Category Archives: The Ciabatta Years

Stand Down Margaret

One of the things that happens as you walk around your old world, as I do when I revisit Stoke for football matches, is that you bump into the ghosts of yourself, and sometimes you hear songs from then, floating … Continue reading

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Spot painting by Damien Hirst

Hirst uses shock as a formal element; Stoke City did this yesterday, of which more later. Hirst said that he only painted five spot paintings himself (there are about 300) because, ‘I couldn’t be fucking arsed doing it.’ He described … Continue reading

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The picnic hamper

looked very similar to this. I taught myself to drive in one of these when I was 14: mam took us to run a pleasure gardens in the Isle of Man – there was a white Mini van with a … Continue reading

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Bank holiday picnics in the ’70s

We would take a picnic hamper to Dovedale, jam and sugar butties for Bumble, sandwiches of cheese, paste, tongue, ham, lemon curd (the dessert sandwich), and crisps for the rest of us. Mother was enthusiastic about putting this together: picnics … Continue reading

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Great poles of the world # 1

This, composed of multi-coloured melamine and steel bands, is outside the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin; I’d be very surprised if anyone could improve on it, pole-wise. My friend Johnny Neptune has said that it looks beautiful in the snow and … Continue reading

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One for Old Stokie

Macke was much influenced by the light in north Africa, along with fellow great Paul Klee he worked and worked out there: In Tunis

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Diane’s Mini Van

An artistic recreation of the vehicle featured in the Oatcakes post. Sis has just graduated, or passed out, or however this process is currently described, from her MA Fine Art. Hats off to her once more, and on a strictly … Continue reading

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Pissed-off hack lets off steam

This is ace, and sums up quite precisely why I don’t like writing pieces for the North Staffordshire Evening Sentinel. Our hero has form too, i (STET, it’s in honour of ee cummings you gormless tossppots!) have discovered this morning. … Continue reading

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Oatcakes

Extract from an early version of The Ciabatta Years (Short Books, Spring 09) The other principal food item of renown is the Staffordshire Oatcake. These are thin, floppy pancakes that are just under the size of a dinner plate and … Continue reading

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Welcome to my club

I’ve kept up my new rowing course and gone further by joining the Norwich Rowing Club. One of the most appealing things about it all for me is its charming antiquity. Apparently there is talk of raising funds for a … Continue reading

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