Jamie Oliver gets confessional

“I don’t know mate,” said Jamie Oliver when I interviewed him the other day. “I’m not sure I’d want to be married to me. But Jools made that decision. It’s a challenge.” He was off to America again; she was at home with their three daughters. “My wife’s a real homey. The thing is, I grew up in a pub and one of my biggest passions in life is people. I love people. My best friends as a kid were a mixture of cockneys, gypsies and country bumpkins. So me and Jools are quite different like that.” It’s a pretty frank interview, in which Jamie talks about his home life, his upbringing, his attempts to get us eating properly and his admiration for McDonalds. Yes, really. There are also some great pictures like this one by Ian Derry. See it all here.

St George was Johnny Foreigner – so he’s the perfect saint for the English

What has a bloke on a horse with a ruddy big lance got to do with modern England? Isn’t that crusader suit a bit inappropriate these days? And aren’t fire-breathing dragons an endangered species?

The story of Saint George and the dragon has long seemed like a barmy old myth, way out of kilter with the nation that our patron saint is meant to represent. But I have a confession to make, on his feast day. Tonight, for the first time in my life, I will raise a glass of local ale to Saint George.

Not because I’ve fallen for the far right’s lies. Quite the opposite. It’s because if we don’t rethink and reimagine the emblems of our nationhood, and celebrate what they say about us, then the far right will.

And the thing about old George is that after years, even centuries of irrelevance, he suddenly looks like a saint worth having. It’s not that he has changed; rather, it’s that we have. The English are beginning to look just like him.Continue reading “St George was Johnny Foreigner – so he’s the perfect saint for the English”

‘The Almighty losing his grip’ on Today

Good Friday morning at the Today studio. John Humphrys has just finished wrestling with rail union boss Bob Crow, the Bishop of London is looking stately in the Green Room and Jim Naughtie says: “With me now is Cole Moreton, author of ‘Is God Still An Englishman?’ Oh blimey, here we go … you can hear how it turned out by clicking here.

'Required reading' says the Sindie

The Independent on Sunday says: “Moreton’s persuasive portrayal of what [our faith] – and we – evolved into should be required reading for every English man and woman – whatever their creed or colour.”

You don’t have to be English of course, but I’m hardly going to argue with someone who also says: “The Cole Moreton revealed in Is God Still an Englishman? is intelligent, vulnerable, modest and philanthropic: an immensely likeable commentator on matters spiritual …”

Thank you Richard Lewis, author of an entertaining and insightful book called ‘The Magic Spring: My Year Learning To Be English’. The full IoS review of ‘Englishman’ can be found here

'Absorbing and witty' says The Observer

Peter Stanford has been very nice about ‘Is God Still An Englishman?’ in The Observer. Here’s some of the review:

“The tension between believing and belonging provides the structure for Cole Moreton’s lyrical, almost elegiac taking of the nation’s spiritual temperature. I say almost elegiac because, having charted the decline of organised Christianity and the loss of the deference traditionally shown to the Church of England and the monarch as its head, Moreton then manages, in his final chapters, to find signs of resurrection.” Then later …

“He can make you laugh out loud, and generates a momentum that has you turning the pages wanting it never to end.”

You can read the rest here.