Barbarian Days

I like to think I’m pretty adventurous. For a pussy. I lived on several continents and travelled to many countries but William Finnegan has me beat. His book ‘Barbarian Days’ chronicles a surfing life that saw him travel the world in search of the finest breaks, from his native Southern California to Hawaii, where he …

Paris I Love You

Many people would sell a non-essential organ, a spare kidney say, to live in Paris. The mere uttering of the word causes many to hyperventilate at the thought of romantic trysts in secluded side street bistros and strolls in statue-strewn gardens. Rosencrans Baldwin thought he was very much one of their number but when he …

War Stories

War what is it good for? Well at the risk of sounding incredibly cynical I’d say as source for some of the most powerful books ever created. I’ve just been reading 2 fascinating looks at two totally different wars. The first is Kevin Powers ‘The Yellow Birds’, a much praised book that is the first …

Rock ‘n’ Roll Addict

Who’d be a rock critic? Having to hang around with mega stars doing vast quantities of drugs as they screw and jam their way round the world. It’s a hard life. Nick Kent is such an unfortunate. In his riveting autobiography ‘Apathy for the Devil’ he tells tales, anyone of which, would get the teller …

Just Annoyingly Good

I hate Patti Smith. Really I do. I’m not saying she’s not talented. I’m just saying she makes me weep for my own sorry life in comparison with hers. The bitch. It’s not enough for her to have written some classics albums. No, now she has to write an excellent memoir as well. ‘Just Kids’ …