Following David Bowie Home

A journey through South London a few days after the death of David Bowie in January 2016, following a pilgrimage he had made himself, in secret, back to the places where he grew up. I wrote about this for The Independent on Sunday but here’s an updated version, now that we are a year on.  IfContinue reading “Following David Bowie Home”

Inside Yarl’s Wood, Britain’s most notorious detention centre

Susan wrings her hands and twitches as she speaks, jerking her head from side to side. She is clearly not well. “I ate washing powder to try and kill myself,” says the nervous woman in her fifties. Her eyes flash wild. “It was all I could find. I wanted to die. I would rather dieContinue reading “Inside Yarl’s Wood, Britain’s most notorious detention centre”

It was 20 years ago today…ish. One last piece for the Independent on Sunday

Back in 1993, after spending time studying, working in refugee camps and trying to be a musician (not all at once) I came back to London, took a part time job and spent the other days of the week trying to break into national newspapers. I gave myself six months, after which I would giveContinue reading “It was 20 years ago today…ish. One last piece for the Independent on Sunday”

The Invisible Man: Searching for the Reclusive Stanley Baxter

I have been writing for the Independent on Sunday for more than 20 years, but the edition that appears on Sunday will be the last. Thinking about that took me back to my first major feature for the IOS, commissioned as an act of reckless faith by the editor Ian Jack and Richard Askwith, whoContinue reading “The Invisible Man: Searching for the Reclusive Stanley Baxter”

Wrestling Kendo

I’m choking. Kendo Nagasaki, the most frightening wrestler this country ever produced, has got me in a three-quarter nelson: my head is in the crook of his elbow; his forearm is tight against my throat and he’s lifting it. I can’t breathe. I’m seeing stars, hearing popping sounds in my neck and trying not toContinue reading “Wrestling Kendo”