Monthly Archives: December 2018

Why posh boys and girls run the Arts

Not long ago, my wife, a composer, asked me if I would ever advise a student from a low-income family to pursue a career in the arts. “What do you mean? Of course.” “Really?” “If that’s what they wanted to … Continue reading

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The defeat of cholera

New epidemic diseases are always terrifying.1 Cholera arrived in Britain in 1832 when Britain didn’t have a medical-scientific infrastructure to cope. Favoured explanations for cholera were Miasma, (roughly, ‘bad air’), moral turpitude and God’s anger. Victorian Britain’s rationalists looked for … Continue reading

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Two priests on holiday in Hawaii

Two priests went to Hawaii on vacation without worrying about stereotypes. When they landed they bought shorts, shirts, sandals, sunglasses, etc. so they’d fit in. An attractive holiday maker, dressed in a bikini, said ‘Good Morning, Father. Good Morning, Father,’ … Continue reading

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Book Review: Sven Hassel ~ The Commissar (Translator Tim Bowie)

Sven Hassell is very controversial in Denmark where his ‘fact based semi-autobiographical’ novels have been scrutinised and found to be (astonishingly!) fiction. The style Hassel writes in does lead the reader to believe that there is an underlying truth hard … Continue reading

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The Drug Culture

Ray H

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Russian police for hire

…in modern Russia it is sometimes difficult even to know if you are working for the gangsters. The assassination of organised-crime boss Vasily Naumov in 1997 came as a particular embarrassment to the St Petersburg police when it emerged that … Continue reading

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Hackney DLO

In 1965 I was employed by the Hackney Direct Labour Organisation (DLO). I enjoyed being one of their plumbers. It wasn’t a prestigious position but aged twenty one I only wanted a steady reliable income. The talk in the building … Continue reading

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