A Rose by Any Other…..

As a teenager I spent an inordinate amount of time practicing my signature on the cover of my rough book. Jen Barnett/jj barnett/Jennifer Joy/Jeni with a circle over the ‘i’, Jenufa and Kim. I had a mind to be called Kim Kent but my mother told me it sounded like a swear word so I … Read more

Skimming the scum

Chicken soup is to the Jews what the blood of Christ is to the Catholics. You cannot come from the Russian Diaspora without knowing about the bird of youth. Mrs Gold, in 1953, took her big Kosher hen into the public baths in Whitechapel, and behind closed doors scrubbed it under the hot water tap. … Read more

Ashes to ashes

I was thinking about funerals, what with the Queen’s Escort and Helen McCrory, I was thinking how sombre and dignified the piper was as he played out the lament on his bagpipes. I was so shocked and saddened by the death of Ms M. that I felt the helplessness that we all feel in the … Read more

ubuntu

We lived in East London. Watney Street. Solander Gardens. I went to Cannon Barnet in Aldgate East. I was dark skinned and one of the many Jewish kids at the school. We non C-of-E pupils skipped assembly and stood in separate dinner lines from the Gentiles. They had milky custard whilst ours was made from … Read more

Love Thy Residential Occupier

My family are immigrants. The old gits family are immigrants. Most of my friends are from Irish, Indian, Caribbean or some other shipped-in stock. Given that the earth is home to 7.674 billion people it wouldn’t be surprising if all of us aren’t related to me or to somebody who knows me or to somebody … Read more

What next eh?

I sat in the garden, with Dennis the cat, my face to the sky like a sunflower, I ate a salad with fennel and my new best ingredient chile oil. The cottage is filled with Irish music, because however lethargic I am I cannot resist a little jig to a band of drummers and penny … Read more

‘Orrible ‘istory

Meghan and Harry? I really can’t be arsed. She said what she said, whether it was fake, or true or just a brilliant acting job, she said what she said. Whether it was learnt, remembered or improvised she had her say. Harry stood by her, sat by her, holding her hand whilst she said what … Read more

Desert Island Playlist.

Even people who don’t listen to BBC Radio 4 know about ‘Desert Island Discs’. Eleven o’clock of a Sunday. After the ‘Archers’ and before something else. Every Sunday at 11.45 I get a phone call from a woman living in Goudhurst, then I get a call from a woman living in Medway. We pick apart … Read more

House Guests

Who can forget their first ever saucer with a piece of paper sprinkled over with mustard and cress seeds? The excitement as the little green shoots emerged, then the sheer pleasure of eating those newly sprouted leaves with a cut up hardboiled egg on a mound of cold butter that tore holes in a slice … Read more

Brexshit

Bacon laced with nitrates Chicken doused with bleach Using them for pigs and fowls Will fuck up all our healthy bowels It’s time to Act not preach. **** A trade deal with the US Negotiating evil Of chemically processed food That won’t do us an ounce of good Is sleeping with the Devil. **** Those … Read more