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Monthly Archives: November 2018


I was talking to one of my Chinese students about the purpose of her study.

She said: “I think seriously about the question: what is my purpose? But I’m not sure yet. Chinese call purpose ‘dao’, call method ‘shu.’

“I’m not really sure what is my ‘dao’,but I want to learn ‘shu’ first.”

That set me thinking.



It’s quarter to seven, the sky outside is pitch black, the rain was very cold when I went to One-Stop to buy milk, and it doesn’t appear to be stopping any time soon.

I’m sitting at my kitchen table writing, a milky coffee next to the laptop, and a podcast on youtube to keep me company.

I like all this, too.

when you dance

Busking in Durham last night, a group of kids began dancing, doing sort of swirly movements and really getting into the vibe of what I was playing. They then came over and dropped money into my case and told me they loved the music. They’re local, not students, maybe eighteen-nineteen years old at most, sixth-form alternative types I think, and just a bit stoned. I’ve seen them before.

They always dance.

I like it.


Instead of driving to MaccyDs this morning, I tried staying at home. I sat at the kitchen table and wrote. I made my own coffee, instead of paying £2.09 per cup. Got a lot done.

Then I took my pooch for walk. It was so early he didn’t meet any other dogs to terrorise. He didn’t try to bite fences behind which dogs sometimes lurk. He didn’t leap like a spring-loaded flying squirrel toward cats cowering beneath cars.

It was quite a pleasant change.

My pooch Angus. A cute, affectionate, loyal, stinky, sad-faced, lick-everything, insane little killing-machine.

story of the month

Extremely late, I’ve missed half the month already, here’s this month’s story of the month – Carol.


Weird. Some of my email addresses have disappeared. Literally, just gone. Can’t contact people. That’s what you get for using the cheap version of an arcane, Swiss mail provider.

shadow hunter

I was watching Shadowhunters on Netflix, as you do, and I saw that Magnus Bane’s apartment looked across at the Brooklyn Bridge. So I went on google street view and sort of worked out where he lived at the time of the story.

It’s Water Street, or maybe one of the higher apartments at the Eagle Warehouse on Old Fulton Street. Or maybe Furman Street.

Then as I looked at a bird’s eye view of the area I saw a marking for Truman Capote’s House, so I zoomed down to that and the street his house was on made me think of Miss Holliday Golightly arriving home from some party, very early in the morning, and waking her neighbour Yunioshi because she forgot her key again.


change your mind

I’m a typical product of the end result of the protestant reformation, I adhere to no church or organisation: I’m not religious.

But I do like the idea that if you want to change, you can. The Roman church calls it repentance, but it’s simpler than that. It’s just a matter of saying, ‘I’ll stop doing this, I’ll start doing that.’

I wrote about it once. Here:



Mark ‘E’ Everett, the main-man from the band Eels, said of his album Souljacker that the theme was like the feeling you might get if you’d accidentally left your soul behind in a hotel, only to get a call saying that they’d found it, and could you come and collect it?

I don’t think I’ve heard a more right-brained description of anything.