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Author Archives: Paul

Fifty years since man first went to the moon.

It’s the first real moment in history that I can actually remember. Throughout the 1960s, the whole world was obsessed with space. And yet, once the USA had beaten the USSR to the moon, the “Space Race” slowed down dramatically then fizzled out completely. This despite predictions that we’d all soon be travelling to Outer […]

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Normally, I’d have cycled.

I love to ride my bike, especially on a beautiful day like today, but sadly I don’t enjoy it any more. There’s far less room on the roads now but not because there are more cars. It’s more because cars today are so much wider. Compare the size of the current Mini, Fiesta or Fiat […]

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If only I hadn’t been such a coward.

i don’t mind admitting this because I’m sure I’m not alone: I was always too frightened to play cricket. I played happily in the playground or in the street with a tennis ball but with a real cricket ball? Forget it. Way too hard. I’ve been ski-ing down black runs and regularly ridden a motorbike […]

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I’ve run out of uncles.

I used to have loads. My mum had four brothers and my dad had six. And they were just the real, blood-relative uncles. There were also all my aunts’ husbands and the friends of my parents whom, like any 1970s child, I’d address as “Uncle” or “Auntie”. But yesterday, my Uncle Norman died. He was […]

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Rock’n’Roll becomes an Old Age Pensioner.

Sixty-five years ago today, a DJ called Dewey Phillips on WHBQ in Memphis played a new record by an unknown 19-year-old singer. Just listen to it and it’s hard hard to imagine by it was an instant sensation and the station was inundated with calls for Dewey to play it again. And again. And again. […]

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Cockles and whelks.

I was at the seaside today and, and as always, got myself a little portion of cockles and whelks, soused in malt vinegar. As I walked towards the seafood stall, this song came into my head. Well, just the line “I’m like a one-eyed cat peeping in a seafood store”. It was only then, after […]

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Another lovely birthday.

Gorgeous weather, kind wishes and thoughtful gifts. But the older we get, the more desperate we become for any indication that we’re not ageing as quickly and horribly as the mirror would have us believe. So my favourite bit today was when someone (with patently poor eyesight) asked me whether I’d hit the “Big Five-0″ […]

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The perfect antidote to Glastonbury.

Glastonbury. What’s not to loathe? So smug, middle-class and “establishment”. A bit like the Chelsea Flower Show or Last Night of The Proms. But at least these events and those involved in them acknowledge that they’re solidly establishment. Whereas middle-aged “Glasto” enthusiasts behave as though they’re rebellious and non-conformist. “Ooh, aren’t we edgy? We’ve got […]

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I couldn’t be prouder.

My daughter has just graduated from Cambridge with a First in English from Cambridge University. Words honestly cannot express the pride and joy I feel. Neither can any piece of music. This one, however, has a very tenuous connection. Trinity was her college and a three piece suit is what some proud fathers – though […]

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Shame about Rory Stewart.

Before his almost inevitable elimination, he was the most appealing of the Tory leadership candidates. Offbeat and eccentric, he exuded intelligence, integrity and seemed far less “political” than his rivals. But the real reason I liked him was that his real name isn’t Rory; it’s Roderick. And how good would it have been to have […]

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