Thursday 22nd November 2001,
At the sacristy of the chaplaincy near Heathrow's Terminal 2 a lay preacher takes a statue of Mary with a babe in arms and heads for the dais. In dim light and hollow hush three others kneel for the Catholic service and then await the passage from the Wisdom of Solomon. To the roar of jets overhead the reading begins: "God made man imperishable... "
Saturday 17th November 2001,
The glare of sunlight from the runway; the cicadas' chorus after nightfall; a wave that was bigger than my mother; strangers who called themselves family. The memories of my first visit to Barbados are patchy. I was four years old, with an eye for detail but no mind for sequence or logic. I returned with more of an impressionistic patchwork of isolated moments than a continuous narrative of a six-week trip. I remember arriving, but not leaving; the scent of my grandmother but not her face; the sun but not the heat.
The right to be British
Monday 12th November 2001,
In short, have your rights in this country been called into question not because of what you have done, but simply because of who you are? As Britain continues to support America in bombing Afghanistan back into the dark ages, so our racial discourse in this country is reverting to its own prehistoric era. We are moving towards a resurrected, revamped version of the Tebbit test.
Ride the high country
Saturday 3rd November 2001,
My mum liked Jim Reeves. Looking back on it, that is probably where it all began. The folksy smile, rancher's neckerchief and plaid shirts on a big fella standing next to a large horse on the record cover was all I needed to know about country music. If the point of the picture was to attract the sort of people who wanted to hear his music, then his music was never going to attract me. Before I could even spell "genuine" I had Jim, and anyone who sounded or looked like him, down for a phoney.