On building a new website

On building a new website

We’ve begun again. Taken the website apart like it’s some old toaster, or car engine, some defunct mobile phone, and after spreading its parts out on the floor and kicking them around a bit, turning them over and around for a better look at their slick workings, and giving our head a good shake at our foolishness at some past moments and feeling really rather proud at others, we’ve completely rebuilt it with a mix of new and old parts.

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On Prawns and Greyhounds, Ice Cream and U2

On Prawns and Greyhounds, Ice Cream and U2

I have lots of memories of being a kid growing up in Blackbird Leys in the 1970s, on the outskirts of Oxford, a good number of them marvelous, some of them comic, and several that I’d rather forget because they were just unpleasant, or vaguely criminal, or downright depressing. Blackbird Leys, back then, was a tough place to live, a depressed and often violent council estate. Fighting was pretty much compulsory.

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Fool's Gold

Fool's Gold

When my sister died suddenly a few years back, we all descended on the bank one grey April morning—me, my other mostly estranged sister, my parents, my dead sister’s daughter, and also a lawyer, just to keep us honest. Tracy had a safety deposit box in the floodlit, camera-rich basement and after a lot of key jangling, and huffing and puffing from an embarrassed bank employee, we found ourselves alone with that smudged steel tray, that shallow box of her most important bits.

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Taking Stock

Taking Stock

Early Sunday morning and a light snow is coming down on the deck. October 28th and here we go again, though I’m not sure I’m quite ready for it. Sam’s been pulling winter clothes out of the basement for weeks. Baskets fill up with gloves and scarves. I feel somehow far too casual in my approach to the seasons - There must be a sweater in here somewhere - next to all her good organization. It’s feels as if without her we’d all freeze halfway to school.

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On Listening To The Clash

On Listening To The Clash

An older post that still rings true:

A lot of the music made in the U.K. in the late 1970s and early 1980s is more important to me today, looking back, than the friends I had then – David Treacher and Neil Saint and Martin Robinson and Zoe Thomas. I remember their names, and a good few stories (I sport more than a couple of scars from those days), but the names just don’t have much of an emotional pull now. The friendships petered out not long after I arrived in Canada; the music has stayed with me.

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On Being A Punk Rock Star

On Being A Punk Rock Star

Joe Talbot, lead singer of the very special English punk band, Idles, is a complicated character. I say that based on a dedicated run-in the last few months with their two albums and then a fleeting encounter in Toronto. And by encounter I mean that I saw them play an incendiary set at Lee’s Palace to kick off the impressive new record, Joy As An Act Of Resistance, all the noise that night causing bits of plaster to fall from the ceiling like a celebratory confetti.

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Guilt Trip - On Visiting The U.S.

Guilt Trip - On Visiting The U.S.

Back in August, day five of our holiday on Martha’s Vineyard, and the sense of guilt at having crossed the border still making me grumpy. I was trying to think of it as an island off the coast of America, rather than part of the country proper. A hideout populated only by decent people dismayed and embarrassed by their appalling leader. Like Puerto Rico, sorta, only with a fully functioning power grid and ten dollar tubs of yoghurt.

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