My Blog

A Mysterious Georgian Greenwich Suicide

With suicide in the news at the moment, it was by some coincidence yesterday that I happened to stumble across a particularly sad instance from the late eighteenth-century that took place practically on my doorstep. According to newspaper reports from the time a...

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Attention All Shipping on the Cutty Sark

Now then. I’ve done a few events in my time, from lecturing at the Royal Geographical Society to an hour-long book signing at Aberdeen airport during which I signed not a single book (but pointed a couple of people towards the check-in desks). This one is different....

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Chapter and Verse: Joy Division, New Order and Me

Bernard had first got in touch a few years ago after he'd read and enjoyed Attention All Shipping and since then we've become good friends. Hence I was delighted and honoured when he asked me if I'd help him write his autobiography. As will be evident when you read...

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Manuel And The Summer Of 1990

The summer of 1990: the World Cup, World In Motion, Big Jack’s Army and all the rest of it. I’d come back from my first year at university needing a job to tide me over until the autumn and I got one – washing up in the kitchens of Bromley Hospital. The work was hard...

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Thank you, Chris Powell

I can only ever recall one occasion where Chris Powell lost any of his composure. It came during a pre-season friendly at The Valley in 2000 when Charlton played Serie A side Vicenza a few days after the drowning of 17 year old Charlton youth team full-back Pierre...

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The Global Misadventures of Nat Clifford

Nat Clifford is not a household name. In fact, given the scattergun distribution of pseudonyms he favoured he probably wasn’t even a household name in his own household. Yet what we know of the global adventure that was Nat Clifford’s life makes him well worthy of...

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The Legacy Of Buster Keaton

There’s a scene at the end of Sherlock Jr when Buster Keaton, a cinema projectionist and amateur sleuth, is in the projection room with his beloved. After a series of misunderstandings she has realised that kind, innocent Buster is the man for her and has come to tell...

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Happy 90th Birthday, Shipping Forecast

New Year’s Day, 1924. Wreckage from the French airship Dixmude, which had exploded over the Mediterranean before Christmas, begins to wash up on the coast of Sicily. Rain-deluged Paris is on flood alert as the Seine inches further upward with each tide. Laszlo, a...

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