War and Peace by Angela Caldin

The Eurostar train slices smoothly through the flat landscape of northern France on its way to Brussels. The land looks rich and fertile with green fields of potatoes, oats, wheat and vegetables interspersed with the occasional startling yellow of oil seed rape. Herds of placid-looking cows graze near the isolated farmhouses surrounded by hedges. Rows of poplar trees spring up like soldiers from the ground, breaks against the wind that often sweeps over the level land. The only signs of life are teams of workers in white overalls spraying between the rows… Read More

Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster! By Emily Smart

The urban myth, or legend as it is sometimes called, has been occupying my thoughts this week. We all love a good story, be it true or fictious, particularly if it’s about celebrities. Who can forget the tale of Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull and that Mars Bar? Or Richard Gere and his alleged fondness for small furry rodents? Then there’s the ones that have been circulating for years; John Travolta might be gay (massage anyone?), Jamie Lee Curtis was supposedly born a hermaphrodite, and the singer Marc Almond, after collapsing on stage,… Read More

Unaccustomed as I am…By Trevor Plumbly

We’ve all suffered it: the wedding reception when the rumble of small-talk has replaced the clatter of crockery being cleared away. The glass pings, almost politely, and he rises to his feet surveying the seated guests in much the same way as Christopher Lee eyed the maiden’s neck in the old Dracula movies. This is the best man and it’s time for his shot at glory: the speech! He looks confidently at his wife, but rather than smile encouragement, she decides that the tablecloth needs her undivided attention. It’s not a good… Read More

Trevor Tells It Like It Is

If It Bleeds It Leads I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but all the improvements in modern communication haven’t been reflected in the standard of journalism. Whilst I admit that the public attention span has shortened along with the advent of instant access, I still wonder why those of us who prefer a bit of depth in our news are force-fed facile sensationalism with our morning tea. Most of the current crop seems to have graduated from the 19th century ‘penny dreadful’ school of journalism. The front page is strictly reserved for… Read More

It’s Not Me, It’s You by Emily Smart

I am not happy. In fact I am decidedly unhappy. Whilst having a brief look at my eighty four Facebook friends last week – eighty four, that doesn’t sound very many, should I have more, some people have hundreds – I noticed that at least 3 were missing. I have been de-friended, without so much as an argument, an ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ conversation, or even a farewell note. How rude is that?! I updated my FB status that day and mentioned my sorrow and bewilderment at the loss and received… Read More