Back to Britain

My four months of self-imposed exile has come to an end. I went to America to write my book. To Los Angeles in fact. I know some people will instantly shriek in horror at the idea of a someone going to Los Angeles to write a book, usually those who either have never been there themselves or who don’t know the place well, but we shan’t have that argument all over again. I wrote a blog on that very subject some ago. Let me just say the town suited me perfectly. I was up in the Hollywood Hills, just below the well-known sign. It was like being in the country, invaded as my house was by racoons, skunks, deer and, from time to time, wildcats. The weather was charming without being absurd, the people ditto. I write in the mornings, the very early mornings, from about 5am till lunchtime, which allows afternoons and early evenings for other things. Bed by nine if I can and then the same the next day and the next and the next until it’s done. A peculiar life, but it seems to be the only way to coax a book out of me.

View from the house

In case you forget where you are

In that writing period I have, as I explained to my followers, more or less abandoned Twitter. There were one or two exceptions, my journey to San Francisco for the iPad launch and a trip to Barcelona for the World Mobile Congress. I hope now that I’m back that I can resume a tweeting life, but I hope too that I will be forgiven if I do not instantly accede to every request to tweet or retweet on behalf of charitable instiutions, birthdays, political affiliations, injustices and other causes. I would rapidly lose my followers if my twitter feed became nothing more than a charity bulletin board.

I start life back in Britian with recordings for sixteen more QI programmes, so I shall be hitting the ground running. I also have various speaking engagements for causes I support and shall be busy writing speeches and preparing addresses as well as revising the book and catching up on the mountain of obligations and correspondence that my absence has necessarily occasioned. So, once again, I hope those who are looking to buttonhole me and beg for some of my time will be aware of the fact that while I may be back in Britain very, very few of my hours are my own.

So far as this site is concerned, – we have plans to develop and enhance. In a few weeks we launch an iPad app on which you can read blogs, blessays, microblogs and other pieces of writing that I publish to this site. We’re testing it at this moment and I’m very pleased with the smooth flow and finish of it. Of course not many in Britain are likely to have an iPad and many would rather eat poo than be seen dead with one, so astonishing has the tribal polarity and antagonism for and against Apple become in the last few months. I shall reflect on that in an upcoming blog. I have the good fortune to have got my hands on some juicy and exciting HTC Android phones, the Desire, the Legend and the Incredible (somebody in the naming department should be spanked) and I will unburden myself on my thoughts on those two as soon as I find the time.

Well, I must go and pack. The plane leaves in a few hours and I should hate to miss it.

This blog was posted in General

iPad About

Well bless my soul and whiskers. This is the first time I’ve joined the congregation at the Church of Apple for a new product launch. I’ve watched all the past ones, downloaded the Quicktime movies and marvelled as Apple’s leader has stood before an ovating faithful and announced the switch to Intel, the birth of iPod, the miniMac, the iTunes Store, OS X, iPhoto, the swan’s neck iMac, the Shuffle, Apple retail stores, the iPhone, the titanium powerbook, Garageband, the App Store and so much more. But today I finally made it. I came to San Francisco for the launch of the iPad. Oh, happy man.


This blog was posted in General

Ave atque Vale

Well now, this is a sort of farewell. An au revoir more than an adieu but a valediction all the same. This morning I switch off most of my connections with the outside world, for I have work to do. I must deliver a book to my publishers by the end of April or my soul and testicles will be forfeit.

Some people can write with ease in whatever circumstances they find themselves. Up a tree, on a bus, in a log cabin, a steamy-windowed café or a tropical beach. Some don’t mind noise, distraction or a broken up day. I, unhappily, am not made of this material. I need peace, absolute peace, an empty diary and zero distraction. I enter a kind of writing purdah, an eremitical seclusion in which there is just me, a keyboard and abundant cups of coffee, all in a room whose curtains have been drawn against the light. I would have added tobacco as a constant and necessary companion, but I stopped smoking some two and half years ago, so no longer will there be the pleasure of having a pipe clamped between the teeth as I grope for the Flaubertian mot juste.

I have a single appointment in London towards the end of January and another in Barcelona a month or so later. Otherwise I shall be as one wiped from the map of human existence. This is how it must be.


This blog was posted in General and Miniblog

Poles, Politeness and Politics in the age of Twitter

I sometimes think that when I die there should be two graves dug: the first would be the usual kind of size, say 2 feet by 7, but the other would be much, much larger. The gravestone should read: ME AND MY BIG MOUTH.

I suspect most of you will have heard of the shitstorm that howled about the head of Jan Moir, a journalist who wrote a beastly article in the Daily Mail about the death of Stephen Gately the day before his funeral. I don’t propose to stop and pick over the carcass of that epically ill-judged piece of gutter journalism. Its malice, stupidity, incoherent illogicality and crass insensitivity have been superbly anatomised by many others and besides, too much time has passed, a whole 24 hours at the time of writing and for the online world, which is still a child, a year is a decade and a day a whole month.


This blog was posted in Blessays and General Related topics: , , , , and

Cricket Speech Presented at Lord’s 14th July 2009

Thank you ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much indeed. It is an honour to stand before so many cricketing heroes from England and from Australia and at this, my favourite time of year. The time when that magical summer sound comes to our ears and gladdens our old hearts, the welcome sound of leather on Graham Swann.

I have been asked to say a few words – well more than a few. “You’ve twenty minutes to fill,” I was firmly told by the organisers. 20 minutes. Not sure how I’ll use all that time up. Perhaps in about ten minutes or so Andrew Strauss would be kind enough to send on a a physio, that should kill a bit of time.


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