How did that happen, asks Oscar Quine
Johnnie Walker Whiskey
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Sunday 24 January 2010
Last stop on my Tintin tour of the country. We landed on the beach in Barra in a twin-prop plane. It's an exhilarating ride and apparently the only scheduled flight in the world that uses such a landing strip. The tiny airport building was buzzing with activity for the only plane of the day and we were given a wonderful welcome. This must have been what travel was like before we all had to have our underwear scanned. Mind you, it wasn't long before I was standing in front of complete strangers in my pants. Like Tintin, I had changed into a kilt on the plane to "blend in". It soon became clear, however, that I had not put it on correctly. Two smiling ladies in high-visibility jackets who had greeted us at the door to the airport, beckoned me into an office. There I was told in no uncertain terms to take my kilt and sporran off. As I stood in my pants, the kind ladies put my kilt back on correctly. "Welcome to Barra," they laughed hysterically. I loved this island already.
Thursday 21 January 2010
For years it has tormented him and delighted opponents. With Geoff Hoon back in the spotlight, so his unflattering nickname, "Buff Hoon", has once again sprung to the fore. And now, it appears the origin of the former cabinet minister's moniker has been found.
Thursday 03 December 2009
Ah bwaah bah habbab. Hang on, start again. Bwwhaaabwabab darrbba bubbua.
Monday 30 November 2009
Friday 27 November 2009
A student who was warned that he might be sent to prison for urinating on a war memorial was instead given community service yesterday.
Friday 27 November 2009
There's a rough-hewn, rootsy charm to Mojave Desert-based singer-songwriter Tim Easton's latest album, recorded in Nashville with a band that pairs his former Ohio punk buddies' rhythm section of drummer Sam Brown and bassist Matt Surgeson with multi-talented guitarist Kenny Vaughan, from Marty Stuart's band.
Friday 27 November 2009
Alcohol is customarily a pastime for writers rather than a topic, but Kingsley Amis wrote three jolly books on the subject. Gathered in this volume, his bluff musings ("Vintages – aargh! Most of the crap talked about wine centres on these") made the New York Times bestseller list.
Friday 20 November 2009
Steve Wold, the American bluesman better known as Seasick Steve, is dressed in his usual garb of check shirt and trucker's cap. The title of his recently released fourth album, Man From Another Time, neatly sums up Wold's current musical status, and goes some way towards explaining his success.
Monday 16 November 2009
Friday 13 November 2009
John Steinbeck's Journal of a Novel is a book I've kept on every desk I've written at for the past 10 years. I've rarely opened it when I'm not working on a book, and never when I'm writing well. But on those days when the engine room of a first draft feels claustrophobic or static, when the words have turned brittle and the whole endeavour seems either pointless or ridiculous, that's when I'll reach again for this idiosyncratic one-sided correspondence which comes together to form a rare map of a literary mind at the point of creation.
Friday 06 November 2009
A social worker who offered to buy a double whisky in a pub for a client he had helped through detox was struck off today.
Thursday 05 November 2009
Thursday 22 October 2009
Saturday 03 October 2009
I think gastropubs tend to be best when they remember to be pubs as well as gastro, and don't forget they're also supposed to be down-to-earth boozers as well as purveyors of chorizo and purple sprouting broccoli. But really, there are limits. Standing outside the Harwood Arms, you feel your heart sink. The pub is situated at the end of a dispiritingly bricky suburban street. As pubs go, you're surprised this one hasn't gone long ago: it's so tired-looking, so bored, so uninterested in having anyone come through its doors. There's nothing about it that shouts, or even murmurs, "Trendy eating-house!" The colour scheme is mostly a flat matt magenta, over which the dust of years seems to have settled. Can this be the joint recently voted London's best gastropub? Have we come to the wrong address? As for that awful colour ... "If I remember the Farrow & Ball paint swatch," said my date, Madeleine, "this is a darker version of their Dead Salmon ..."
Friday 25 September 2009
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Refugees welcome: More than 250,000 sign Independent petition calling for Britain to 'take its fair share'
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 4 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 5 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan