Neil Pearson: My Week in Media

Last week I read...

The glowing accounts in papers of all persuasions of David Cameron's speech to the Conservative Party Conference, more than an hour long and delivered without notes or autocue – welcome proof that a history of mild recreational drug use does not inevitably lead to the permanent scrambling of the brain. Difficult subjects were underplayed – drugs and the Tories' recent backpedalling on the environment were notable absentees – but the change of tone on lone parents was welcome (although, as Alice Miles' beautiful demolition piece in The Times pointed out, the Tories still have a long way to go as far as actual policy is concerned). The realisation that 'you cannot drop a fully formed democracy out of an aeroplane at 40,000ft' seems to have come a little late in the day, though. If only he'd realised that before voting for war.



Last week I listened to...

I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue and The News Quiz on Radio 4's "Listen Again" website. Popular answers to this question, I know, but they're unbeatable. I also listened to Radio 3's world music programme, Late Junction, the most eclectically bonkers radio show since the death of John Peel.

Last week I surfed...

AddALL (www.addall.com/used), the best search engine for antiquarian books I know. Being able to browse bookstores in California from my sofa in London still amazes me. I also spent way too much time on Poker Room (www.pokerroom.com) playing cards, and on Official Poker Rankings (www.officialpoker rankings.com) to see how I'm doing. I also tried to visit the website of Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan (www.craigmurray.co.uk) to read about the Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov's business dealings, but Mr Usmanov's lawyers have had the whole site closed down.



Last week I watched...

Virtually nothing, since I have been working nights – though I did manage to tune in to watch Chelsea getting barracked by their own fans after they failed to score for the fourth successive League match. Happy days.



Neil Pearson, the television and film actor, will discuss his book, Obelisk, at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on Sunday at 10am (www.cheltenhamfestivals.com)

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