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I'll say one thing for the six-lane pile-up which passes for UK political life these days, it's given me a bunch of entertaining stuff to blog about. Indeed, with the hounding from office of Kim Darroch, the UKs ambassador to the US, it appears we've reached an exciting new low in what, when it comes to be written, the definitive history of these benighted times will probably refer to as A Series of Hideously Embarrassing Events, in which the poor, orphaned, put-upon electorate are repeatedly forced to bury their heads in their hands and sob whilst an army of Count Olafs fuck about with their future to serve their own political ends. Yes, even more embarrassing than those Animatronic zombie thundercunts from the Brexit Party who had as all gnawing our knuckles in gut churning angst last week with their utterly ridiculous back-turning nonsense (though in fairness half of them weren't really sure which way they were supposed to be facing anyway), and that was your dad da…
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The dark ages

I had an interesting conversation with Mrs Coastalblog a couple of nights ago, which revealed a certain, hitherto-unrealised difference in the way we approach what we want to watch on those rare occasions when we're at home at the same time and there's nothing more pressing to do. Having been meaning to get round to it for ages, we finally sat down to check out the first episode of the Beeb's alternative-future drama, Years and Years. No spoilers here, because it's worth a watch and I wouldn't want to spoil it for you; but whilst we both agreed it was excellent, brilliantly acted and intriguingly plotted, I was all for watching another one, and she said that she never wants to see it again.

I was slightly surprised by this, as Mrs Coastalblog and I generally enjoy fairly similar things, and this was, she admitted, engaging, interesting, well-made telly; but over the course of our post-match analysis it emerged that the reason that she didn't want to see it agai…

The unedifying defence of Boris Johnson

You would, I imagine, be a little surprised if I wrote a blog in defence of Boris Johnson and his recent brush with the law; a piece which highlighted every individual's right to a private life and pointed out that we've all made mistakes, which argued that what goes on between a couple in their private residence is no business of the wider public.

And you'd be right to be surprised, because I wouldn't, and the reason that I wouldn't is that that position is spurious bollocks being spouted by Johnson apologists who wouldn't know a moral if it bit them in the arse.

You are doubtless aware of the bare bones of our PM-in-waiting's imbroglio. Neighbours called police after hearing shouting, breakages, a woman screaming "get off me". The police arrived, decided there was nothing to worry about and that, as far as the Johnson camp is concerned, is that.

Except, of course that it isn't, in these tribal times, it's not enough that the matter's…

Relax everyone, it's Coastalblog's guide to the culture wars!

Hey now, the Trumpster's in town!

I'm sure that you, gentler reader are as consumed with interest as I am at the visit of the Orange one to our fair shores. Indeed, so interested am I that I spent most of this morning in Magnet trying unsuccessfully to exchange some kitchen cupboard handles. But here he is, the red carpet has been rolled out, various royals have been deployed and many of my fellow countrymen seem somewhat exercised by his presence.

And why wouldn't they be? The Donald has, after all shown himself to be even worse than we feared when he breezed into the Oval Office on a tide of alternative facts and intriguing disability impressions. I'll not stop to bother listing his crimes here as I don't have all day, besides, this is a liberal echo chamber where I'm preaching to the converted, I very much doubt any MAGA hat types are generally tuning in for my patented blend of tired social commentary and wilful meandering. So I'll assume we're all…

Nobody's fault but mine.

I've been saddened and aggravated this week to read about the closure of Wenlock Books. Saddened because, as a life-long lover of books and bookshops, it always hurts me a little bit to see one go under, aggravated because, as is so often the case, the story is accompanied by people blaming Amazon for its closure.

Bookshops are, of course, wonderful resources, and even the chains hold a kind of magic (my avowedly digital-generation children still love a trip to Waterstone's). At their best, local independents can advise , inform and guide a life-time of discovery through books. But they, like so much else of the High St, finds itself under relentless assault from the online competitors, with their low overheads and cheerful willingness to employ people in conditions which border on serfdom. When even as lively and well-loved a community resource as Wenlock books seems to be goes under it's hard not to feel a bit helpless. It's impossible not to assume that this is just…

99 Postcards for Georges Perec

I am fairly woeful at self-promotion, having long tended to the view that I don't particularly wish to impose myself unsolicited upon people (as it's something I find aggravating when done to me)and so my books, when they infrequently appear, tend to sidle apologetically into existence with little to no fanfare. It's amazing that I'm not better known, I know. That said, I suppose that in these days of social media saturation, the cacophony is so great that it doesn't really add that much to the general cacophonous boosterism if I stick my hand up too and say Oi! I've got a sodding book out!

Well, pamphlet, to be precise. And here it is. A sequence of 99 short poems inspired by Georges Perec's "Two hundred and forty three postcards in Real Colour". I've long been a fan of Perec's attention to the minutiae of daily life, and his ability to organise the quotidian, observing day to day life on its own terms. This, however, is not exactly what …

My enemy's enemy is my friend, uh, enemy's friend's enemy, um, where was I?

I have a lot of admiration for Diane Abbott.

A pioneer for black women in parliament, for her to have risen as far as she has in the face of the twin obstacles of racism and misogyny speaks to a canny and formidable political operator, for her to have held her ground in the warm beer and curly sandwiches Labour party of the 1980's speaks to her tenacity, courage and intelligence. She has been much traduced, unfairly vilified and highlighted by a media which has carried at times an only thinly veiled racist subtext. Which is why it was all the more disappointing to hear her making an absolute arse of herself about everyone's favourite toxic truth-seeker, Julian Assange, on the radio this morning.

You see, I get entirely why the Labour line has been to oppose the extradition of Assange to the US, her equivalence to the case of Gary MacKinnon has some merit, his crime there is essentially to have embarrassed the military, something which is generally to be applauded. It would be …