Vera Lynn and the power of music to change a national mood

Vera Lynn and the power of music to change a national mood

It was the summer of 1975. I was 14 and was somewhat surprised to see Vera Lynn be made a Dame, so I asked my mother whether she deserved it. My mother didn’t always give praise lightly. “Goodness yes,” she said. “She went out with the forces and put herself in...
Plenty of socio-political topics for a debate in the tennis club bar

Plenty of socio-political topics for a debate in the tennis club bar

It’s reassuring to know people are still publishing books on tennis despite the lack of any tournaments at which to promote them. In general, the run-up to a Grand Slam or Christmas are the best times for tennis books, as interest is always greatest as a major...
A 73-year-old warning about the need to be in the present

A 73-year-old warning about the need to be in the present

It was somewhat provocative, I admit, to stand in the queue for the supermarket – the statutory two metres behind the man in front and two metres ahead of the woman behind – reading a copy of The Plague. At one stage my reading was interrupted by a chuckle. I looked...