Category Archives: Film and TV

This week I’m drinking. . . . sweet vermouth on the rocks with a twist

Cocktails are a lot of work, aren’t they? They require precision, in fact making a cocktail is much more like baking than say making a stew. If you don’t get the proportions right, it’ll taste all wrong. If you’re doing … Continue reading

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Why I love wearing a tie

This is something I wrote last year for Boisdale Life magazine: I owe my high flying career in publishing to the tie. It was the early 00s and I was a lowly PR assistant at Hodder & Stoughton. I’d been … Continue reading

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This week I’m drinking. . . . a very nice South African Chenin

In Blackheath there are two clothes shops: one caters for Richard Hammond, all expensive jeans and mid life crisis leather jackets, and the other for James May. I often wondered who is buying all the paisley, surely even millionaire former … Continue reading

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Jonathan Meades – the Plagiarist in the Kitchen

The tributes to AA Gill who died earlier this year tended to focus on his humour, his famous rudeness, and his ability to write movingly about those on the margins of life. But for me what made him compulsively readable … Continue reading

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SS-GB – The Hoarse Whisperer

This is a slightly longer version of something that appeared in the TLS a couple of weeks ago: Typical, you wait years for a World War Two counterfactual drama and then two come along at once. In 2015 Amazon launched … Continue reading

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Nelson, Marsala and the Mary Whitehouse Experience

I wrote something for History Today magazine on perhaps my favourite place in the world, Sicily, and Marsala, its rather forgotten fortified wine. There an extract below which you can click on it to read the entire thing. This probably dates … Continue reading

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Why writers love booze (and it’s not just because they’re often drunks.)

So closely are some of the giants of 20th century literature associated with alcohol that modern readers might think that a serious booze habit was once the equivalent of a degree in creative writing from Iowa or UEA. It’s not … Continue reading

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