Weeknote, Sunday 21st May 2023

There’s been a lot of London this week. I’m doing a stint of training sessions for various teams across the business – eight sessions this week, basically two a day – and I prefer to do them from the office so I was in for four days running. The good bit is that I get a later train in (the sessions start at 11, so I can get the 9.21) the bad bit is that it turns out commuting is quite tiring. Who knew???

It does have some plus points. It’s nice to see people face to face, and to have those kind of serendipitous chats to your colleagues which actually drive some of the more valuable creative work. It’s good to have a proper gap between work and home. The hour on the train serves that function really well. And it’s nice to have to avoid the inevitable temptation of ill-disciplined home work, where I slide out of bed at 8.45 and am furiously typing Teams messages fifteen minutes later.

I like working at home. But I like working at home on my stuff, rather than the business. That, I like to keep at arms length – and the blurring of home and work life which I fought hard to resist during the pandemic is finally catching up with me. I need more discipline about that, because I have lots of other things which I want to do.

I was reading Mo Morgan’s weeknote yesterday and he mentioned switching email providers. I’m not sure if Mo is actually my doppelgänger, but I have been doing exactly the same dance this week, working on trying out Fastmail. I’m impressed with it, and I am already certain that at the end of the trial period I’ll move all my email and calendars to it.

Another service that I’ve been looking at this week is Authory, which I have been using and recommending for a few years. I did an interview with them about how it meets my needs and was gushingly positive. If you don’t know it, and you’re a writer on the web, you should be using it: it basically scans sites that you write for for your work and create a personal archive of it. So, when someone on the site’s audience development team decides that your old content should be redirect fodder for strengthening another article’s rankings, you don’t lose your work.

(Yes, I have done that to people’s work. I’m sorry.)

Authory has some really nice features. You can use it to create a portfolio site which has all your content from across the web on it. Or you can have an email susbcription using it, so people get all your stuff if they sign up. Oh, and if you tell it a site where your content is, it will go through and find all the existing content to preserve, which is useful when, like me, you have done a bunch of freelance work over the years.

I am still getting slightly scratchy about how to set up my desk at home. A few weeks ago I exiled the Mac mini into the spare room, because although it was great it also tended to dominate the desk. I had a computer and pretty big monitor right in front of me, and it just didn’t feel right.

So I moved the Mac mini and now use my MacBook Air M2. It’s on a stand at the moment, which raise it to a nice height, and I use the Keychron K2 with it which has a lovely action on it. But somehow it still seems like… a lot? Just having the laptop on the desk might be a better option, even though ergonomically I know for a fact that’s terrible. Or maybe I should just go back to having a monitor and a minimal Mac mini setup. Decisions, decisions.

Yesterday we went down to Chichester and saw “Kaye Donachie: Song for the Last Act” at the Pallant House Gallery. It was really good and I would highly recommend it, and the whole gallery too. Pallant House specialises in modern art and does some really interesting curatorial stuff, contextualising the work in different ways. There’s also some great work by Gwen John, which you need to see.

Things I’ve been reading

For a bit of a change of pace I’ve been reading Temeraire, which is basically Napoleonic Wars with dragons. It’s really fun and of course I’m breezing through it.

Weeknote, Monday 8th May

I hate being ill, so I have hated this week. After having a tickly throat on Tuesday, Wednesday morning I woke up with a full-blown very sore throat which I couldn’t talk around, plus a head that felt like it was stuffed with old socks found at the bottom of a particularly disreputable drawer. Oh and, of course, the kind of tiredness that makes you feel completely out of control of your body.

That wrote off Wednesday and Thursday, which, because of the first flush of warm early summer weather, were unpleasantly spent in bed sweating and feeling dreadful. I was finally able to get up on Friday and feel human enough to head down to the sea for an evening “fuck the Tories” ice cream. Wasn’t it wonderful to see them defeated so comprehensively that they immediately had to crown a new king to get everyone distracted?

On Saturday, I was feeling well enough to demand a drive to a country house and some fresh air, which is how we ended up at Knole in Sevenoaks. It’s part of the character of Sevenoaks – and tells you a lot about it as a place – that there is a large country house and deer park right next to it. Or rather, in it: where most maps look like cities eat away at the surrounding countryside, Sevenoaks seems like Knole has devoured part of it, the green biting a chunk from the concrete grey.

Knole is an incredibly well-preserved 17th century house and was the home of the Sackville family, who later became the Sackville-West family. Vita Sackville-West was born here, and her inability to inherit the house – denied by British primogeniture laws – was something she was bitter about her entire life. Instead, the house (and title) went to her uncle Charles, who bequeathed it to the National Trust in 1947.

Things I have been reading

I skipped a few days reading this week – there is nothing I like less than reading when I’m confined to bed ill – but I have been pressing on with Julia Armfield’s Our wives under the sea, which I am enjoying a lot. I would love my own writing to be this accomplished. Many passages have been clipped from it, and there are times when she hits the mark with a sentence so well that it almost leaves me breathless. For example:

I see my mother in myself, though less in the sense of inherited features and more in the sense of an intruder poorly hidden behind a curtain.


Panic is a misuse of oxygen.

At Knole I bought Rooms of their own by Nino Strachey, which is a large format pictorial book of the rooms of Edward Sackville-West, Vita Sackville-West, and (of course) Virginia Woolf. If you don’t find the Bloomsbury group and their era fascinating, you’re missing out.

Related, I also bought The Crichel Boys by Simon Fenwick, which focuses in part on Eddy’s later life when he bought a house down in Dorset with some friends. That will be next on the list – I feel like I’ve read a lot of fiction lately and need to balance it out. Reading books about writers seems like a good half-way house.

Weeknote, Sunday, 12 Mar 2023

Is it just me or are the weeks at the moment a weird mix of being both extraordinarily long and incredibly short? It’s like time is bending in on itself somehow.

Despite the snow, this is the time of year when the garden starts to spring into life. The daffodils are out and weren’t muscled into submission by the cold. There are small rabbits, this year’s batch, bouncing around the garden. They will sit outside our patio doors eating the odd blade of grass because they haven’t yet learned that humans are an immense threat, but they are wary.

Yesterday we went into that there London to see Travis Alabanza’s Burgerz at the Southbank. It was magnificent: alternately funny and heartbreaking and an absolute wake-up call that trans people need our support because what they are going through is terrifying. If you get a chance, see it – or if you don’t, get the book.

There are many things about living in London which I don’t miss. Even though I grew up in (what became) a city, the council estate I was born on was right on the edge of it. The countryside was a ten-minute cycle ride away, and of course, if you head north from Derby you are very quickly into some of the country’s most beautiful landscape. Where I live now is also on the edge of a city, although Canterbury is a very different one from Derby.

What I definitely miss about London, though, is the culture. The ability to get on a tube and 30 minutes later be in the National Gallery, or the V&A, or on the Southbank was brilliant. Despite its rich history Canterbury is a bit of a cultural wasteland: if you want art or interesting events, you have to head to the coast. Ramsgate, Folkestone, and of course, Margate are all more culturally rich than Canterbury, which is in thrall to its past. Never live in a place where half the city centre is a world heritage site.

I finally caved in and bought Elden Ring, after about a billion people recommended it. I’m only a few hours in – five hours play time, apparently – and I’m not that impressed. I think my issue is that the world is just too open: and so far, at least, there isn’t much in the way of a world to interact with. All I’ve done is kill things and die, with a smearing of a story on top. Maybe I need to explore more, but so far it feels dull and very focused on grinding.

Getting it running meant getting my gaming laptop updated and working well again. It’s been about six months since I started it up, as I dropped out of playing Elder Scrolls Online after playing it consistently. I think I will get back into it once I’ve been through some of Elden Ring (enough to confirm that I don’t like it). MMORPGs have been a consistent part of my life for over 20 years after I first started playing Ultima Online. From UO, I went to Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft, and then ESO. I even have a statue of an orc riding a warg, which was sent out by WoW to everyone who had played for ten years from the start (I was actually in before then, in beta).

Weeknote, Sunday, 05 Mar 2023

This will be a bit of an abbreviated weeknote because I have a lot to work on today. In particular, I want to get some more writing done because I have been a TOTAL WRITING SLACKER this week. Although that wasn’t all my fault.

I spent a couple of days this week with work in Poland. The main thing that I’m working on currently is an international project, which means I spend a lot of time with colleagues in Poland and Germany on Microsoft Teams calls. It was good to meet some of them face-to-face for the first time.

It was a flying visit both literally and figuratively, as I flew out from Stansted on Tuesday morning for meetings in the afternoon, stayed over for more meetings the following morning, then back to the UK in the evening. My biggest discovery (apart from I know not a single word of Polish) was that I like pierogies, especially when it has potatoes in it.

Flying, though, is not something I enjoy that much. Back in the late 90s/early 2000s I did a lot of it, mostly transatlantic, and it cured me of any notion of flying as romantic or exciting. I enjoy new places, but the logistics of flying in the post-9/11 era are just painful. Both Stansted and Modlin are small airports, which are usually more interesting and fast to fly from than big ones like Heathrow, but even so it’s just a dull and stressful way to travel. Next time I could go by train – it takes a day, but that’s all time when you can work (and I quite fancy the idea of going from London to Amsterdam to Berlin to Warsaw as it sounds quite intriguing and romantic).

Even though the trip only took a couple of days, it dominated the week. I had to stay over at Stansted on Monday night, as getting there for an 8am flight (arriving two hours earlier) would have been brutally hard. Add in packing time, returning time, unpacking and all the other things which surround the act of travel, and you have much of the week disappearing into nothing, or, as Jerry Pournelle used to say, “the time was eaten by locusts”.

What I’ve been writing

And suddenly this week I realised that I had the first draft of a chapter, which was a lot more than I thought I had achieved. What I actually need to do with that story is sit down and do a proper plot for it. One of the things that I have noticed about writing is I tend to dive in and write, then lose the will to live as I try and “pants it”. I have a rough outline, but it’s not enough: I need to think more carefully about what each scene is there to do, and how it advances the story. Of course, I can change it as I go along – I’m not going to turn down a great scene which doesn’t relate to the plot at the point of writing – but at least if I have a more detailed outline I can see the way forward when my writing gets into the weeds.

That’s part of the fun of what I’m doing: I’m learning how to write in a way which is unfamiliar and which challenges me. And I am definitely not too old for a challenge!

What I’ve been reading and watching

Reading has been a bit slow this week, although I got a fair amount done on the trip. I’ve been reading Constance, by Matthew Fitzsimmons, which is a sort of techno-thriller which I think I picked up as a freebie on Amazon Prime. It’s OK, but not my usual genre, and I can almost see the plot laid out before me just from having read the first chapter.

One thing I had noticed about myself is my tendency to drift into comfort reading, going through books that I have read before and which I find both easy and relaxing. I did some of that earlier this year when I raced through Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, and I am doing a bit of it again at the moment.

This time round it’s a drift through Arthur C Clarke’s Tales from The White Hart. It’s a collection of short stories written in the “club tales” style, which was popular in the early part of the 20th century. This takes the form of several short stories which are all bookended as if they were being told in a pub or club, and it’s a nice conceit. It would be interesting to do something reinventing that style for the age of the internet. What’s the equivalent of the club tale for the internet age? The Reddit romp?

Weeknote, Sunday, 05 Feb 2023

Sometimes weeks are quite fractured and this was one of those. Bitty. Lots of little things happening which get in the way of doing an actual project. The kind of week where work of all kinds of a bit three steps forward and two steps back.

I have been spending too much time tinkering with technology and not enough doing the things which actually matter: reading, writing, culture and people.

Some of what I need to do is get my little office space more sorted. It’s about 50% there, but I need to do some rearranging of furniture to make it Just so. The new chair is good. It’s really nice to be in a chair with some lumbar support. I didn’t know that I needed it until the moment I had it, then I realised I really did need it a lot.

I’ve also switched over to using the Keychron K2 keyboard, which I think suits my writing style a lot more than the Das Keyboard. The Das Keyboard is built like a tank and gives a really satisfying keyboard action and THUNK but I think I prefer the feel of the K2 overall. It’s a little softer and nicer to type on for someone – like me – used to using a laptop keyboard. The one thing that I’m not 100% sure about yet is what angle to have it at. The highest angle is too sharp. The middle one feels OK and I suspect is better for my posture. The one that I really like the one which is flattest, so I am going to stick with that for a while and see how it goes. I can certainly touch type on the K2 really quickly, which is nice.

But on the flip side of that, I doubt I would be able to bludgeon a zombie to death with the Keychron, and I am certain I could do that with the Das Keyboard.

What I’ve been writing

  • Santa’s little helper,a piece of flash fiction about someone who may or may not be something of a trickster god.
  • About 2000 words of the Alice and God story, which I have decided really needs a bit of work on its outline and structure. I mean some serious surgery – the plot as is just isn’t hanging together and it’s lacking pace. Some work required.
  • A couple of other very short pieces, one called Death to Humans! and a second one which is a bit of a cliched story about paintings, which I should just polish up and get out there.

What I’ve been reading and watching

This week hasn’t been much of a reading week, which is my own fault. I often find that after finishing a book I’m at a bit of loss to what to read next, so I have to dive in and make myself read something – anything – until it sticks. I’m about a quarter of the way through Gareth Powell’s About Writing, which is an enjoyable little book about, erm, writing. Did I mention it’s short? I like short books.

Weeknote, Sunday 8th January 2023

This was the first week back at work since the middle of December, so it was a bit of a shock to the system. Good to see everyone I work with, though.

The good news was that my MacBook Pro was brought back from the dead by our local independent Apple dealer. It had been dead for several months after a failed update to Ventura (thanks largely to our poxy broadband), which led to a strange “cryptographic error” happening every time it tried to update anything. I assume this was down to the disk encryption going wonky, but I decided to nuke the whole thing from orbit (it’s the only way to be sure) and reinstall Monterey, then make a fresh attempt to update.

Of course, that update failed too. So I tried wiping the whole disk and promptly lost the ability to see it, even via Target Disk Mode. Once I had tried using Apple Configurator to fix it — the last option available — and that had failed, it was time to bring in the experts. And a day later, I had a working, upgraded, very blank MacBook Pro.

It’s been good to get back to using a Mac laptop after quite a while when I didn’t really have one (my old MacBook Air is also in need of a wipe and install), using Mac-native tools like Ulysses rather than cross-platform ones. And the Pro has a 16in screen, which feels much less cramped than the 14in one on my ThinkPad. Even though it’s the last generation of Intel Macs, it’s still an excellent machine with a few years of life left in it.


This has been a bit of a frustrating writing week. I reached an impasse with the Alice and God story, which I started before Christmas because I had done a rough outline of the plot but reached the point where I needed to flesh it out a bit more – and I was trying to write my way through it instead. That doesn’t really work for me: I either need to know nothing about what’s going on (in which case I discover it through writing) or have a reasonably solid idea of what a scene is supposed to do in the plot (in which case I can give it some direction). So back to the plotting board!

And because I love tinkering around with tools, I will start using Ulysses again rather than Scrivener. Don’t get me wrong — Scrivener is an excellent application for putting together anything long-form — but I think it’s a bit fussy, and I like the idea of having all my writing in one place. At the moment, it’s split between Ulysses and Obsidian (blog posts and short-form) and Scrivener (long-form), and it’s not quite gelling for me.

Reading and watching

Also, a quiet week for reading: I restocked the unread books stack with a few items.

Weeknote, Sunday 11th December 2022

This week has been almost my last time at work this year. I’m off to the middle of nowhere for a five day writing retreat tomorrow, returning on Saturday, then back at work for two days before I break for the year. Amazingly I have managed to get through the year and use up all my leave, which is a pretty rare event (I get nagged about this by my managers every time).

Despite being a journalist for 28 years (gulp) I have never really done much creative writing until this year. One of my goals for 2022 was to go on a creative writing residential trip and I’m quite surprised at myself for having actually arranged it. Like most people my years tend to start with a bunch of promises and commitments which I only realise I haven’t done in December. This year appears to be different, but now that leaves me with the dreadful job of following on in 2023 with something else.

The last couple of days have been marred by me getting a particularly nasty cold, which kept me off work on Thursday and consigned me instead to either bed or the sofa underneath a blanket, gently whimpering. There’s definitely been a theme this year of getting minor colds whenever I spent any time out – and the start of this week involved a day-long workshop with work, plus of course Stereolab was last weekend. This the post-lockdown phase of an overall lack of immunity, quickly bred in by not being constantly around people. Or it could just be that there’s a lot of bugs going round. Maybe the experts know.

Things I’ve been writing

Quite often the answer to “what shall I write” is “start writing something about the last thing you read/watched/ate/saw”. That, though, can be a bit tricky — particularly if “the last thing you saw” is the movie version of On The Buses, one of the most low-rent but incredibly popular sitcoms of the 1970s. It was on ITV3. Don’t judge me.

But there is always an interesting tangent, if you spend a little time looking. In this case it was the story of Bob Grant, one of the main actors in the series. Despite having a really good track record in serious theatre – he was directed by Joan Littlewood in a few things, and Joan didn’t suffer bad acting gladly – Grant become horribly stuck in typecasting hell, and apart from a few one-offs and panto barely worked again.

He ended up making three suicide attempts over the years as the debts and hopelessness mounted with the third one being successful. It’s an incredibly sad story.

Just after reading this I watched a 1987 Arena “day in the life” piece about Jeffrey Bernard, the legendary boozer and occasional journalist who bestrode Soho in what might have been its more creative period. Bernard too had something of a sad end. Thanks to the drinking, he descended through diabetes to having a leg removed, which made him virtually housebound in a small shabby Soho flat. Unable to do his habitual routes from Coach and Horses to bookies to Colony Club, he withered away.

So I started writing something which I wanted to get into Bernard’s voice and after a few paragraphs it morphed into the story of an actor, like Grant, who struggled to get parts after national success. Three thousand words later, I have the kernel of a decent story, called “Bill and Trudy”, about an encounter between our Bob/Jeffrey amalgam (called Bill) and a homeless girl called Trudy during the height of the first wave of poverty caused by Thatcher in the late 1980s. I want it to be fun and upbeat and not too serious, but the end (which I’ve written already) is potentially a bit downbeat. It will be fun to see where it goes.

Things I’ve been reading and watching

Having cantered through Harry Turtledove’s Three miles down I’ve continued in the SF vein by diving into Ken MacLeod’s Beyond the Hallowed Sky. It’s an interesting romp through robots and faster than light travel which makes it sound horribly cliched, but it’s actually fun so far. It is, weirdly, the first book of MacLeod’s that I’ve read, which feels very remiss of me.

Weeknote Sunday 24th July

“The hottest day of my life so far” is an event which should cluster in your childhood. I suspect that for the next few years we will see quite a cluster for most older people too. The long stretches of time when the weather stayed about the same and very hot days were exceptional look like they’re over.

It’s really been a week where, if you’re paying attention, you’re likely to get quite depressed about the state of the world. Climate fucked, politics fucked, climate even more fucked because the politics is fucked. War in Europe… Roe vs Wade in the US. You name it, it looks like humanity is in a bad shape.

Normally the best advice for the kind of depression all this engenders is to get into the outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. But when one of the reasons for your depression is the parlous state of the climate, even that advice is hollow.

It’s tough. The only thing to do is look after those close to you and do what you want you can for the world.

This week though we have at least had the pleasure of a dog’s company. Laika, who has now become a regular house guest when her owner is away, is a two year old spaniel, which is quite a contrast from our old dog Zoey, who was a sedate 16 year old rescue dog. There is much more licking of feet and (if she can get to them) noses.

Yesterday we went down to Folkestone to see a friend’s gallery exhibition. I like Folkestone: it has the same feel as Brighton had when I first started going there in the early 90s, and when I moved to it in 1998. Empty buildings, ripe for use for culture. Art thrives in the liminal spaces at the edges of things, which is why towns on the physical periphery of the island often end up full of art. Artists are the flotsam that the land washes up on the borders of the sea.

Meanwhile I have been transferring documents from the cloud on to the local drive of my ThinkPad. I have mixed feelings now about cloud services. It’s not that I don’t trust them, but when your documents exist only on a hard drive elsewhere in the internet they cease to be yours in some intangible but undoubtedly real way. I should write something about it: this is part philosophical, part political and part purely practical.

Weeknote, Sunday 26th June 2022

This has not been much of a week. I missed last week’s week note because I was sick: I had been coughing for a few days and generally felt tired and run down. I managed to work through it from Monday to Wednesday, but Thursday decided that I had to take a day off work in the hope that a bit of rest would set me back on my feet. In fact, Friday was worse. The cough continued and I felt absolutely exhausted.

This has been affecting Kim too and at one point on Friday we had decided that this might be something which only antibiotics were going to clear, and so we would call the doctor today (our doctor doesn’t work weekends, but there are emergency services in place). I even looked up what the symptoms were of TB. That’s how bad I felt.

On Friday night I had a terrible night’s sleep, unable to sleep until about 2am, but on Saturday morning I woke up and for the first time in a week felt vaguely human. I am still not entirely well, but I don’t feel the kind of levels of awful that I didn’t. I am still coughing, but instead of being a long, hacking thing it’s now, as the doctors say, “productive” – a sign, I’m told, of being on the mend.

And that meant that finally – after what seems like but probably wasn’t a whole week of being cooped up – I got to go out, down to Whitstable for a couple of hours. First coffee in Blueprint, which has both good coffee and the kind of tiny collection of well-curated books which makes me whimper with delight, and then to Harbour Books.

Harbour is probably my favourite bookshop in the world. Its collection is incredibly well pieced together, with particular prominence to women writers of all kinds. It’s the first general bookshop I’ve seen where there are more women authors on display than men, and that’s incredibly gratifying. What I love about it is that I’m absolutely certain to find a book in there I have not heard of but instantly want to read, often from a new author.

All this lead to a couple of hours of pleasure: sitting in the garden on a bright evening, with a cup of tea and a book to read.

My view from a garden chair (book missing)


Buyer Beware by Sian Conway-Wood. There are lots of slightly hokey books that I’ve read about consuming less. This is the first one which I’ve seen which not only tackles how to consume less, but looks at both the psychological tricks which manufacturers and retailers used to get you to consume more and takes a view on the way that capitalism itself is structured.

Next in the never-ending book stack is Julian Barnes’ Elizabeth Finch, which I’m actively having to stop myself from diving into instantly (“finish the book you’re reading first, Betteridge!”). You probably already know Barnes is a great writer, but if you don’t, then you really need to know it. There’s an old phrase from Clive James who wrote “all I can do is turn a phrase until it catches the light”, and although James was writing about himself (writing about himself was really most of what he did) it could have been about Barnes.


Very much curtailed this week. Writing is one of the things which suffers badly when I’m ill, particularly when I’m trying to fight through it and work. If I work when I’m ill, which I did for the first three days of the week, then I don’t have any energy at all to write in the evening.

What I did manage to write on Saturday was a small wall of angry social media posts. The demise of Roe vs Wade in the US affects many friends and hundreds of millions of women, and it fills my heart with anger and sadness. It put me in mind of Peggy Seeger’s Song of Choice:

In January you’ve still got the choice

You can cut the weeds before they start to bud

If you leave them to grow high they’ll silence your voice

And in December you may pay with your blood…

The weeds are all around us and they’re growing

It’ll soon be too late for the knife

If you leave them on the wind that around the world is blowing

You may pay for your silence with your life

We – I – believed for far too long that the progress we had made on women’s rights, gay rights, trans rights, the rights of minorities was part of a forward march of progress which could never be revoked. Roe vs Wade is the first large-scale unwinding of that, the literal cancelling of a fundamental right for women. We didn’t cut the weeds of fascism early enough, and now we have to work harder to clear them before, as Peggy wrote, it’s too late for the knife.


Pistol, Danny Boyle’s utterly brilliant and completely batshit story of the Sex Pistols. What Boyle has done is great: taken fragments of Steve Jones’ book Lonely Boy and turned them into poignant little moments in motion.

Weeknote, Sunday 12th June 2022

One of the many useful things about writing a week note is it give you a regular reminder that life is as much about doing as thinking about doing. But this week has been a lot of watching and tinkering: with WWDC happening and new releases of iOS, iPadOS and macOS, my inner nerd has emerged like a raging hulk.

Every year I tell myself I won’t race to install the first developer releases of all the new operating systems. Every year, within 24 hours, I’ve become too excited to wait until the public betas. This year was no exception, particularly because the new version of iPadOS offers the feature which I have been wanting for years: proper support for second monitors.

And Stage Manager for iPadOS really will be that most clichéd of things: a game changer, at least for me. I have preferred using the iPad as a device over the Mac for years. However, I haven’t been able to do use it as my main machine because it doesn’t work on a screen size that I’m comfortable using for a long time.

I’m not going to write in detail about iPadOS 16 just yet — I think it deserves a post of its own — but this year might be the one where I finally give up on having a Mac laptop and just use the iPad as my portable Apple device. There are drawbacks, even though the software is almost in the right place, but the advantages now eclipse those drawbacks.


I’ve gone back to one of my most annoying reading habits: being unable to settle on what book I want to read next, so bouncing from book to book without really feeling I’m achieving much reading. So this week I’m going to settle on A. L. Kennedy’s On Writing, which I have been flirting with for a while.


In a massively mediated society, understanding how media works is incredibly important if people are to avoid being controlled by what they read, see and hear. I have worked in publishing now for 27 years, which always feels weird when I say it, so I have picked up a lot about how media works.

This is why I’m on a bit of a mission to educate people more about publishing in general and reporting and editing in particular. It struck me when reading Twitter that most people don’t understand what an “editorial line” is and how it interacts with what you see and hear. So I wrote something on what an editorial line is, to hopefully help people understand it a bit more.


If you haven’t watched the first episode of Ms Marvel, you are missing out on a treat. I think of it and Wandavision as the opposite ends of the scale for how Marvel treats its TV shows. Wandavision was incredibly clever and genuinely frightening, with an impact across the whole of the MCU. Ms Marvel is funny, smart, and endearing. After the mess that was Moon Knight, it’s a great comeback.

Meanwhile, on the internet…

The situation at the Washington Post with reporters attacking each other on social media sounds like an absolute mess. I have an elementary rule about work and social media: I don’t talk about work on social media. I don’t even mention the business I work for on social media. Same rules here: I’ll never talk about my work.

Occasionally, that makes writing these week notes challenging! I spend 37.5 hours of every week working, none of which I will talk about here. That, at least, means I have to push myself to talk about the more personal side of my life.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Londoners don’t particularly want to return to the office. I’m not surprised at all — the notion of going to a place to work is weird unless your work physical requires you to be there. For any kind of what we used to call “knowledge worker”, who spends their life on a computer all day, the internet makes that pointless. Rethinking the role of the office is vital, but the government can also play a part by improving and cutting the cost of public transport.