31

Dec,

09

A New Decade

So, it’s that time of year again, when everybody pauses to reflect upon the months gone by and mainly think about two things:

1. How quickly the year has passed and how quickly the resolutions I made in January were broken.

2. The Christmas holidays are all but over and it’s time to go back to work. Continue reading

13

Dec,

09

Turkeys and Jetlag

I can live with a lot of things (cold snaps in December, congestion charges in London, traffic in London – for that matter, anything related to driving through London), but jetlag is not one of them. Continue reading

12

Dec,

09

The Eye Of The Storm

At the moment, life is just like a huge wave. Some days, when I am full of pep, have enjoyed a good sleep, and stress is not jangling my nerve endings like a set of jailer’s keys, I feel as if I am right top of that wave, coasting on the surf, outwards from the beach, as far as it will take me. At others, it feels as if I am flailing beneath it, floundering under the water as it crashes and booms in my eardrums. Continue reading

12

Oct,

09

Frankfurt Book Fair

The poet T. S. Eliot famously said that his life had been measured out with coffee spoons. I, on the other hand, have measured out mine with plane journeys. I’ve flown nearly a dozen times during the past fortnight. Frankly, I’m sick of flying. Continue reading

11

Oct,

09

I predict a maggot, I predict a maggot….

The idea of being filmed sounds fine until you’re actually being filmed. You can fool yourself into thinking that you have perfect poise and clipped, clear diction, but that’s before you’re standing in front of a team of people brandishing cameras, lights and booms. You’re expected to act naturally, yet at the same time you’re receiving directions to do and say things you might not otherwise do and say. All of a sudden your legs become filled with jellied eels, your tongue swells to three times its regular size, and your arms become strangers, flailing and flapping about like those tall balloons you see outside car showrooms. Continue reading

06

Oct,

09

Lost in China

There is something undeniably exciting about travelling. I have racked up more air miles than Judith Chalmers, but I still get giddy-hearted jitters the night before I leave. I could pack my suitcase or kitbag in my sleep, but I always get wobbly-kneed at the thought of getting on a plane and flying off to pastures new and far away. I consider myself very fortunate in that I have seen most of what there is to see of the world. I have criss-crossed the continents, trotted the globe, and been pretty much everywhere you are told you should go by those articles in magazines which are titled “100 Places To Visit Before You Die”. If having a lot of stamps in your passport really was the road to contentment, I could die a happy man. Continue reading

25

Sep,

09

The Silk Road

James 1

Eating a pig’s tail in a Chinese market

Warmest greetings from the Far East! Yes, I can finally let the cat out of the bag – or at the very least poke its paws and tail out a bit – and let you know where I’ve been for the past few weeks, and what I’ve been up to since I’ve been there.

Continue reading

26

Aug,

09

It’s Been An Odd Few Days…

I didn’t want to start this latest dispatch on a melodramatic note, but please indulge me: if you never see or hear from me again, thank you for your patience, your hospitality and, above all, for buying the books. In case you didn’t already know, at the end of this week I am jetting off to an exotic location to work on a fantastic new project. I can’t give away too much about it, so let’s just say that it is further than the corner shop and not as distant as the moon. Seriously though, it is far-flung enough for me to worry about it: the length of my journey; how I will cope with the culture when I get there; and the million and one things on my to do list I must strike off before I finally get comfortable on the airplane. Continue reading

02

Aug,

09

cheese, muck and radio

The week started by meeting my friend Jill for dinner and then a bit of clubbing in Mayfair at a club called Volstead. An odd looking chap was dancing with the Pussycat Dolls, in long beard, odd suit, large glasses and a baseball cap.  On the way into the club Jill comments on the paparazzi outside, it’s a London club so nothing new there, but as we got chatting, the chap in the beard turned out to be Leonardo Dicaprio.  I left the club at 1m so I could drive to Cheshire the following morning. Continue reading