And the home of the brave

It would be tough being the last Mohican. You’d want to leave sooner rather than later. You’d get itchy feet every spring. You’d find it harder each week just to wait until your pay cheque. No one wants to be the last one to leave of the very last ones left. Though I’d like to

Old skins, new whine

Word of victory no longer comes up the valley from Marathon, they’ve grown used to hearing only bad news in Athens. I for one am not going to rise to the bait … no more anti-Greek blogging for this Drood. They’ve already toasted me enough (in the worst sense) in Syntagma. Right now the yawn


My computer has been giving me more than the usual daily dose of difficulty in recent months. Six total crashes at the start of a single day and then perfect for the next week (no reason, just so), then blue-screen-of-death several times in a row, followed by a full-body virus scan and disc integrity check

The tale of BlackSheep & SheepWolf, part two

From then on, every evening BlackSheep would come to the edge of the forest and slink along the boundary of the field, growling and howling and looking very mean. All the sheep would then rush into a bunch in the middle and stay there until he went back into the trees. But after a few

The tale of BlackSheep & SheepWolf, part one

Once upon a time there was a man who wanted to get to the bottom of things, because he thought that was where the truth lived. But whenever he got there, which was quite often, he found that the bottom of things was a very dark place. However much light he shone on the bottom

Ambivalent anniversaries, IV and final

With a bit of luck, we might have some piece of unwanted furniture to toss up on top. I remember one year in particular. I think I was eleven. That November we dressed our Guy Fawkes in a Dunn-coloured tweed hunting suit that had belonged to the old Earl in his more hearty days, before

Ambivalent anniversaries, III

They talk techno-gibberish, they are mind-numbingly nerdy (you wouldn’t want most of them at your barbecue) but what they are saying screams to be heard. The trouble is; no one is likely to listen for long. The wealth of statistical and numerical detail has a way of freezing your brain. But they can’t tell it

Ambivalent anniversaries, II

As any good crime writer knows, you should cherchez la femme or follow the money or at least check for skeletons in the cupboard when pursuing an enquiry. For there is an awful sameness to the badness of bad men, something rather bland: Hannah Arendt called it the “banality of evil”. When I wrote last

Ambivalent anniversaries

The small screen had the full and undivided attention of the fat man at the ticket desk. With the gaping mouth of a stranded fish, in which his discoloured teeth and tongue were moving impulsively, he was repeating a single word like a mantra in the face of utter disbelief; “Scheisse, scheisse, scheisse, scheisse …”

Bad art

The Nazis were not the first to describe certain types of art as degenerate, though they were probably the first to go to the trouble of cataloguing that art and codifying the elements that make something decadent or not. The non-decadent, officially-approved art consisted mainly of neo-classical, heroic-realist or futurist works (of a propagandist or