Most of us have been in some semblance of lockdown for over a year. In the UK, we started this gruesome social experiment on 26 March 2020, and in theory, we emerge blinking and drinking from our cocoon in June.

Like grief, lockdown has its own stages. I’m not talking about the broken promises, the tiers, or Eat Out To Help Out. I’m talking about our own, personal stages.

The first stage was of course the hideous, grasping, mass panic, where grown men wrestled 18 rolls of Andrex from frail old ladies, and people slid whole shelves of tinned fruit…


Hey! Parents! Leave those kids at home!

Back in August of 2020, in a statement on her website, J.K. Rowling explained why she was returning her ludicrously monikered ‘Ripple of Hope’ award.

It was following the President of ‘Robert F Kennedy Human Rights’ claims, that Rowling’s views, “diminishes the identity” of transgender people.

Hot on the heels of this, the charity Mermaids, which claims to support ‘trans and gender-diverse children’, published a response to Rowling, where they delivered what felt to many, like a veiled attempt at indefensible emotional blackmail.

In it they said, “there have been cases of self-harm and even attempted suicide following J.K. …


Ever the cliché, I belong to a Facebook group ‘for writers’. Aside from the regular scam posts about ‘Reviewing your book for free! No strings!’ one of my favourite recent posts was from an author promoting their new novel. This hapless writer posted a photo of themselves holding their new book, while they posed in a fancy new outfit and hairdo.

The accompanying caption read like so much self-help twaddle with, ‘speaking your truth’ taking centre stage, followed closely by a desire for us to know that they were ‘out to embrace their natural look’ and their ‘best selves’. It…


LinkedIn is ‘the world’s largest professional network’. They have over 720 million members, and if you want a job in the corporate world, or indeed most office-based environments, you need some kind of presence on it.

For many, their LinkedIn journey would have started on a Monday morning, probably in January or February when, after some kind of skin-crawling experience with their boss, or a particularly miserable meeting, they were led there in an attempt to find a less horrible job.

LinkedIn is first and foremost, a job site. That’s why people are on there. But it has diversified and…


As the US election enters zero hour, we find ourselves once again bombarded by celebrities informing us not just how they have voted, but how others should vote.

Even at the height of the UK Labour party’s Red Wedge tours in the 80s featuring The Style Council, Madness, The Specials, Jimmy Somerville, Silly Bragg et al (and the Conservative’s laughable equivalent where they wheeled out Michael Winner, Jimmy Tarbuck, Steve Davis, and Kenny “Let’s bomb Russia!” Everett) it was nothing like the swarm of puffed up narcissists we have now, offering advice or orders.


Don’t Worry Everything is Going to Be Amazing by Billy Moran, is set during the era known largely as ‘Rave’. I love the book and not least because it’s a time that for me, was the last great youth culture and one that has significant personal resonance.

When I read Billy’s book, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as the memories started to resurface. I used to think that feeling was flashbacks caused by the various chemicals and plants I may or may not have consumed regularly and in huge quantities during this time.


10. Mark One | Hoovers and Spraycans [1992]
Choci produced such a weird sound, such a chunking beat and instrumentation that sounded like an afternoon at Screwfix. We revelled in the homemade sounding track that put two fingers up at so called traditionalists who felt every artist should have a guitar in their hands.

9. Urban Shakedown (featuring Micky Finn) — Some Justice [1991]
Both Some Justice and the excellent Sweet Harmony by Liquid utilised Ce Ce Rogers track Someday. Is it the most dramatic, and recognisable intro to any rave tune? Probably. And when those bass bins rumbled, the floor…


Gretchen Weiners: Regina, you’re wearing sweatpants. It’s Monday.
Regina George: So?
Karen Smith: So that’s against the rules and you can’t sit with us.
Excerpt from the film Mean Girls (2004)

On Boxing Day 2019, the British lawyer ‘campaigner’ Jolyon Maugham tweeted, “Already this morning I have killed a fox with a baseball bat. How’s your Boxing Day going?

There was justified disgust and outrage not merely at the act itself, but the tone and subsequent explanation that he “didn’t especially enjoy killing (the fox)” and that he was “in a kimono”, Maugham went on to say it was upsetting…


I ran a comprehensive survey recently on this subject* largely so I could understand two things. Did the premise resonate at all or require too much explanation, and secondly, if it did resonate, to find out what people thought, and steal their ideas.

As it turns out, this is something most people are aware of. A cousin of virtue signalling, humblebragging, and that whole grimness, these are things that people actively pretend to like when in fact, you strongly suspect they don’t.

Why pretend? Because that person is under the impression that liking these things will make them somehow more…


The high life with Sean Lock and Benedict Wong

Some shows never have the chance to ‘Jump the Shark’. That fateful moment where a tonal shift or more usually, a dip in quality, is felt by the audience. Derived from an episode in Happy Days where the Fonz inexplicably jumps over a shark while on water skis, the expression is used most often to reflect a symptom of a show’s success and therefore longevity.

A sitcom may have existed for so long that the writers got increasingly desperate in their search for plots, or they have moved the characters so far on from their origins that they no longer…

Tom James

Another man with opinions. Hooray! Author of the book Your Children Are Boring or How Modern Parents Ruin Everything.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store