British film

For unknown reasons the queue has stalled. It is past three in the morning on London’s South Bank and I am sitting inside the BFI sipping hot coffee and watching a silent, exquisitely re-coloured film of the Queen’s visit to Pakistan in 1961: there she is laughing as she is asked to pick a prize […]

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For Felix (and his parents)

When I am away making myself, missing you, look  to the beech wood on the hill.   That bright door through which the deer slips marks my birth. My young years are the shooting green hawthorn, and the beeches – those steepling beeches so handsome and tall and sheltering are my middle and my age. […]

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“Do you not see?” – the invisible magic of Nigel Smith

Nigel Smith, devoted family man, industrialist, sailor and hill walker, referendum wonk, devolutionist and electoral reformer was the most influential political campaigner you’ve never heard of. He died suddenly at home in Scotland two weeks ago aged 78, unburdened by establishment honours and with little public attention. The list of those who campaigned alongside Nigel […]

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Black and white

While it was going on the decade was entirely ours to describe, one word after another, millions of minute hands hour by hour etching out the character of the island each littoral city, sub-continents. Also, the nature of work in Dublin and Dubai, the unsatisfactory financiers, family life in all its forms the justice of […]

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Obituary, 17 years on

Roddy Scott Compassionate journalist who died filming the Chechens’ forgotten war The Guardian Roddy Scott, who has died aged 31 while filming intense fighting between Chechen rebels and Russian forces in Ingushetia, would have enjoyed the irony that it took the killing of a British journalist to revive international media interest in the ongoing war […]

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The Hague

What do you do if you are the Kingdom of the Netherlands? No inheritance to speak of, only land water then sea water and over 17 million souls squeezed in between. Well, you take nothing for granted. You learn irrigation, navigation and English, you grow cash crops make yourself widely available to trading opportunities, hold […]

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