8 Mar

The road to a good time is paved with good intentions. I’m pissed. Again. May Allah strike me down, I’d every intention today of settling in a quite coffee house, cool and airy, to pass a few hours perusing my … Read More »

We do not Already Know

7 Mar

My mission takes me deep into the covered market. I pass though its outer quadrang­ular layer of dried fish – pungent but not unpleasantly so – and lethal ironmongery, into the penumbral heart where more banal items are sold by … Read More »


6 Mar

On a bicycle with “up yours Germaine!” emblazoned on its belly, it could not look more incong­ruous. Insinuating its all-things-considered remarkably graceful path across the tarmac to my feet, the eighteen inch Mekong Catfish dodges tyre and sandaled foot alike … Read More »

Graceful gestures

5 Mar

I see friends shaking hands, saying ‘how do you do?’ They’re really saying, ‘I love you’. I don’t suppose I’ll live to be a thousand but it’s scarcely less likely that, if I did, I’d see anything more beautiful than … Read More »

Motorbiking II

3 Mar

In  my  highly  acclaimed  Motorbiking  I  –  written last  year,  also  from Vietnam  –  I  told  of  fishing  boats  and  traffic  chaos,  towering  Buddhas  and  downing  beers,  curving  alleyways  and  writhing  sea  snakes.  I’ll  return  to  snakes  another time;  this  … Read More »

Tax matters

5 Feb

So. Labour, emboldened by Falciani on HSBC and enraged by Signor Pessina on how Britons should vote, has tax avoidance in its sights. Predictably the Mail responded with headlines like that of three days ago: Red Ed the Tax Avoider. … Read More »

Gorecki’s Third Symphony

4 Feb

Listen here. Gorecki’s choral 3rd, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, could hardly be less typical of a Polish composer outspokenly avant garde; a Stockhausen admirer whose declared mission was “not to entertain but to educate”.  Symphony No 3, piercing in its … Read More »