of the Ugly Sisters' attempt to make the slipper fit them upon.