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Books

Homage to Adrian Henri

The poems of Adrian Henri are as catchy and simple as pop songs. He, Roger McGough and Brian Patten were the three Liverpool poets presented in The Mersey Sound, a bestselling poetry anthology of all time. First published in 1967, The Mersey Sound has sold over a half million copies.

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Books

P.G. Wodehouse and the Beatles

There’s something in common between PG Wodehouse and the early Beatles. Both are unique and both are fun. Listen to Beatles hits like Please Please Me, Help and A Hard Day’s Night – you are struck by the sheer energy and exuberance, the boys sound like no one else on earth. And the lyrics and music are catchy and uncomplicated. Wodehouse also is in a class by himself. I haven’t read a funnier, more entertaining writer.

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Books

Kazuo Ishiguro and other Nobel Prize winners writing in English

More than a quarter of the Nobel prizes in literature awarded since 1901 have gone to authors writing in English. But English is not the mother tongue of all of them. Kazuo Ishiguro is the fourth Nobel prize winner in literature who writes in English but whose mother tongue isn’t English.

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Media

Anthony Howard and the old New Statesman

I just came across Anthony Howard on Wikipedia. He was the editor of the New Statesman when I used to look forward to every issue of the weekly.

Just out of high school, reading English as an undergrad, I had a thing about newspapers and magazines back then. Shakespeare and Wordsworth were all very grand but, to keep up with the language, one had to read new books and periodicals too. And top of the pops for me were the New Statesman and Time.

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Reflections

Technology alone isn’t enough

Technology alone isn’t enough, said Steve Jobs. He was right.

This article was written on a PC using Microsoft Word and fact-checked online, drawing information from the internet. It wouldn’t have been possible had Bill Gates and Paul Allen not co-founded Microsoft and Tim Berners-Lee not invented the World Wide Web.

Technology has transformed the world. No wonder everyone from political leaders to parents urges the young to study science and technology. Those are the academic disciplines that help nations progress and provide the best and the most job opportunities in the world today.

Has any other field of study had as much influence on the world? Are innovators like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Tim Berners-Lee rivalled by economists like John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman?

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Books

Why write?

What’s the difference between writers and journalists? Journalists write to inform the public about what’s happening in the world. Writers can write about themselves and imaginary worlds. I was reminded of the difference while reading the book, Why Write?

The author, Mark Edmundson, does not contrast writers and journalists. But he could be alluding to journalists when he talks about writers who “write to learn something”. They are sociable, equally at home with others, gathering material, and alone, writing, at their desks, he says.

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Media

Feedbin, Feedly, Inoreader, Newsblur: News aggregators compared

The Readability bookmarking service was shut down on September 30. But Readability’s armchair icon can still be found in the Feedbin news aggregator. It’s what makes reading articles in Feedbin so simple and easy on the eye. Click on the armchair icon and you get to read the entire article from any website  in a clear, easy-to-read format without having to go to the website itself.

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Books Poetry

Reading Dylan Thomas on his birthday

It’s after midnight, the small hours of a new day, the birthday of Dylan Thomas (October 27, 1914 – November 9, 1953). Since he was born on this day, I am reading his poem, In My Craft or Sullen Art.

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Books Poetry

The sensual strut of Dylan Thomas

Ah, the “sensual strut” of Dylan Thomas! I can’t forget those words of his.

I couldn’t recall the poem where he wrote those words, so I searched Google and found it. It’s not one of his best known poems, but those two words from it – “sensual strut” – sum up the appeal of Dylan Thomas, at least to me.

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Media

Hicky and Aveek Sarkar, Hastings and Mamata Banerjee

Reading about the first newspaper in India reminded me of Aveek Sarkar, the colourful newspaper proprietor.

He is also based in the same city, Calcutta (now called Kolkata), where the Irishman James Augustus Hicky launched the Bengal Gazette or the Original Calcutta General Advertiser in 1780.