Shut your eyes and think of somewhere
Somewhere cold and caked in snow Snow Patrol – May 2006
All of winter, and all in one day.
It’s mid-morning on a snowy Thursday, but as troublesome journeys to work might go, I really can’t complain.
Guildford’s white and black night is far behind me, and just a few hours later the snow is screaming past the train as we speed towards Oslo at 200 km/h. No Norwegian dogsled ever made such progress.
Arriving early at my meeting, I’ve a moment to survey the scene.
From the office window, the muffled view stretches out silently into the distance, Oslo peering shyly back at me through the white mist of intermittent wintry showers.
The view down to the railway tracks offers a camera angle perfect for any latterday remake of Anna Karenina, the architecture of this place even more impressive for the white curtain draping all around it. Continue reading →
Science content is a key component of this site, and I may yet return to write that article, but in truth I’ve been struggling with it all week.
As I ran today, my iPod was set on shuffle, taking me to places that I rarely go. And finally it struck me that instead of writing, I should just leave you with this simple message, delivered directly and emotionally by one young singer-songwriter.
It sounds like a conversation on the environment, from my daughter’s generation to mine.
I don’t want to change the world
I’m not looking for a new England
Are you looking for another girl ?
Billy Bragg, July 1983; Kirsty MacColl, December 1984
It might seem a stretch to link political activist and singer Billy Bragg with the new leader of the Conservative Party, but both featured in the news this week.
Billy received a write-up in The Observer for his new book on English patriotism – a decidedly risky concept within the social landscape of modern Britain, fitting entirely comfortably neither on the terraces of Upton Park nor on the East London streets of Bragg’s childhood home in nearby Barking.
And David Cameron was everywhere it seemed, following his début at the Tory Party Conference, where he made that speech – a decidedly risky exercise within the political landscape of the right, fitting entirely convincingly neither in the Conservative Party conference hall nor in the white middle-class streets of Bournemouth which surrounded it. Continue reading →
It’s hot here at night, lonely, black and quiet
On a hot summer night Billy Idol – July 1982
The changes to our weather patterns over the last few years have been gradual, but they really don’t seem that subtle any more. More than anything, there’s a certainty about our summers now which belies all those clichés about the weather in this country.
You only have to look at those once green lawns and fields, all uniformly browned and bleached for weeks now, to realise that southern England has become just another segment of the Mediterranean for a month or two every year. Continue reading →