Pets and prizes. Sugar, Johnson and Hodge

Johnson reading closely. Portrait by Joshua Reynolds.
“Wealth cannot confer greatness, for nothing can make that great which the decree of nature has ordained to be little.” Samuel Johnson.

This week’s Apprentice opened with the candidates being summoned to Dr Johnson’s house to look at the memorial to his cat, Hodge, outside. This was the set-up for Lord Sugar to give them a pet-bothering task: “People will stop at nothing to pamper their pets, and the pet market is worth a massive 4.6 billion pounds per year. Now I want you to get a piece of that action…” Continue reading

Laura Palmer is dead, long live Laura Palmer

Laura Palmer - arms bending back

I watched the first series of Twin Peaks as a raw undergraduate at Manchester University, only a few months out of school. It was the only television I would actively stay in to watch, and it was the same for my Norwegian flatmate, who would sit fixedly for the 50 minutes in a state of quasi-religious ecstasy, reacting violently to any interruption. The what-happens-next excitement may no longer be there, but I love it no less nearly 25 years later, and I know I’m not alone. Continue reading

The terrible boredom of existential threats to the universe

terrible-boredom-headerSome of the best BBC dramas can be the most irritating. By the best I mean those they’re most pleased with, whose cushions they are forever plumping, whose production values are the most ambitious. Take, say, the increasingly indistinguishable Sherlock and Dr Who, for which the structure, pacing, editing, characterization, mannerisms, tics and assumptions have become hauntingly similar. Continue reading

An Interview with Andy Hamilton

andy-hamilton-wpcf_216x216An Interview with Andy Hamilton. I talk to Andy about becoming a writer, free booze, the future of beer and what he plans to write next. My interview for Nudge .


Andy Hamilton is an author, broadcaster, foraging guide and accidental expert—he has an unusual dedication to following wherever his interests take him. Mostly this has been to the areas of alcohol and self-sufficiency, frequently in the overlap between the two. His published books include The Selfsufficient-ish Bible (2009, co-authored with his twin brother), Booze for Free (2011) and Brewing Britain (2013).

Andy contributes to various TV and radio shows on subjects ranging from survival and foraging through to home brewing and gardening. Highlights include telling BBC Radio 2’s Simon Mayo how to make the perfect elderflower champagne and nearly taking the Autumnwatch cast’s teeth out with his toffee apples. His most recent appearance was on BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme (‘Wild Booze’). He regularly blogs about home brewing, beer, foraging and gardening on his website, while you can also follow him on Twitter.

Read the full interview on Nudge