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We may all be unique, but few could be as unique as Mike Marqusee, who died last week, as it’s hard to argue that what the world has too many of is American socialist cricket fanatics. Usually described as ‘writer and activist’, for Mike this phrase was nonsense, as each activity was meaningless unless they […]

In recent years most of humanity has become proudly more tolerant of groups who once seemed to be on the margins of society. But until now it’s still been seen as acceptable to be offensive about one minority, which is the child murdering community. At last it seems the mood is changing, and finally we’re […]

  Here’s a town that’s an idyllic cocktail, of stunning Cotswold soothing stoniness, and yet reviled by much of Oxfordshire as its ‘chav’ town. It fuses its two images with attention to detail embodied by its shopping centre – It even has a canal, with a lock and everything, that goes through the middle of […]

At first glance Didcot isn’t easy to love.     In a way it’s Oxfordshire’s grubby neighbour, and you can imagine Abingdon pops round at the weekend to say “Would you mind popping down to Berkshire for the night, only we’ve some very important guests coming round and they’d rather not hear your racket.” But […]

Ivybridge is as aptly named a place as you’re likely to find in South Devon. Because its main bridge is covered in ivy. This displays an almost Germanic level of linguistic efficiency, as if Birmingham was called Unfathomableunderpasses or Grantham was named Dragonbirth.   But Ivybridge has other charms. As well as streams and hills […]

MUCH WENLOCK It doesn’t matter how meticulously you travel round Britain, carefully picking off every single town, you’ll still to be sent to places that make you think ‘where the bloody hell’s that’? It turns out Much Wenlock is in Shropshire, but not the bit of Shropshire you go to every day like Nantwich, it’s […]

I’m sure everyone in the world is as ridiculously fascinated by the quirks of towns as I am, so here are the tales of my most recent journey around Britain. Because Captain Scott and Marco Polo may have got about a bit, but they never went to Much Wenlock or Coalville did they? CRANLEIGH The […]

Sometimes a comic will have a dream, in which they’re doing a show but not only is the audience not laughing, they’re looking at you with utter bewilderment, a mass of expressions proclaiming ‘what IS this?, as if someone had placed an octopus on the stage. Then you notice surreally notable figures in the crowd, […]

I wonder if it was like this two thousand years ago. If it was, when Jesus died, Pontius Pilate would have appeared on Sky News moments after the cross was taken down and said “The world mourns today a man of great integrity. It was an honour to have known him, and even when I […]