Date Archives November 2012

There’s no such place as paradise

When I tell people I’m living in Barbados, the reactions are interesting. Words that come up a lot are “exotic”, “paradise”, “idyllic” and “jealous”. It’s understandable, of course, from people struggling through a grimy London winter, and I’m not criticising the people who say those things. I just wanted to point out that they have little relation to my experience of living here. Yes, Barbados is a beautiful place. Yes, it really does have bright sunshine almost every day, temperatures that vary between 29 and 30ºC year-round, beaches of fine… Read More

What we did before Google

Whatever did we do before the internet? How did we manage before Google? I’m hearing these questions more often these days, usually after someone’s discovered some snippet of astonishing information in just a few seconds. The questions are rhetorical  of course, but it occurs to me that one day people might really want to know. I’m conscious of being a member of the last generation to remember life before the internet, so I want to explain what it was like. How did we manage without Google at our fingertips? The short answer:… Read More

Capitalism & Slavery

This book does an excellent job of showing exactly how the development of British capitalism was dependent on slavery. The author is Eric Williams, an obscure PhD student at the time of writing, but later in life to become Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago. Williams goes through his evidence in systematic detail, examining British economic and political development in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and showing the role of slavery at every turn. Great banking families like the Barclays and the Barings got their start as slave traders. Insurance… Read More

Beauty? No, thanks

As a side note to my post last week on the cafes I have killed, I wanted to add one more thing about writing locations. It struck me that in a country with so much beauty, I  have latched onto the ugliest locations in which to do my writing. It seems that beauty doesn’t really work for me, at least while I’m writing. It’s wonderful to look at, wonderful to get inspiration from, but it seems I prefer to get that inspiration before I sit down to write. When I’m… Read More

Liebster Award reloaded

It was great to be nominated for the Liebster Award by Caroline of Beauty is a Sleeping Cat. Thanks, Caroline! In the spirit of her original post, I have taken the liberty of adapting the rules of the award a little. So I’m answering only seven of her original questions… 2. If you could stay in another city for a year, which one would it be? Having spent most of my life in London and New York, I think I’d like to live outside cities for a while. But I… Read More