Tuesday, March 21, 2017


"Double, double toil and trouble. 
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble." 

It didn't end well for Macbeth, did it? 

And yet, jesting apart, I do find myself obliged to think about the 'news bubbles' in which I feel comfortable. How very often in this blog there are references to something I've read in The Guardian. This surely evidences my personal preference for an information source which is politically of the centre left. I listen daily to BBC Radio 4, a channel often accused of having a comparable bias. 

Am I not, therefore, filtering my news as rigorously as any American watching Fox News or subscribing to the Breitbart feed? I am far from sure what conclusion I should draw in this regard. Perhaps being sure about anything is an anachronism in our twenty-first century 'post-truth' world.

I mean, Brexit might not be a complete catastrophe in which 'alternative facts' are added by the witches to the other repellent ingredients tossed into the cauldron!

Monday, March 20, 2017


"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade." So wrote Charles Dickens in Great Expectations.

My expectation, as the Vernal Equinox is upon us, is that there might soon be a tentative greening of the trees in Hohenzollernplatz and that the wind will not blow too cold to make whiling away time in a sitooterie uncomfortable.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Harry Bingham

I wonder why I didn't discover Harry Bingham and his creation, Fiona Griffiths, earlier. In 2010 he was quoted in The Guardian making clear his opinion about self-publishing.

"What on earth is it that publishers do? They don't write books, nor print them. And if they do edit them, then sometimes you'd be forgiven for missing their input. They are, you might think, functionally useless. "Why don't publishers," asks Harry Bingham in this purportedly timely eulogy to capitalism, "just tiptoe silently from their office, leaving a list of useful phone numbers taped to the front door?" Bingham is a good person to answer this question. He's a reformed banker who now runs the Writers' Workshop, a consultancy for first-time authors."

Then in 2014 The New York Times reviewer seemed impresssed by Bingham's own fictional creation, his unusual young Detective Constable.

"When she surfaced in Harry Bingham’s Talking to the Dead, Fiona Griffiths was a rookie on the South Wales police force who had more psychological quirks than most of the head cases she met in the line of duty. But the intensity she brought to the job made her a most intriguing, if peculiar, detective. Although his volatile protagonist certainly dominates the first-person narrative, Bingham doesn’t stint on plot (very complicated), procedures (very detailed) or action (very brutal). There’s also a satisfying dimension to secondary characters like Fiona’s father, a strip-club owner who was once 'Wales’s most successful criminal'. And while Fiona’s clean-cut boyfriend is a bit of a dope, a universally feared superior officer, known as the Ice Queen, is... well, cool."

Fi Griffiths has also made it to the cinema screen, it seems. But my belated discovery was thanks to BookBub, the site which suggests titles available free or costing not more than EUR 0.99. The consequence has been that (in spite of my determination to be punishingly frugal this year) I have bought a second and third book from the series at the normal listed price.

One more time...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Ides of March

A reader of The Guardian...
"I see now that Westminster-style democracy just doesn’t work for Scotland and never can. I passionately want Scotland to remain an open, tolerant nation within the EU, and I am ashamed and sickened by the ugly face of British nationalism that has recently revealed itself."

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Owen Jones in The Guardian makes some damn good points...

"The Conservative party has plunged this country into existential crisis. Britain’s internal divisions may not have been invented by Cameron – the sense of abandonment, decline and general disillusionment felt by many of Britain’s communities long pre-date the Cameroons – but both Cameron and his successor are chief architects of Chaotic Britain. And even that name may have to change if a significant portion of the population opts to flee the union."

Monday, March 13, 2017

Here we go again

The article by John Harris in The Guardian addresses the question posed in the headline.

The Quartz newsfeed notes that "Nicola Sturgeon insisted the British government was given every opportunity to compromise with Scotland over Brexit. She criticized UK prime minister Theresa May and her government for failing to negotiate the terms of the exit from the EU with Scotland. While May has suggested special deals to protect the benefits of EU trade for car manufacturers and other key industries, talks about special relationship between the EU and Scotland have been met with a 'brick wall of intransigence,' Sturgeon said."

Saturday, March 11, 2017