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Literary Tours, Interesting People and Places

August 01st 2017

Last week I stayed in Oxford to attend the launch party of Fairlight Books, my new publishers, held at Blackwell’s Bookshop on Broadstreet in the centre of the city. If you’ve not visited the store it is a treat for any book-nut and is very much an Oxford institution. It is located next to the […]

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Good grammar is more than a life skill, it makes good business sense

March 09th 2017

I was talking to someone a few days ago who informed me that their child was being taught about subjunctives and gerunds at primary school. This is proof, perhaps, that Mr Gove’s tenure as the Government’s Education Secretary was not entirely wasted, despite bleatings from teachers about yet more changes to the national curriculum. It […]

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The Miner Who Would Be A Gannet

March 03rd 2017

A short story: Gannet: Sula bassana. Very large seabird, cigar shaped with a six foot wingspan. Narrow, black tipped wings and a white body with ochre head. A superb, graceful flyer, prefers open sea except when breeding. Dives from a great height to catch fish. “When thou going to get ‘itched then Tommy?” one of […]

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Will it snow this winter?

November 11th 2016

Preamble: I wrote this piece for my ‘Radio for the Blind’ recording on 01 November, my predictions appear to have been prescient as we had a heavy fall of snow this week.  Well we are heading for it now. The clocks have turned back and I have lit my open fire, as I write the […]

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When manners obscure meaning

September 03rd 2016

I came across this piece of dialogue in Scott Fitzgerald’s great novel, Tender is the Night. Dick Diver, one of the central characters, says: “Good manners are an admission that everybody is so tender that they have to be handled with gloves. Now, human respect – you don’t call a man a coward or a […]

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My bid to be Prime Minister of Yorkshire

June 28th 2016

I know this is not the end of the referendum debate by a country mile but it is time we just stopped expressing our anger, horror, surprise, joy or whatever emotion June 23 stirred in us and thought about the future. Looking back is pointless, it is time to look ahead and seize what opportunities […]

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Beware Content Blindness

May 10th 2016

The communications industry is obsessed with ‘content’. In layman’s language this means copy and visual material for websites, blogs, social media sites and internal briefing documents. There is an overload of ‘content’ and therefore a greater need for brevity and conciseness. Engaging audiences among the tsunami of non-stop communications has become harder to achieve and […]

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What’s in a name?

March 19th 2016

From the early stages of writing my first novel I had decided on the name, ‘The Windelton Absurdities.’ I felt it accurately characterised the absurd, outlandish and hilarious roll call of inhabitants and place that is the imaginary, small Yorkshire town of Windelton. So why did it end being called ‘Hidden Lives’ you might ask? […]

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Understanding audiences

March 11th 2016

It is stating the obvious that different subjects will require different pace and tone; writing about an insurance policy needs a more serious treatment than say, a pair of Levi’s (although some may disagree), but understanding the motivations of your audience remain paramount. It is all too easy to forget when messaging, whether it be […]

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