“I have known many troubles in my life, and most of them never happened.”

Mark Twain


“The future belongs to the few of us willing to get our hands dirty.”

Joseph Tommasi


“Christs may come and Christs may go, but Caesar lives forever.”

Ragnar Redbeard


“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

George Bernard Shaw


“The pompous son of a bitch knows everything – it’s too bad he doesn’t know anything else.”

Philip Roth in “The Plot Against America

Taking an axe to split ends

September 19, 2006

From a recent Amazon mailing:




  • American Hair Metal” by Steven Bush (amazon.co.uk)
    “an extravagantly visual tribute to the 1980s glam rock phenomenon”
  • The Gates of Janus” by Ian Brady (amazon.co.uk)
    “a fascinating look into the mind of a murderer”

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

Anais Nin


Jam today and tomorrow

August 16, 2006

The first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning was Lorne sausage and black pudding, despite the fact that I haven’t eaten either for years. The reason for thinking about them was obvious – I recently re-discovered ‘Scots Cooking‘ by Sue Lawrence. After leaving it unread on my bookshelf for more than five years I’ve started eating my way through the recipes.

Despite a couple of attempts at ‘learning to cook’ over the last couple of years I still eat out most nights of the week (i.e. 6 out of 7). Most cookery books I’ve read have left me unexcited and unmotivated – I simply find the dishes unappealing. ‘Scots Cooking’ is different. There are over 120 recipes and almost every one is both simple and deliciously enticing.

So far I haven’t got much further than the ‘breakfast and preserves’ section so it’s been breakfast pankcakes, scrambled egg and cold smoked venison and, of course, black pudding (I still haven’t found a butcher in Amsterdam that sells decent Lorne sausage). Future treats include stovies, Musselburgh pie (made with rump steak, oysters and onions) and, of course, tablet. This is not delicate food and all the better for it.

The book is written in a clear and informal style. The recipes are straightforward, well laid out and usually prefaced with an interesting and informative anecdote from the author. Finally, I might learn to cook after all.

‘Scots Cooking’ by Sue Lawrence (amazon.co.uk)


'Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style' cover

Despite the pedigree of the author, and the threat of a foreword by fashion dimwit Giorgio Armani (a man who wouldn’t know style if it came round his house and polished his tassled loafers for him), the forthcoming ‘Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style‘ by Richard Torregrossa will be an essential purchase for me.

Throughout the 1940’s, and into the ’50’s, Grant eptomised stylish, sophisticated manhood. If extracts published in the September 2006 edition of ‘Town & Country’ magazine are anything to go by, this book will provide a new level of detail about his enviable and timeless style and how it evolved.

“I got a phone call one day, and the voice on the other end said, ‘Good morning, this is Cary Grant. I am going to send you an evening shirt that I would like a new neckband put on. Is that okay?’ I said, ‘Yes’” When the shirt arrived, Lachter was amazed. “The label in our shirt had the old Prince of Wales coat of arms on it, which meant that the shirt was actually made before Edward VIII became king, probably around 1934 or ’35. Yes, He really did send me a forty-year-old shirt to repair!”
Stephen Lachter (former manager of Hawes & Curtis, London)


“If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning”

Catherine Aird