The net closes in

Bedfordshire on Sunday reports how a 26-year-old Muslim dubbed an extremist planned to flee the UK to join ISIS but was foiled at the last minute by police. He was caught with what the paper calls a ‘stockpile of equipment’ in preparation for the hazardous journey “including factor 50 sun cream and a mosquito net”.

Service to bank on

Metro Bank

“Do you want a pancake?” David asks my son across a wooden desk. This is unexpected. We are, after all, in a bank. Then again, this particular bank specialises in being different. For a start it is a Sunday afternoon and it’s open and welcoming. There are red lollipops available for sweet-toothed customers and dog biscuits for those accompanied by their four-legged friends. My 15-year-old son is in Metro Bank in Milton Keynes to open his first bank account but the offer of a pancake also extends to my nine-year-old... Read The Rest →

Live and Let Dye

Hair Colour Chart

It is perhaps a symptom of age when, as a man, you reach the point where at least once a month, someone close to you dyes. For today it seems that restoring your hair’s youthful hue or simply changing its colour is no longer a subject for whispered conjecture but has become a socially acceptable part of one’s male grooming regime. Last week I met a friend for a reunion lunch. As I walked into the restaurant I was immediately struck by his transformation. The man known to many of... Read The Rest →

Here We Go

Fade In: Exterior. Day. Misty early morning. Static camera fixed on a winding road in the English countryside. In the distance a dark blue Volvo Estate appears driving towards the camera. It reaches the camera and we see two figures in the front seats. Music fades in: Here We Go by Drew Holcomb. @drewholcomb Cut to: Interior. Car. Day. Music playing. (Here We Go by Drew Holcomb ) DAD is driving. His DAUGHTER (9) sits in the passenger seat. Both staring out of the windscreen, listening to the music. Cut... Read The Rest →

The Magic of Flying

A Vintage TWA twin-prop

The Magic of Flying is a much-lauded, much-awarded and brilliant piece of advertising that mixes technology and imagination in a perfect combination. Not only, of course, is the magic in the execution but also, perhaps more importantly, in the insight; flight captivates people. We often literally dream of flying and it is the superpower most children wish for. And despite the rise of budget airlines, there is still something perceptively glamorous and exciting about flying. It’s romantic, exotic and filled with potential. It’s enduring too. I was captivated when a... Read The Rest →

Christmas Presence


It’s the day after Boxing Day and for some inexplicable reason I find myself at a very crowded LA house party with 28-year old Kesha Sebert, who makes it very clear she intends to party until they kick us out or, more likely, the police (po-po she calls them) shut us down. Even though last night Kesha slept in a bath, she has just removed the dollar symbol from her name to be taken more seriously so I trust her judgment here. Unlike me she is totally at home at... Read The Rest →

Remembering Piper Alpha

Piper Alpha 6th July 1988

  On a regular sweep of my extensive Life collection – mostly stored in the loft – I find seven yellow, variable-priced, London Underground tickets from the early 1980s. Next to them is a book of colourful matches from a now defunct restaurant in Austin Texas in 1994, the stub of an Aeroflot boarding pass and a group of diaries from the late 70s that reveal too many of my days involved riding late, showering, going to town and watching Dallas. Then there is a copy of the Shetland Times... Read The Rest →

Dear Young

I am delighted and intrigued to receive an email from someone called Sopheak Chann. Inexplicably it went straight to my junk folder. It reads: Dear Young, It is in my interest to contact you in respect of a client who shares the same last name as yours. I shall explain in details when I read your reply. You are my first contact, I shall wait for days and if I do not hear from you. I shall continue with my search,Thanks Mr.Chann It is so good it is hard not... Read The Rest →

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