“How do you deal with writer’s block?” This question is often asked of authors, screenwriters and playwrights but what exactly is writer’s block? According to Wikipedia. writer’s block is: “a condition… in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown.” I am an author of a published novel, […]
A tasty treat for a holiday weekend (or any time really!)
I was working in Moscow in 1996-1997, and remember the utter destitution of the place, the old babushkas who’d won the war against the fascists stripped of their pensions and left to stand in two feet of snow, lined by the dozen outside metro stations, selling bootleg vodka.
The Channel asylum seekers are a composite group: many are escaping armed conflict or persecution. Others are escaping poverty or dreaming about a better life. There is no difference, in this respect, between them and the large number of British and European migrants that have shaped world history.
Many of us have had events postponed or cancelled because of the coronavirus. Many more events have been moved online. Now one organisation based in Hexham, Northumberland has come up with a different approach to hosting online events. North East Bylines mentioned this venture as part of an earlier article, and I wanted to know […]
Do you know the story of the man who jumped off the top of the Empire State Building? As he passed open windows on his way down the people in the rooms heard him saying ‘so far, so good’. That story came to mind when I drove along the A69 and came across the ‘Give […]
Years ago (in the last century) I attended a conference at Lancaster University on arts and the environment where I met ‘artivists’ from Platform, a London-based collective of artists, educators and researchers who were undertaking extraordinary projects such as ‘Unravelling the Carbon Web’, which partly consisted of Platform members walking around all BP establishments including […]
Democracy is not democracy if the electorate does not have a chance to change its mind. I and many others were denied the opportunity to vote in the 2016 referendum simply because of our age.
Government A-Level debacle symptom of incoherent approach to data, and the opportunity this presents the North East
Everything about us is being stored as data and used in so many ways. This can be good for the services we receive as long as the government takes the right steps to protect us from misuse of our data.
This government made 11 U Turns on their own policies in the last 14 weeks. Whilst many of these have been welcomed, why did they get it so wrong in the first place? It does not inspire trust.
Cycling is a way of being considerate to your community, as it reduces pollution. And this is linked to another current issue: there are times when pedestrians and road users would be well advised to wear facial shields such as masks.
What is Democracy? Democracy is about giving the people a say. Not being told what to do, but having their views represented. The conventional way to do this is to have a parliament with people’s views represented by the candidate who gets the most votes in an election. Parliamentary Democracy In the UK, our parliamentary […]
There has been a rise of the far right in the last few years. Somehow it has become the new normal: acceptable and even respectable
We also have wider body language to help us decode how someone is feeling. For example, you don’t need to see someone’s mouth or even hear them speak to know if someone is bored. The fact their body is slumped over with their head in their hand tells us all we need to know!
The head of Ofqual, Sally Collier, has resigned today. This follows the turmoil around the A level and GCSE results this year. Originally A level students were given teacher assessments in place of exams. This was replaced by the use of a controversial algorithm based mainly on two key factors: the student’s prior attainment (in […]
A review of Jane Eyre (2011 film) I must confess to being something of a Jane Eyre fan and so I was surprised that I had missed this film adaptation at the time when it came out. I first read the book aged 12 when I was at school. I remember the book: a rather […]
Thoughts on the first August since 1947 without the Edinburgh Fringe.
As a kid in Italy in the late 1970s, I fell in love with a country called ‘Inghilterra’. This word translates as ‘England’, but at that age I was not aware of the four countries that make up the UK nor of the political issues amongst them. Inghilterra was the country of my favourite British […]
A personal reflection on a protest On Tuesday 18th August I joined a protest outside Chequers, the country residence of the Prime Minister of the UK. The group was there primarily to draw attention to the Russia Report. So much for taking our sovereignty back! In the words of Dominic Grieve QC, former attorney general […]
One in three companies expect to make redundancies by the end of September.
We didn’t set out to become Brefugees. What happened to us may well become more and more common as the UK’s Brexit recession sets in.
A contemporary review of Alan Bleasdale’s 1982 television series. Is it relevant today?
Gail Ward is one of the foremost activists in the UK on disability rights. She has an impressive CV when it comes to both raising awareness of the issues at hand, as well as fighting and winning battles on behalf of disabled citizens like her across the UK. She is currently standing for the position […]
Many commentators currently believe that ministers are scapegoating PHE for their own failures.
Today it was announced that the controversial ‘algorithm’ which decided A-level and GCSE grades would finally be abolished. This is a huge U- turn from the Westminster government. The algorithm was initially used as a way of standardising this year’s A-level results and was based largely on a student’s prior attainment as well as a […]
Education should be an essential part of a thriving vibrant democracy. However, on Thursday 14th August when A-level results were released this concept was in question. I had the opportunity to join a student led protest outside both Downing Street and the Department of Education on Friday 14th August. My daughter is scheduled to receive […]
Algorithms have been mentioned a lot in recent days. We hear that it was an ‘algorithm’ that was responsible for the ‘downgrading’ of A level results this year. In fact, there is nothing wrong with an algorithm. Of itself it is neutral. Neither good nor bad. Let’s take a closer look. Firstly, what is an […]
Local residents from the North East held a socially distanced night vigil outside the Nissan factory in Sunderland (Washington) on Friday 14th August at 9.30pm. The group is concerned about the effect of a No Deal Brexit on industry and jobs throughout the North East and particularly at the Nissan plant in Sunderland. Members of […]
On military philosophers and mercenaries Two striking discussions of Dominic Cummings have described him as a ‘mercenary’. The Newcastle social scientist and child poverty expert, the late John Veit-Wilson, commented in the Guardian that “it has long seemed obvious that Cummings was a highly articulate chancer and mercenary for neo-liberal US billionaires.” A reviewer of […]
The culture and hospitality sector is in danger. Many theatres have a limited number of months, or weeks before they completely run out of funding. Pubs that employ musicians to draw in punters are struggling badly and some are closing for good. People who work in the arts sector are finding themselves with little or […]