Brexit and People Like Us (PLU)

  For anyone still interested in why the British public voted for Brexit, the extract below from the Financial Times last year in a letter from Mr Keith Craig, London SW7, perfectly encapsulates a complex set of circumstances into a pithy and succinct explanation.  You would be hard pressed to find anything better. Many would…

The Boarding School Girls

Reunited after 40 Years This was one of those rare enthralling phone calls jolting me out of my reverie and leaving me slightly befuddled for the rest of the evening yet it was a call that will be etched on my mind for a long time.  Hearing that instantly recognisable voice on the end of…

The Swagger of John Singer Sargent

‘The Great Gatsby Man’ To the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London this week to see the watercolours of John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), the American artist who spent much of his life travelling in Europe and the Middle East, that is….when he wasn’t painting portraits of wealthy Americans.  It’s fair to say that his oil portraits…

The Wisdom of Marcus Aurelius

*If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it, and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.    Epictetus, one of the great proponents of Stoicism said something in a similar vein around A.D. 90,  i.e., events don’t…

Russia: We Drank Champagne in Vain

The American Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, a few days ago following the recent imposition of new UN sanctions on Russia.   Nevertheless, instead of closing the door on its relations with Russia, Tillerson promised to deal pragmatically with Moscow – whatever that may mean.  Perhaps similar to…

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

A brilliant production at the Harold Pinter theatre in London starring Andrew Scott.  Beg, borrow or steal a ticket! “Andrew Scott’s Hamlet is at pains to remind us that at the theatre we spy on ourselves”,  was the verdict by the Guardian’s Kate Kellaway. *********** Hamlet is arguably Shakespeare’s greatest play and one that’s been…

Advice from Ralph Waldo Emerson and it’s a revelation

  “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.  Some  blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day.  You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with  your old nonsense.”   Ralph Waldo…

Warning Before Shopping

The next time you go shopping remember these wise words and save yourself some money in the process. “The consumer society is a giant tranquilliser for raw nerves.” Professor Theodore Zeldin, Oxford University   I’ve chosen the photograph above from my growing (groaning more like judging from the weight) collection not necessarily for religious reasons but because it’s…

Today is Bloomsday – A Celebration of James Joyce’s Ulysses

Dublin today on 16th June celebrates one of its finest sons, James Joyce, the author of Ulysses (first published in Paris in 1922) and for those of you who have read this great tome, you may recall that’s the day on which the story is set.  Leopold Bloom is the protagonist hence the title “Bloomsday”….

Adam Smith – Still very relevant today

The ideal economy is one that is both profitable and civilised Today marks the birthday of Adam Smith (16 June 1723) who was one of the greatest thinkers in the history of economics.   He promoted the idea of a free-market economy suggesting it as the route to the healthiest and most stable society.  In…

Terrorism

“The goal of terrorists is to instil a level of fear in the public disproportionate to the actual threat.”   Chris Murphy, American Senator, Connecticut   The British philosopher, A.C. Grayling recently said that the aim of terrorism is to frighten civilian populations into forcing their governments to concede.  “It takes only a few determined…

Today is W B Yeats’s Birthday

  These are some of my favourite lines from the poetry of WB Yeats who was born in Sandymount in Dublin on 13th June 1865 and is buried at the foot of Ben Bulben mountains in Sligo, Ireland.  Whether you are Irish or not, raise a glass of Bailey’s Irish Mist tonight in gratitude of…