Skip to content

Reflections of a working writer and reader



Posts added in January 2008

George Orwell – Bookshop Memories

In this 1936 essay, the novelist recollects working in a second-hand bookshop “on the frontier between Hampstead and Camden Town” and tells how the experience caused him to lose his love of books: Like most second-hand bookshops we had various sidelines. We sold second-hand typewriters, for instance, and also stamps — used stamps, I mean. […]

The Periodic Table by Primo Levi – a review

The doorbell rang – it was a tall, thin young man wearing the uniform of the Italian army, and I immediately recognized in him the figure of the messenger, the Mercury who guides souls, or, if one wishes, the annunciatory angel. In short, the person for whom everyone waits, whether he knows it or not, and who brings the heavenly message that changes your life for good or ill, you don’t know which until he opens his mouth.

The Waitress Calls Me Luvie

The Cafe Andros is not Greek. It has white, smoothly plastered Romanesque, mirrored arches along one wall. Piped music further confuses the senses. They are mainly old folk at the tables, enmeshed in a low buzz of conversation. At one table is a young woman with a baby. When she moves towards the toilet everyone […]

Church of the Arts

Robert Fulford in the National Post discusses why art is his religion. The cons and the pros. . . . we also can’t claim that immersion in the arts will create a lively mind. Art education has produced armies of learned bores. I knew a man who had Shakespeare, Verdi, Beethoven and the rest of […]

Presque vu XXXXI

Tony Blair made a 35 minute speech to 400 millionaire bankers in Las Vegas last week. The ex-prime minister’s fee for the event was £125,000. He urged his audience to support the policies of George Bush’s republican world view. Allegedly the Clinton’s were not too chuffed. * The Tom Cruise indoctrination video that scientology tried […]