Why Doctor Who is Better than Growing Up

I remember the first time I ever saw Doctor Who. My father told me there was something coming on the television I ought to watch, because he'd enjoyed it when he was a kid, and I remember thinking I wasn't likely to get much out of something as ancient as that. But I watched all the same, and from the first moment I was spellbound. I must have been very young, because Tom Baker was still the Doctor. He went to Paris, where an alien who had a machine that could speed up time and age people was … [Read more...]

Dear Suzanne Moore, Here’s One Rule For Managing Your Arse: Stop Talking Out Of It

Oh boy. For anyone who doesn't know the background, and finds that title a little brusque, let me fill you in. Suzanne Moore is a well-known feminist columnist. She wrote an article in The Guardian today entitled '10 Rules For Managing Your Penis". "Recent news stories involving sexting, wine, toasters, politicians and penises indicate some men need a refresher course," Ms Moore chirped, "so here are my 10 rules for keeping your penis out of trouble". Ho ho ho. Cue the outrage. Misandry, … [Read more...]

The Great Gatsby-blanca

Poor Jay Gatsby. If you're having girl problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one. What with everyone talking about the new Leonardo di Caprio film of The Great Gatsby of late, I decided I'd reread the book instead. And reading about poor old Jay Gatsby and Jordan Baker and all the rest for the first time in 20 years, in occurred to me that Hollywood didn't really need to spend all that money and razzmatazz on a new movie. Because it already made the best … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling

The Cuckoo's Calling by J.K. Rowling (as Robert Galbraith) ★★★★★ It was a clever idea of J.K.Rowling's to publish this book in secret, under an assumed name. Because The Cuckoo's Calling is all about identity -- and specifically the way in which we mistake people's real identities, especially where the famous are concerned. Of course, on one level it's blindingly obvious that it's a book about identity: it's a whodunnit, after all, a detective story in which we are supposed to keep … [Read more...]

The Return of Al-Qaeda: why we should be worried about jailbreaks in Pakistan and Iraq

So, just over a week since the Al-Qaeda Jailbreak in Iraq, now we have the Taliban Jailbreak in Pakistan. It doesn't take much to tell that this was no coincidence. No, what it means is that, far from being a spent and broken force, the Al-Qaeda movement founded by Osama bin Laden is alive and dangerous. Eight days after spectacular raids by militants on two prisons in Iraq freed 500 inmates, among them some of the most dangerous Sunni extremists from the civil war, comes a remarkably … [Read more...]

Wikileaks: the World’s Worst Travel Agency

So, is Ed Snowden going to make it out of Moscow airport? As I write, he is still holed up in the transit section, a month on from his hopeful arrival, waiting for some paperwork that will let him enter Russia. That's a pretty poor result, given he never wanted to enter Russia in the first place. He must be wishing he'd never travelled with Wikileaks, the world's worst travel agency. Want to fly from Hong Kong to sunny Venezuela? Fly Wikileaks, and you'll get to spend a month in Moscow … [Read more...]

A Modest Proposal; or why Britain’s Next King should be a Watermelon

Today seems an opportune moment to resuscitate a vital movement for the future not only of Britain, but I would submit, that of the entire world. I should like to make a humble submission: that when Queen Elizabeth II eventually passes on, we should replace her with a watermelon. No one can deny that Elizabeth has made a generally excellent job of being Queen, but I can’t help feeling that the peculiar requirements of the role could be equally well fulfilled by a watermelon. Yes, yes, … [Read more...]

What’s so cool about Rolling Stone?

There's one thing I don't get about the furore over Rolling Stone's cover photo of the Boston bomber, Dzokhar Tsarnaev. I get why people are furious at the idea the magazine might glamourise a man who killed and maimed the innocent. I get that it's a disgrace to make some one who casually murdered an eight-year-old boy look like a rock star. But what I don't get is why anyone thinks that photograph makes Tsarnaev look good. There he is, staring out of the magazine in soft focus, hair wild and … [Read more...]

Apocalypse UK: Warmwave of Death

There are times in life when you feel you must have been born in the wrong place. It's happening to me this week in London. All around me people are shaking their heads and sighing, declaring that it's "sweltering", "baking",  "too hot to breathe", that they are "dying from the heat", that they can't sleep at night. The government has issued a Level Three Heatwave Alert. MPs are calling for people to be given time off work because of the devastating heat. And the temperature? A mild and pleasant … [Read more...]

Madness in Taksim: how the people brought flowers and the police answered with water cannon

They came in peace, bearing flowers for the dead. And the police answered them with water cannon and clubs, tear gas and rubber bullets. What new madness was this? In Taksim Square today Recep Tayyip Erdogan's police turned a peaceful, non-violent protest into a night of mayhem. As I write, police are chasing protestors through the back streets of Beyoglu, usually one of busiest night life areas of the city, tear gassing bars and restaurants, and terrorising people in their homes. Huge … [Read more...]