Skip to main content


More radio

By Audio, Literature

Our Kind of Traitor coverYesterday morn­ing I was lucky enough to be invited to Radio New Zealand once again, this time to review the new John le Carré nov­el, Our Kind of Traitor.

It’s a ter­rif­ic nov­el, up there with le Carré’s best, and I had about four minutes (and a bit) to per­suade Kathryn.

Listen here or down­load from the link below:



Radio Radio

By Asides, Cricket, Literature

This morn­ing I sloped up to Radio New Zealand to review Richard Boock’s new bio­graphy of Bert Sutcliffe: “The Last Everyday Hero”. Kathryn’s a crick­et fan so, even though she had­n’t got to read­ing the book, we had plenty to talk about. Including an unex­pec­ted diver­sion into the sub­ject of Fleetwood Mac.

Listen here or down­load from the link below:


Book Review with Dan Slevin: “The Last Everyday Hero: The Bert Sutcliffe Story” by Richard Boock, pub­lished by Longacre Press – Random House NZ. (dur­a­tion: 7m 58s)

Writing is a deep-sea dive

By Asides, Literature

Dave Eggers in The Guardian:

Writing is a deep-sea dive. You need hours just to get into it: down, down, down. If you’re called back to the sur­face every couple of minutes by an email, you can­’t ever get back down. I have a great friend who became a Twitterer and he says he has­n’t writ­ten any­thing for a year.”

This is a great inter­view. Eggers is a real hero of mine.

Management consultancy

By Hammers, Literature, Sport

If I could have anoth­er life to live, sim­ul­tan­eous with my own, I would prob­ably spend most of it play­ing Sports Interactive’s Football Manager (aka Championship Manager). While I tend to scoff at those who get excited at Beatles Rock Bands and am baffled but impressed by those who take games ser­i­ously, I can­not deny my achilles heel and so every year I down­load the demo of the latest ver­sion and then force myself to not buy the full game in order to stay sane.

The 2009 ver­sion intro­duced half-time and full-time team talks, allow­ing you to gee-up or dress-down your team depend­ing on your psy­cho­logy, theirs, and the state of the match. Motivational options included “Show your dis­ap­point­ment at the team” or “Tell your play­ers to do this for the sup­port­ers” and you could single play­ers out for cri­ti­cism or praise (“Tell Cole that you are delighted with him”).

Read More

Great out-of-context paragraphs of our time #1

By Literature

A strange, awful and yet won­der­ful para­graph from a New York Times art­icle on the death of an artist I had nev­er heard of:

A Hamster’s Nest is what it sounds like, but with humans in the rodent roles: You shred a few hun­dred phone books, paint the walls, then ingest enough intox­ic­ants so that every scrap of sen­tience dis­ap­pears. “It was really intense,” recalled Ms. Snow, whose divorce from Dash was final­ized this sum­mer, though she remained close to him to the end. “We were all really high, and there were con­certs. It was like a whole oth­er world, an intense moment, all these people with paper, piles of Yellow Pages, no air or vent­il­a­tion and fumes every­where. We were already so drunk. The iPods kept get­ting lost in the paper.” Three days later — with no clue how it happened — she woke up in Berlin.

Full pathet­ic story, writ­ten by Alan Feuer and Allen Salkin, here. It also con­tains a sen­tence you don’t expect to find in a news­pa­per: “Being alone, of course, is not the same as being free.”