‘Tricked once more…’. Happy birthday, Dr Dylan

Today’s the birthday of Bob Dylan. Here’s a piece I wrote in 2005 when Dylan was nominated (unsuccessfully – again) for the Nobel Prize: It was an odd kind of funeral. The deceased had lived a full and somewhat rackety life, and most of those who had come to bid farewell were, like him, brave […]

The underdog bites the dust

It was April 1998. I was living in a flat in London after my marriage had gone belly-up. I had been working on my novel Kill Your Darlings and was so stuck that it felt as if it was killing me. I was not, as they say, in a good place. Simon Kelner had just been […]

The recesssion turns us into new people

Anyone looking for a happy, escapist view of recession and unemployment should skip along to the Vaudeville Theatre in London where a revival of Neil Simon’s 1971 play The Prisoner of Second Avenue has just opened. The storyline may be wafer-thin but there are one or two quite good jokes in the play, and excellent […]

An error, an omission, a confession

A small moment of shame has occurred. I have earned a mention in the Independent’s Errors and Omissions column. As the name of the column implies, no appearance in Errors and Omissions is likely to be  good news, and this was no exception. I was taken to task by its author John Rentoul for opening […]