Jews and Gardens

A lulav and etrog. What the hell ARE they?

This article was written for the Jewish Quarterly.

Last week I finally tackled my garden (this is not a euphemism). What was once a small but impressive Titchmarshian plot we inherited from the previous owner had become in the space of a few years a sea of weeds and nettles – a bit like that Chinese Emperor’s terracotta army, only in nettle form. Despite the occasional surge and one or two attempts at shock and awe, the War on Nettles, like the War On Drugs, had proved unwinnable. It was time to do something about it.

I should say that it’s when failing at gardening that I feel my most Jewish. Show me a Jew with green fingers and I’ll show you a Jew whose pen has leaked. (more…)

Very Superstitious

The Queen Mum. Nothing to do with me.

Here’s a thing I wrote for the Jewish Quarterly.

I am superstitious. Medieval-peasant superstitious. Large-gossipy-18th-century-shtetl-fishwife superstitious. I’ll always refer to “the Scottish play” rather than, you know… the one that rhymes with MacDeath, even if it makes me sound like some old Victorian ham (if I can use that term in a piece for a Jewish magazine). I even hesitated about writing… the word that rhymes with MacDeath, as I’m not sure what the rules are. (more…)

Les Jews Olympiques

This article first appeared in the Jewish Chronicle.

When I suggested doing a show about “Jews and the Olympics” for Jewish Book Week, I recognised the suspicious look in the organiser’s eyes. It was a look that said: Jews and the Olympics? That’s going to be a short show. (more…)

Blatters to deceive

Some of my best friends are Sepp Blatter

It was quite a day for fans of colour-based prejudice in football yesterday. First you had the draw for the next round of matches inthe Alleged Racism Cup (John Terry will take on Patrice Evra, while Suarez is away to Anton Ferdinand) . Then Sepp Blatter managed to horrify all supporters of the Kick Racism Out campaign by launching his own Kick Racism Back In campaign. (more…)

What happens in Vegas…

Me in Vegas

Here’s a thing I wrote for The Independent

I’m not a gambling man. My poker face is about as enigmatic as a Latin American football commentator celebrating a goal, and as for slot machines, I’m with British Gas – if I want to lose a ton of money just by pushing a button I can switch on a light. Still, there’s always been part of me – the part that’s presently enjoying box-sets of the “Sopranos” – that’s envied men who play poker in smoke-filled rooms, real men with big hands who talk about boxing. Maybe I’ve been missing out? So when I was offered the chance to visit Las Vegas for the first time, I jumped at it. Could this be the making of me? (more…)

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