About

I was born in Newton Abbot, Devon but spent 28 years in London, moving back to Devon in 2004.

We are living at a time when mediocrity is the norm and ignorance is accepted and even lauded. Mediocrity makes for a dull life but ignorance is extremely dangerous, especially because it enables a small number of people to exercise power and control over the majority. The more we demand quality the better our lives will be. If I find quality food, beer, film, TV, audio, cider – the things I love – I’ll be sure to let you know.

Striving for Quality

Me on my birthday, July 2020

Quality is something to strive for but too many of us seem distracted by mediocrity and trivia. Quality can be found everywhere and is sometimes, but not always, subjective. It is something to aim for but not always something we can afford. I’ve found that getting the basics right helps a lot: searching out quality food and drink is a good start and something that we need every day. Music, movies and TV are important to me, so I tend to write about those too.

Ignorance and bigotry

I dislike ignorance, bigotry, arrogance and aggression. In a so-called ‘information age’ more people seem to set about their daily lives and form opinions on the basis of half-truths, un-truths, rumours and the most cursory glance at facts, science and history. We scratch the surface and think we know it all. As a result, tension, rage and violence seem to be more prevalent and closer to our daily experience than ever before. The sound-bite, born apparently out of our ever shortening attention spans, has reduced complex problems and ideas to a single sentence whilst at the same time ditching everything of importance, sometimes because the politician or orator has little understanding themselves or because they don’t want us to dig around and find the truth, as that may be inconvenient. The stuff that is sacrificed by the sound bite is important and enlightening and can provide us with a positive kick; a high when we learn something new and perhaps change our opinion or outlook. The sound bite world seems simpler, reduced often to black and white, but there are more shades of grey and even a spectrum of colours to be had, if only we can see it.

History

  • Born: Newton Abbot hospital, 1956
  • lived in London for 28 years, from 1976 to 2004
  • moved back to Devon in 2004
  • school: Highweek Secondary Modern for Boys, Newton Abbot
  • ‘O’ & ‘A’ levels: South Devon Technical College, Torquay, 1972-1975
  • university: London School of Economics, 1976 to 1980; B.Sc (hons) Geography
  • job: energy, energy efficiency, fuel poverty, sustainability, climate change

My father was in the Navy so much of my early childhood was spent on the move. I lived in Malta for three years but have few memories of that. After that it was Kilmacolm (my father’s home village near Greenock) and Portsmouth before settling back in Newton Abbot.  I left home at 18 to go to university – the London School of Economics – and stayed for 28 years. At university and for some time afterwards I moved around a lot, living in Fitzrovia, Clapton, Hanwell, Leytonstone and Archway. I even spent six months or so at Chelmsford! I finally settled on Brandon Estate in 1982, living in a 10th floor council flat for 22 years.

I enjoyed my time at Brandon Estate on the whole, one of the biggest estates in south London – near the Elephant and Castle and overlooking Kennington Park. The estate attracts film and TV producers. The Clash made ‘Rude Boy’ on the estate (before I moved in) and has since appeared in the film ‘For Queen and Country’, the excellent BBC drama ‘Edge of Darkness’, ‘Spooks’, some of the ‘Comic Strip’ films, numerous episodes of ‘The Bill’ and many others. The Sean Lock BBC comedy series ’15 Storeys High’ was filmed on the estate – and in my flat! The BBC started filming Dr.Who on the estate – the home of Rose and her mother – within months of me leaving the estate, which pissed me off no end. I would’ve loved a pic of me with the blue box…