Andrew Martin

Journalist and novelist Andrew Martin is the author of the 'Jim Stringer' series of novels based around railways. He has written for the Independent on Sunday, the Evening Standard, the Sunday Times and the New Statesman among others.

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A bloke writes: The barber, my father and a short back and sides

MY FIRST haircuts took place in a north of England barber's shop, where the burble of Jimmy Young could always be heard from the trannie. I waited with my father on a row of wooden chairs, he having taken the Sporting Life from the magazine rack and tossed me a three-year-old Beano. Then one of the two barber's seats would become vacant, the barber would thrash at it with his white towel to clear away the hairs, and I'd nervously step forward.

Football: Charity and faith is Vivas' hope

NELSON VIVAS is expected to make his debut for the Double winners Arsenal against Manchester United at Wembley today as the Charity Shield announces the beginning of the new season for the elite clubs.

Would you trust this man with your crisps?

A bloke writes

Football: Anger at 'crazy' ticket allocation

AFTER the roar of Lens, the silence in St Etienne may be just as deafening, with a mere 2,049 tickets allocated to England fans for Tuesday's second-round meeting with Argentina.

Come on baby, do the locomotive

A bloke writes

Football: Guivarc'h joins the French foreign legion

FRANCE CONTINUED to yield up its talent to the world yesterday as Newcastle and Blackburn moved to secure the services of two of the World Cup host nation's footballing luminaries. Arsenal, too, are lining up a raid across the Channel.

Real man about the house

a bloke writes

A bloke writes: Velvel underground

AS I WRITE I am starkly conscious of two facts: one, I am thirty- five. Two, I have not bought a pop record all year.

Football: Hartson exit puts Europe in doubt

West Ham United 0 Derby County 0

Football: Kamara leaves struggling Stoke

CHRIS KAMARA ended his short reign as Stoke City manager yesterday after recording only one victory in 14 games in charge of the struggling First Division side. The Potteries club's assistant manager, Alan Durban, was appointed caretaker until the end of the season.
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links