Take me to the river..

While the media may be wrapped up in immediate concerns of contagion, we can only assume that the millions flocking to the Kumbh Mela are taking the long view. 

What’s in a Title?

During his lifetime Philip Mountbatten was known variously as Prince, Duke, Consort. Some of his titles were honorary others, were earned. In this latter category we might include Influencer – a person who through his trusted position was able to amplify ideas and inspire others to act.

Call Me Ishmael

Twenty odd years before Herman Melville penned ‘Clarel’ an epic poem on pilgrimage, he wrote  ‘Moby-Dick’, that wondrous mixture of fiction, natural history and social anthropology. Published in 1851, the book was a commercial failure. At the time the Nantucket whaling industry was already in decline and American readers no more wanted novels about whalers than … Continue reading Call Me Ishmael

In the Pink

In Washington earlier this week we saw at first hand the power of rhetoric when used to incite violence. But it’s not only rhetoric that influences what we think, but imagery too. My colleagues at King’s Centre for Strategic Communications (KCSC) are amongst the world’s leading experts on ‘the Propaganda of the Deed’ or POTD and the events this … Continue reading In the Pink

A View of the City

On Friday, from my study in Suffolk, with the apple blossom in full bloom outside, I took a virtual pilgrimage through Pepys’ London, with author Jacky Colliss Harvey and Barbara Schwepcke, founder of Haus Publishing. Through the glass of our screens, Jacky gave us a tour of some of the 17th century tea and coffee … Continue reading A View of the City

Journey to the Interior

There have been many press reports recently of COVID dreams, perhaps a feature of extended sleep as it seems that many of us now gratefully fall into the arms of slumber much earlier than usual each night, simply to escape the monotony of our own existence. Locked into our homes we are also to some … Continue reading Journey to the Interior

Lockdown Lane

Over the coming weeks it is my intention to make a number of virtual pilgrimages with friends along routes they know well and, with the help of technology, to share in their experience of the route and the destination. Past experience of virtual pilgrimage is that it can be as joyous as the real thing … Continue reading Lockdown Lane

A Panoramic View

On a recent solo trip to Jerusalem my wonderful hosts asked if I would like to visit Nabi Samwil, the tomb of the prophet Samuel. Sacred to both Jews and Muslims and sited atop a rocky outcrop, this place offers a panoramic view which takes in the city and circles around to the territories of … Continue reading A Panoramic View

Promising the Moon

In ancient times pilgrims made extravagant promises and offerings to the heavens in exchange for something they badly wanted themselves – perhaps a good harvest or a victory in war? The Oracle at Delphi was adorned with the material evidence of such transactions, not least the offerings of Croesus who was prepared to use the … Continue reading Promising the Moon

On Sinking & Floating & Thomas Cook

As the news breaks this morning that Thomas Cook has gone bust, many travellers, pilgrims amongst them, will find themselves stranded abroad and faced with the problem of getting home. For some this will be an expensive inconvenience, for others it may mean incurring a debt that proves to be the first rung of ruin … Continue reading On Sinking & Floating & Thomas Cook