Drop Everything and Read

It’s an initiative in schools to encourage more reading. Especially in response to falling literacy standards.

Should the same initiative be applied to adults too?

I have no doubt that increased forms of media consumption including of course social as taken up time and attention, arguably away from reading and that is a real shame.

And I truly know that when I commit to a book, especially a good one, the rewards are astronomical and far outweigh any time spent scrolling news feeds.

Books have shaped my views on the world profoundly. I wouldn’t have taken the risks and career decisions going forward were it not for books like the Art of Possibility by Ben and Roz Zander or Linchpin by Seth Godin. I wouldn’t have the same sense of compassion were it not for Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy or Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. I wouldn’t have the imagination I do were it not for Lord of the Rings or the pleasure of details in everyday life were it not for Proust.

Having taken time off, I’ve kicked started my reading again and from here on I will aim to do at least twenty minutes of reading a day.

Funnily enough the more I read, the more I want to read and the less time I want to spend online.

The profound rewards of reading are one of life’s great joys and despite the new landscapes that technology has provided, it’s worth reminding ourselves of that every once in a while.


Christmas is a strange holiday to me.

It is a wonderfully baffling cornucopia of festive traditions, all of which is initially inspired by the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated by billions of people, both religious and secular.

Added to that is all the festive traditions that take place from fairly lights to Christmas trees to exchanging presents. Honestly, it’s all there in my head as fixed traditions but part of me wants to dig deeper and understand where it all exactly came from.

The colourful lighting of Christmas comes at an apt time of the year. Especially in the Northern Hemisphere where days are shorter. The festivity works as a wonderful tonic for the darker days and I love participating in the collective traditions that bring together family and friends in eating too much, drinking too much and participating in intense, high stakes board games.

Whilst Christmas amplifies a sense of togetherness and generosity, it also can amplify pain and loss and especially during Covid, I approach Christmas with an appreciativeness of family and comfort but also a dose of compassion.

I also reflect on the year that has past and whilst I perhaps hesitate to categorise the time too much, it is a good way to look back on what has been achieved and what one may set out to do next.

To everyone who has read and listened to my work this last year, I extend to you my gratitude and may Christmas be everything you need it to be this year, merry, happy, peaceful and/or anything else for that matter.

Season’s Greetings.


I was fortunate enough to be called up for my booster jab on Saturday morning.

The following night, I had shivers, got to bed, kept as warm as I could and drank about 2 litres through the night.

I’ve also been wiped out for four days, barely left the house but for some short walks, accompanied by books, music, the Witcher and Jon Ronson’s things fell apart radio series.

I had two Pfizer shots in the summer and the booster was the moderna. I am surprised at how much I’ve felt it but that’s because my body is responding and building up immunity to the vaccine. Reports have come out that this combination of doses is really effective against Omicron.

It’s a blessing in disguise in some ways as resting is what I’ve probably needed to do following a busy few months. I’m nearly back at full strength and positive that I’ll feel refreshed.

It’s not pleasant but side affects from the vaccine shouldn’t discourage one from taking it.

There are a few rough weeks ahead as we enter winter and over 100,000 cases were reported in the U.K. today.

Wishing everyone health and peace of mind going forward and my sympathies to everyone who has had their festive plans disrupted.

Avoiding being a troll

Everyone has an opinion.

And many who think they know better, don’t.

And many who claim to be an expert, aren’t.

And social media amplifies all of this and puts it out there as a stark reality of the world we live in where anyone behind the veil of a device can write what they like. It’s not a new problem and has been going on a while now.

It’s always easier to be a critic than a creator. It’s always easier to sit back and judge those who do and most of the time, these people who do write in this kind of way are clearly expressing some form of hurt or fear they are feeling in themselves.

That’s not to excuse the abuse Latifi received for his DNF or that football players get for mistakes. The fact that these people can receive death threats is well beyond the pale and as usual more needs to be done to quash this kind of behaviour.

But for those participating in this kind of behaviour for now. A simple alternative would be to go for a walk, get some air and return to the state of being able to have a perspective on things. Such as sports really being a wonderful irrelevance.

By all means have your opinion, but if one directs it in a purposefully harmful way, that’s not acceptable and does no one anyone any good, least of all oneself.

Better to not contribute to the noise until you have something constructive or insightful to say.

The F1 world title.

Spoiler alert.

There was an expressed desire that the race would be won on the track.

So what we got was a safety car, a decision that cars would not be able to unlap themselves and then some cars could in the last minute, an 11 second advantage essentially wiped out by a crash, and replaced by another advantage in the form of fresh soft tyres against old hard tyres for a one lap show down.

Verstappen wins the championship and Hamilton loses out through no fault of his own and Mercedes protest twice, get rejected and are now appealing.

This is really messy and the victory for Verstappen is unfortunately, rather hollow.

Hamilton and Verstappen both drove and battled amazingly throughout the season. Red bull had the better car at the start but from the half way point, Mercedes tweaked some things, managed to find their A game and clawed their way back.

And as great a driver as Verstappen is, I was less than impressed with his aggressive tactics and standards. It’s the inner bastard that this kind of sport manifests in you and he won’t back out and is always in it for himself.

Hamilton’s experience and approach was much more dignified. He changed tact to avoid collisions and always puts the collective effort first above himself, hence why he always talks about the crowds or the teams first before himself. How he handled the loss with such dignity and grace is to be hugely admired.

But Hamilton didn’t deserve to have his 8th world title clinched away in such fashion by an FIA call that was at best, inconsistent and arbitrary.

For Masi to change his mind last minute puts a real dent in his credibility. Such a discussion with the safety car meant that he ended up dictating the winner. After all the work Hamilton and Mercedes did, there were no good options, including changing tyres due to losing track position.

So the lap cars could unlap themselves to let the battle take place for 1st but what about podium positions and Sainz? Did those positions not count for that kind of consideration in the last lap showdown?

And it makes you wonder how manipulated this situation was. It provided a last minute spectacle but that was that the expense of rules being consistently applied in the sport?

This needs to be questioned going forward.

And I don’t like the stewards constantly being badgered by team principals. Horner will especially use every trick in the book and to him, it’s NEVER his drivers’ fault. The Red flag situation at Saudi Arabia when Verstappen almost caused a collision at the second restart sounded like a negotiation as opposed to an enforced rule. The authority of Masi was always challenged and at times, it appeared he cracked under the pressure.

So many people feel that a world championship battle tonight and even the sport as a whole was tarnished by an arbitrary decision this evening, and they are right!

And whilst Hamilton may not be victorious for this year, he’s still a 7 time champion and captures the essence of a sportsman who is dignified, has an amazing attitude and stands up for justice and causes he believes in.

And it’s not new news that the deserving are victorious in F1, but that’s also the case for many other aspects in life.

Despite that, Hamilton’s maxim is the most fitting response.

‘Still we rise’.