In late April, I interviewed Chris White, the leader of the Liberal Democrat group on St Albans District Council. Chris is also a county councillor. We spoke about the challenges COVID-19 has created for the district and for the council, how the crisis has reshaped working patterns, and why he’s concerned about the future funding of the council. Continue reading “Think Local (Britain in Lockdown, Part 6)”
We’re All Waving Flags (Travelogue Part 5: Seoul)
‘Just one more shop. I’ll be back in a moment, wait here.’
He wasn’t. I had been waiting for the best part of two hours, trudging round shoe shops in the rain in futile pursuit of the perfect trainers. In fairness, it wasn’t all Vasilyy’s fault. His size wasn’t easy to find, and some of the shop assistants gave the strong impression of being on heavy sedatives. Then there’s the international shoe size system omnishambles. If you were looking for bearish signs about world peace, the fact we can’t agree on a single global standard for measuring fucking foot size would rank high up there. I start with this story not to name and shame V, although that is fun, but to point out that Seoul is the kind of city where one district contains two hours’ worth of shoe shopping options. Continue reading “We’re All Waving Flags (Travelogue Part 5: Seoul)”
Quantum Politics (or, Batman! Robin! Let’s Do Local Election Apathy!)
Campaigners drive around in cars with megaphones on the roofs, waving at people and blaring messages. Around the city, there are neat, respectful lines of posters up advertising the candidates. The elections are for the city council, and they won’t bring down any government, but they’re still the kind of thing that an election otaku like me ought to find something to say about.
Continue reading “Quantum Politics (or, Batman! Robin! Let’s Do Local Election Apathy!)”
Valentine’s Politics and Detachable Limbs (Another Miscellany)
It’s rare for me, but I’m struggling to find something to say. Usually there’s too much, to the extent that I’m forced to self-edit. I’ve been working a lot the last couple of weeks, and I haven’t had much money, and it’s still cold here, so life’s been on the quiet side. I’ve been trying to promote the blog on Instagram and via a couple of internet forums, but without much success. Continue reading “Valentine’s Politics and Detachable Limbs (Another Miscellany)”
The Japanese and Everybody Else (Immigrant Song)
‘There’s the Japanese- and then there’s everybody else’.
After I started the ball rolling on moving to Japan, I heard this one friendly warning time and time again, from a range of different people. A friend of my mum’s who worked with Japanese clients, a British-Nigerian dude who had worked in Osaka. Former travellers and Nipponophiles. On first impulse, it felt like a bit of a cliché, but now I’ve been here for six months, I thought I might revisit the statement, and evaluate it. Long story short? It’s totally right. But then again, it’s also completely wrong.* Continue reading “The Japanese and Everybody Else (Immigrant Song)”