The 50-foot update, part 1: the cultural stuff


Look, I’ve been busy, alright? Since we last spoke, a mere 11 months ago, I have edited nine issues of the increasingly fabulous EducationInvestor magazine, raised six kittens, looked after sick loved ones, attempted to tutor a Zimbabwean teenager in English and Maths, walked in a circle all the way round London, composed half a novel that will almost certainly never see the light of day, and organised an awards do. So there.

As of last night, I’ve also finally got around to re-doing this website to make it a bit more user friendly. In future I’m going to post every new article individually, to make life a bit simpler. But to catch up, here’s the first of two giant posts to wrap up all the freelance stuff I’ve done over the last few months. This one covers the London and cultural stuff; the other will cover the education and politics stuff.

The London stuff:

  • A Ruislip by any other name: What Boris Johnson’s cycle scheme can tell us about the strangely changeable names of the city’s different neighbourhoods (Londonist, August 12th 2010)
  • Solving London’s drinking problem: some modest proposals to make us less bladdered (Londonist, October 27th 2010)
  • Brand new map, brand new mistakes: On how the rail companies care more about corporate identity than about actually helping us get places (Londonist, March 15th 2011)

Culture stuff:

  • A review of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps: if anyone can tell me what this film is meant to be about, I’d be glad to know (Shinyshelf, October 26th 2010)
  • A review of Burke and Hare: A film that deserves its own truth and reconciliation commission (Shinyshelf, November 8th 2010)
  • Doctor Who regenerates: Russell T Davies versus Steven Moffat (Shinyshelf, June 24th 2010)
  • Elisabeth Sladen obituary: on the death of Sarah Jane Smith (Shinyshelf, April 20th 2011)

I also contributed to Shinyshelf’s three christmas posts on the highlights of 2010 (Shinyshelf, December 24th-27th 2010). Just so you know.


In which the words of Dr Johnson are put to the test, and the actions of Mr Johnson come in for some scrutiny


I’m a regular contributor to Londonist, where I mostly narrow my eyes suspiciously at City Hall and fret about the housing crisis.

On City Hall:

  • Busy doing nothing – the inert mayoralty of Boris Johnson (July 2009)
  • Another one bites the dust – to lose one deputy may be considered a misfortune. To lose three… (June 2009)
  • London Assembly Members: Any dirt? – at the height of the parliamentary expenses scandal, I had a flick through the register of member’s interest (May 2009)

On housing:

  • They come over here, they take our houses… Why the immigrant housing myth persists (July 2009)
  • Housing crisis? What housing crisis? – on the Mayor’s affordable homes strategy (May 2009)

On the 2009 European elections:

  • European Elections: The Alternative Parties – a cut out and keep guide (June 2009)
  • Euro-elections: the morning after the night before – on the BNP vote (June 2009)

I briefly wrote for the shameless-and-swiftly-abandoned Londonist rip-off, Londonshelf:

  • The Beginning of the End – why Hoxton is so over (December 2006)
  • End of the Line – why I was glad to see the back of those bloody Routemasters (December 2006)

I’ve also written two features for the artsy quarterly, Smoke: A London Peculiar:

  • Burgess Park – on an unexpected hole in Camberwell (Winter 2004)
  • All Roads Lead to Romford – on a long walk, and the strangely semi-detached relationship between London and Essex (Spring 2007)

And finally, some some silly photo stories:

  • The mysterious theft of the Cambridge roundabout from a portacabin in Wood Green
  • Snitch on your friends – fabulous prizes to be won!

Flotsam and jetsam and odds and ends


From 2003-6, I intermittently contributed to the New Statesman‘s New Media Awards blog, writing stories of textspeak death certificates and Korean karaoke phones. Very little of this, sadly, is still on the interweb. Try not to feel too downhearted.

Instead, here are some other oddities I have put into the world, thanks to ak13:

  • A Sicilian Message – Ten suspicious parallels between the War on Terror and the Godfather Trilogy (ak13, June 2004)
  • Ten reasons to love… global warming (ak13, September 2004)
  • Meaning frenzy – on how ‘objective journalism’ may reflect the views of a dominant class (ak13, July 2004)
  • Ten reasons to love… the rainy British summer (ak13, July 2004)
  • Ten reasons… why you don’t matter a damn – my classic work of existential despair (ak13, March 2004)

Some greatest hits

  • How unpaid internships have made the media so middle class (The First Post, August 2009)
  • Busy doing nothing – the inert mayoralty of Boris Johnson (Londonist, July 2009)
  • A lesson in private education – the strange success of Cognita’s schools (Guardian Unlimited/Comment is Free, July 2009)
  • They come over here, they take our houses… Why the immigrant housing myth persists (Londonist, July 2009)
  • Putting the fun in fundamentalism – a trip to Kentucky’s museum of creationism (, November 2008)
  • Disappointment can wait – the election night scenes in Washington DC (, November 2008)
  • Sweet, crazy people – a visit to a McCain-Palin campaign office in Ohio (, October 2008)
  • Nobody can handle the truth about PFI – fifteen years and £57 billion later, and we still don’t know if it works (The First Post, September 2008)
  • A load of Bull – some thoughts on left-wing patriotism (The Sharpener, June 2006)
  • A Sicilian Message – Ten suspicious parallels between the War on Terror and the Godfather Trilogy (ak13, June 2004)
  • Dead giveaway – sitting in judgement on Santa Claus for the Political Judge column (ak13, December 2003)