Dagenham in east London takes some beating for urban despair. It has more shaved heads, tattoos and no necks than the rest of the country put togther.

You can’t tell the dogs from the owners, its parks are featureless municipal expanses of grass with no trees and cavern-like pubs designed for mass brawling and chair throwing. It’s one of those ‘what the fuck are you looking at’ places. The attached photo is one of its more picturesque sights.

A living embodiment of Mordor on earth. I’m never coming back here again. Ever.





“Few people understand the enormous advantage of never hesitating and always daring.”

Criminologist Maurice Cusson explaining the success of Hell’s Angels


Ugly and got a bad hair cut? Why not just be ugly ?

Sign outside Australian barber shop


Australian Aborigines say that the big stories—the stories worth telling and retelling, the ones in which you may find the meaning of your life—are forever stalking the right teller, sniffing and tracking like predators hunting their prey in the bush.

Robert Moss


So, our glorious leader is coming back early from his summer holidays to get to grips with the rioters who’ve been making the most of the free weekend sales? Well, I’ll be sleeping safer in my bed knowing that the Big C is back on the case with his foot firmly on the public jugular.

I thought we might have got at least one more week’s peace from his bleating ‘big society’ speak. We’ll all be wearing sackcloth and grubbing for potatoes by winter.





The Greeks have never been averse to strapping on their sandals and slitting a few throats in the name of Zeus so it was interesting to read their take on the power of theatre in instructing young men in the art of managing their emotions and thoughts when faced with dangerous situations.

In theatre, no-one gets hurt by the drama being acted out on stage even when it involves a trip to the Underworld. All sounds very grown-up and civilised.

The Greeks called this training the ‘Orphic Mystery School.’ Sounds like the name of a progressive rock band if ever I’ve heard one.


In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.

Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the waiting desk?

David Whyte


War, riots, rising unemployment and civil disobedience. It’s like the Conservative Party has never been away.

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