The Phat Stacks

03 February 2018 | Diary

I’ve been having a frustrating time this week with taxes. As a recidivist wastrel, filing my tax return is usually straightforward. I just pop my income and expenses into the online self-assessment thingy with one hand while eating a burrito with the other. My earnings tend to be minuscule compared to those of normal, non-workshy […]

Read More

The Station

27 January 2018 | Diary

Our local railway station must have been designed by Satan himself. Every detail has been expertly sculpted to cumulatively unhinge the once-sane commuter. It is a work of total design genius, the Mackintosh House of Hell. At first, the station seems quite charming. There’s a bucket of flowers maintained by Friends of the Station and […]

Read More

The Reaction Test

20 January 2018 | Diary

After an unusually busy day working in the capital, I scurry to the National Museum of Scotland to meet my wife and her parents. My in-laws are visiting us from Canada and today had been their Edinburgh day. By the time I reached them, they’d already seen my favorite items in the museum — the […]

Read More

The Netflix

13 January 2018 | Diary

Enjoying some time in bed with the sniffles, I decide to sign up to Netflix — or “Net Flicks” as I naively thought it was called until today. When did I get so old? Why can’t we live forever? A universally popular TV-streaming service, I think, probably beats staring at the formation of cracks in […]

Read More

The Letter

06 January 2018 | Diary

Friday night and my arm is worn out. Not for the reason you’re thinking of (honestly, madam, where do you get it from?) but because I’ve been writing a letter. Yes, a proper, long-form letter with an old-fashioned pen and paper. Two sides of A4 if you must know (and you must). A friend wants […]

Read More

Wash Your Neck

15 April 2017 | Diary

Every now and then, something from my working-class childhood floats up in memory to give me a shudder. The Nit Nurse, for example, or a scene glimpsed through a Blackpool window in 1993. And then there’s Athlete’s Foot. Whatever happened to it? The 1980s was a golden age for Athlete’s Foot, a festive dusting of […]

Read More

Shits All Over a Nectarine

08 April 2017 | Diary

I like peaches, they’re my favourite fruit. But you always have to eat them in your least-favourite suit. Poetry! Maybe I’ll start each of my diary entries in this way from now on. Tune in next week to see if I stay true to this dream, idly cooked though it was in the fires of […]

Read More


12 February 2017 | Diary

I found myself thinking today about Luke. You remember Luke. He was the chap who, when I was on work experience at the council, occupied a corner office designed to segregate him from the others lest he distract them with his exquisite beauty. He was the one who taught me how to skive by playing […]

Read More

Except My Genius

19 January 2017 | Diary

The customs officers at JFK do not take kindly to flouncers, flaneurs or fops. If you ask me, they’ve had it in for us since Wilde’s “nothing to declare” jibe, or “Geniusgate” as they call it now. Back 2009, I was rather full of myself. I’d been recognised a couple of times as a comedian, […]

Read More

Mr Peanut (MD)

25 October 2014 | Diary

A few weeks ago, in downtown Montreal, we noticed a large truck emblazoned with the festive colours and corporate iconography of Planters Nuts. I wouldn’t like to describe it here as “a truckload of peanuts” because I have no idea. For all I know, there was just one single, highly pampered, peanut inside or maybe […]

Read More