Nose hair and tears. And Virgil and waterboarding.

ONE OF THE misfortunes for men getting old is that however little hair remains on top, plenty of it seems to spring from the nose and ears. To that rather mundane phenomenon can be added a tendency to tearfulness, if a couple of my friends are anything to go by.

The first of them, speaking to me on the phone last year, asked me if I ever found myself quietly crying on my own. He went on to say this had started happening to him – he would be sitting on his own (usually in the pub) and have a “quiet cry to himself”. He admitted there was not usually a specific subject prompting his tears. It was just something that welled up from inside. I could be cruel and just say that’s what comes of being a poet with an extremely irregular income and no pension plans in place, but I know it’s deeper than that.

Continue reading at The Fortnightly Review.

There’s no waterboarding or nose hair in my book.

Transnational buffoonery (or annoying the Cornish and others).

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JOHN BOLTON, FORMER US ambassador to the UN and recently the non-appointed Secretary of State in the Trump administration, famously quipped that if the UN building in New York lost ten stories “it wouldn’t make a bit of difference”. He also said that “There’s not a bureaucracy in the world that couldn’t be made leaner.” I think the latter is definitely true while the former errs on the side of generosity…

Read on at The Fortnightly Review.

You can read more about similar things in my book here.

 

There, there, children, the Trigger Nanny will take care of you.

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Now it appears this insidious nannying culture of trigger warnings has already arrived — not so much at British universities (though that will be inevitable) but in the hallowed and righteous halls of the broadcast media. There used to be a thing called the watershed at nine o’clock, after which time more adult material could be shown. We didn’t need to be given explicit warnings about filth and violence.

Read more at The Fortnightly Review.

You won’t find any nannying in my book.

Three Men in a Boat – latest 3-minute lecture/podcast on YouTube.

Here is my 3-minute lecture/microlecture/podcast on Jerome K Jerome’s classic, Three Men in a Boat.

 

Muckety-Mucks and Fashy Cuts. Hair and the left.

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Orwell with a half-fashy

The muckety-mucks are nothing if not interfering prodnoses (that’s one I forgot). When they’re not busy trying to destroy cultures and economies they like nothing better than calling people fascists for what they eat and drink. Now they’ve moved on to identifying them by their haircut. They’ve even named a hair style for them, the “Fashy”. That’s to the point and easy to remember.

Read on at The Fortnightly Review.

You can read more about the muckety-mucks and their nuttiness in my book here.

Freedom Week 2017: a free week of tutorials at Cambridge.

freedomweek

Freedom Week is an annual, one-week seminar which teaches students about classical liberal, free market, neoliberal and liberal perspectives on economics, politics, history and society. It is open to over-18s who are currently attending or about to start university. The week is entirely free to attend: there is no charge whatsoever for accommodation, food, tuition or materials. Freedom Week 2017 will be held from Monday the 3rd to Friday the 8th July.

More details here.

Freedom Week is organised by The Adam Smith Institute.

An Air That Kills – a 3-minute lecture on Housman’s “blue remembered hills” poem.

Poem 40 from Housman’s A Shropshire Lad is one of his most famous. Here’s a microlecture on it.