Archive for the ‘Observations’ Category

Remembering ‘the forgotten disaster’

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

We 3,000 Bradford City fans jumped around and screamed ourselves hoarse, celebrating an incredulous ascent into the old League Division Two. Crowned as champions.  

On a bank holiday Monday, in the Lancashire sunshine, Yorkshire’s Bantams had clinched the Division Three championship with a 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers. On the pitch — as fans perched and balanced on terrace fencing — the players sang and chanted with us, throwing their sweat-soaked shirts into the crowd, and spraying magnums of champagne. (more…)

A marine goes to war…

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

When the collective focus is concentrated on when our troops are coming home, it’s pretty hard to say farewell to a loved one who is only just departing.

My nephew Alex leaves any day now for the Afghanistan hell-hole of the Helmand Province. We’d quietly hoped and prayed as a family that our boys would have pulled out before this day arrived. Instead, he and his fellow marines are among the last batch going in. (more…)

‘Through My Eyes’ – a poem

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

An old man is dying, approaching his final hour. Illness has deprived him of the ability to communicate. He can only blink now. His physical body has surrendered. Only his soul can speak. And these are the words it speaks to the wife by his bedside: his life partner, soul mate, best friend and fellow pillar of the temple they had built.  If we’re lucky, we might all share something like this: (more…)

From Skid Row to The Grammys

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

In the double-life that a ghost-writer leads, there is a randomness to be enjoyed; the randomness that comes with vicariously living another’s experiences for the sake of a richer narrative. And so, at the weekend, I found myself transported back-stage at the 52nd Grammys in Los Angeles. Yet another behind-the-scenes experience for which I am grateful.

It was to be a surreal evening, especially when (more…)

Lady Justice hangs head in shame…

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

I’ve sat through some big headline-making court cases in my time. Brutal murders. Harrowing rapes. Witnessing justice. In most cases, a solid prosecution stated its case and the brilliance of precise DNA evidence indisputably nailed the defendant.

Yet in the edgy abeyance of jury deliberations – when one person’s liberty is balanced by 12 men and women with the argued evidence – I often wondered about the juror’s burden; imagining how sure I would need to be, how my conscience couldn’t find room to convict if there was one single remnant of doubt.

So I’m curious to know how the six jurors in Perugia, Italy, will sleep at night (more…)

Angola, France & Princess Diana

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Buried in the corners of newspaper ‘world news’ sections, a curious article about illicit arms trading probably went largely unnoticed by most people…unless you happen to be French.

A 468-page prosecution dossier “read like something from an Ian Fleming plot” (Daily Telegraph, London), detailing murky arms dealings with an ex-minister and a president’s son, facilitating   (more…)

The Internet’s mightier than the pen…

Friday, October 16th, 2009

In the golden days of newspapers, when the word ‘columnist’ was bestowed only upon the worthy and brilliant (and not viewed as a natural ascension for opinionated feature writers) acerbic, controversial and provocative views would generate post-bags of mail.

Indignant senders never knew if their missives were read let alone heard, and it was probably best they never knew that the intended recipients were untouched by (more…)

Stephen Gately

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

It is not often in the oily, bullshit-covered halls of show-business that one comes across much sincerity and authenticity. Such real people form a minority group in fame’s society.

Stephen Gately was one such rare gem; a true light, a true joy and a true pleasure to spend time with. I’d met him (more…)

An American love-affair

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Dear Jane** (& Britain),

This is a tough one to write. Don’t think me a coward for doing this by letter and from 5,000 miles away. I just couldn’t do the face-to-face drama thing. Or Twitter. I mean, how do you break-up with someone in 140 characters or less? So I feel this civilised approach settles somewhere between the two.  

The fact that tears are not rolling down my face right now tells me all I need to know – this is the right thing to do. Thirty-seven years (more…)

Obama’s Noble Peace Prize

Friday, October 9th, 2009

So President Obama has become the first person to win the Nobel Peace Prize for rhetoric, hope and good intentions. This day in October 2009 is indeed momentous because the world’s top accolade has seemingly been awarded on grounds of unanimous optimism.

Such is the desperate hope that Obama will herald change and heal the world that even the peace prize committee is viewing his presidency (more…)

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