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London at its best and very worst

Shortly after midnight on Sunday night, I walked from Finsbury Park station to the Travelodge on Isledon Road. Almost concurrently (I don’t know whether slightly before or slightly after), a van swerved onto the pavement outside the Muslim Welfare House, killing one and injuring 11 in an anti-Muslim terrorist attack. […]

From London to Leiden

For most of the last decade, when people have asked me where I’m from, I’ve said “London”. Never mind that I wasn’t born there, didn’t grow up there, have few family links there and didn’t move there till I was 22. Forget the fact I vacillate wildly between Northern and […]

Two months of travelling

I have now been out the UK for two months, apart from a quick trip back to Cardiff for a wedding. It’s the longest I’ve been away from my home country in nearly a decade, and the longest I’ve been away from London since I moved there. Of course, there […]

In defence of ‘cafe squatters’

The other day, the Guardian ran an article about how freelancers who work in coffee shops are the worst people in the world. Well, it doesn’t say that in so many words, but the implication is clear: ‘cafe squatters’ are a blight on society; the ‘laptop brigade’ a thorn in […]

Dystopias vs doomsmongering

Like everyone else with a Netflix account and too much time on my hands, I recently worked my way through Season 3 of Black Mirror. On the off-chance the show needs an introduction, it’s a collection of standalone dramas, each set in the near future. Roughly speaking, they explore what […]

The Trumpocalypse

Several times over the last few days, I’ve started jotting some thoughts about the Trumpocalypse, only to stop again abruptly, unsure quite what I’m trying to say. I’m not American – let alone, say, a Hispanic American – and so not directly in the firing line. And any analysis I could […]

A month in Amsterdam

I am writing this from my Airbnb in Berlin, which is home for the next month. Having arrived here just two days ago, there’s a lot to take in – how do the trams work, where’s the cashpoint, why are there two whole supermarket aisles devoted to processed meat. So […]

Thoughts on going travelling

The year after graduating from uni, I had what was supposed to be a ‘gap year’. Time to travel the world, I thought, before settling down to the 9-5 grind! I imagined myself gazing into the Grand Canyon, walking the Great Wall of China, swimming with sharks. I would fall in […]