Monthly Archives: August 2005

Creative Genius

I’ve just presented a series for Radio 4 called Creative Genius. Click here if you want to listen to the programmes.

It Takes All Types

I’m presenting a programme about fonts on BBC Radio 4, Wednesday 7th September, at 1130 pm. Listen online
Here’s a guide to your font personality which I wrote for The Times…
If your favourite font is…
Arial: you are a default person and can’t be bothered to explore life’s drop-down menu.
Bodoni: you are a good-looking Italian with a Vespa, probably living in a nice part of Milan.
Comic Sans: you desperately want to be loved and considered nice, funny and possibly even wacky, but cry a lot when alone.
Copperplate Gothic: you are a lawyer or business-person, wear a suit at home, and live in or near Milton Keynes.
Courier: you smoke, use a typewriter, and are probably either an elderly secretary or embittered old journalist.
Curlz: you are probably called Lee or Kylie. You are a hairdresser.
Futura: you live in a Bauhaus building and are currently sitting on a Mies van der Rohe chair fondling your Filofax.
Georgia: you are probably female and like Kettle Chips, Pinot Grigiot, girly nights in, George Clooney and pink things from Monsoon.
Gill Sans: you are tasteful, design-conscious, probably gay or bi-curious, and you have lots of brushed stainless steel in your kitchen.
Helvetica: you may be Swiss or German, or you could be a sixties Conran type or wannabe hippy. Prince Charles allegedly likes this font.
Rockwell Extra Bold: you live in East Anglia, wear a stetson, speak in a fake Wild West accent and may be dangerous.
Verdana: you design websites, spend a lot of time on your blog, and have never knowingly read a book.
Read full article here

PD James

I just interviewed PD James. She’s soooooo nice. And charming. And clever. And articulate. It should be compulsory for all people to write crime novels involving gruesome murders in scary locations.

Health Update

I’ve now been out of hospital for a month and I feel fine, apart from the constant dizziness. But I’m now on a new tablet for that. It’s called Stemetil and it prevents balance problems – also psychosis and schizophrenia – so it’s quite handy really. Since being discharged, I’ve visited Cambridge, Exeter, London and Liverpool and made three radio documentaries, which made for a very relaxing convalescence. I’m rejoining the gym in September (swimming and light exercise – no weights) and having several check-ups with consultants.

Hoonds Of Love, Pet

I’m rather partial to the Futureheads cover of Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love, which appears on the splendid new Festival CD. And it’s encouraging to hear yet another band singing in an obvious Geordie accent (well…Sunderland in this case, but near enough). The Newcastle accent seems spectacularly popular nowadays. I wonder how long it’ll be before bands actually start imitating Geordie instead of putting on execrable American accents. Although I’m from Newcastle, I’ve always spoken RP English. But I can do pretty good Geordie. And I still use short A’s, pronouncing ‘grass’ as in ‘ass’. Occasionally, I lapse into a long A, but very rarely, and it always gives me a terrible shock when I do.


It’s 4.45am and I’ve been awake for two hours. All I can hear outside is the catflap next door. It’s being used every few minutes. I’m not sure what’s going on or how many cats are in their kitchen. As WC Fields said, “the best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep”, so I’m off to bed again now, before Bollinger wakes me up at 6.


I was in Cambridge today for the first time in three years and it was good to be back. We pootled round bookshops, discovered the brilliant Rainbow Cafe opposite Kings (fantastic organic chocolate and chestnut cake) and ended the day at Browns. Cambridge isn’t at its leafy autumnal best on Saturday afternoons in August. It was very crowded. And I was slightly taken aback by all the Starbucks and Borders. But the colleges and the Cam still look the same, thank goodness, and there are still lots of frail elderly bicycles with wicker baskets.

Some Like It Cool

Me, when I liked hot weather
It’s too darn hot. I hate it. It’s wrong – especially in England, which has a moral duty to be be cold. I used to love it, and I’ve lived and worked in hot countries, but now I’ve seen sense. Hippocrates recognised the debilitating effects of heat as long ago as the 5th century BC. The philosopher Montesquieu even argued that hot weather should be taken into account in legal judgements (most riots in the USA and UK occur when the temperature’s between 27C and 32C). And the Pentagon has predicted worldwide chaos, rioting and conflict in the year 2020 due to Global Warming. Peacockshock says: This Heat Must Stop.

Online Gallery

I’ve discovered an excellent online art gallery containing everything from Holbein to Hockney. Well worth a visit.