Northern Soul

Dex Drugs and Northern Soul Looking back on a time of youthful excess, at Wigan Casino and Blackpool Mecca’s Highland Room. It’s not often I can pinpoint what I was doing on a given date, let alone one from forty years ago. But I have near-perfect recall for the 23rd of September1973, which is the […]

Everton Goodison Park

Goodison Park Everton The brother of a friend tells a good story about Everton’s football ground. In the days when he worked for a Spanish bank, he decided to take one of the bank’s bigwigs to a European night match against one of the Spanish sides. The fact that it was November 5th and bonfires […]

Northern Soul: A Top Ten

Ten all-time great Northern Soul records. A personal Northern Soul top ten. I haven’t listened to some of these Northern Soul tunes since I was in my teenage spots, preferring as I did to keep moving, though it’s good to hear them again. There were so many truly great Northern Soul tunes (many of them […]

Picasso: Challenging the Spin

A ‘combative encounter’ with Picasso(le) and grovelling art-speak. The National Gallery’s exhibition Picasso: Challenging the Past provided London tourists and many people in Britain with a chance to view a substantial body of work by the celebrated Spaniard for the first (and perhaps only) time. I’m not Picasso’s greatest admirer and I went to this […]

Goya

Francisco de Goya I’m tempted to state that anyone even remotely inclined towards artistic expression will know the pain of compromise, particularly if working with (and in) the media or on commercial commissions. But this is perhaps less true now than it ever was, and here are two of the reasons why: Firstly, to know […]

Andre Agassi

Ode to Andre: An essay, which grew out of a review of Andre Agassi’s Autobiography, ‘Open’. I first saw Andre Agassi play live at the French Open, in 1987. I was keen on becoming a tennis coach in those days, and I already knew about Andre. So when I saw he was scheduled to play […]

Doctor Jack & Calcutta Rescue

Doctor Jack Preger and  Calcutta Rescue remembered. Doctor Jack Preger has a slightly twisted sense of humour and I hadn’t been in Calcutta long before I was on the receiving end. Driving through the city in what was then a twenty six year old Jeep (and for all I know, Jack’s original four-wheeler is still […]

Missionaries of Charity Calcutta

Shishu Bhavan and Mother House in Calcutta / Kolkata remembered Like many others, it was Malcolm Muggeridge’s book about Mother Teresa, Something Beautiful for God, that inspired the first of my two visits to Calcutta, and on the first visit I booked a flight to Delhi because it was a cheaper option than flying direct. […]

Central Library

When I first went to the British Library in London, two of of the most impressive details were: 1: two power points at each desk for library users 2: Comfortable desk & seating, presumably based on an understanding of how humans are supposed to sit. When I revisited the revamped Manchester’s Central Library, the least […]

Durham

Durham University and Cathedral Durham is one of the most gorgeous cities in Britain. In fact, I’ll raise that statement. Durham could hold its own – in good looks and history (per yard) – against most cities in the world. My advice about the best times to visit a given place are defined by the […]

Anfield Football Ground

This is Anfield Years ago I was on the bus to Anfield on European match night when some supporters of the opposing team got on. I think they were with one of the Swiss or Austrian teams – blonde, buff and bronzed, the lads had each bought an England shirt to better suit the big […]