Category Archives: Crime and Justice

Filth, fury and the funny way Britain feels about Joe Orton

You never forget your first time. I was 19 years old. I descended into a dark, cramped basement where student actors brought to life a weird, twisted sexual triangle. Going to student drama productions in odd spaces around the University … Continue reading

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The poison that is destroying civility and how to fight it

‘How did you get into first class? You don’t deserve to be in first class. ‘You should be in common class. In fact, you shouldn’t be in this country at all. ‘You don’t deserve to be here. 
Bloody foreigners. Where … Continue reading

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Bye Bye Baby: The Bay City Rollers & the lost innocence of the 70s

Three ageing rockers are holding up big glasses of milk in a toast. There’s always something poignant about seeing how teen stars have aged, but the Bay City Rollers really were angelic faced teeny boppers, and I am stung by … Continue reading

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Serial killer stories: From Burke and Hare to Tales Of The Grim Sleeper

It was late, I was tired and I needed cheering up and I found this great comedy on TV that I’d never seen before which did just the job. Burke and Hare, directed by John Landis in 2010 and starring … Continue reading

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The truth about true crime: A crime reporter’s qualms about Serial

I’ve reported on violent crime for 25 years including the OJ Simpson case. I consider it a privilege to cover trials. Strip away the glamour of celebrity and a very large proportion, such as the OJ Simpson case, are about … Continue reading

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Outrage is cheap: Challenging politicians about Rotherham, race & misogyny

  I suppose it’s good to still get agitated about stories I cover. But the amount of political capital that politicans have tried to make out of the Rotherham child sexual grooming scandal left me all the more appalled when … Continue reading

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Richard Dawkins & the humanist’s dilemma: When faced with Islamic State does “moderate” religious discrimination really matter?

This piece first appeared in The Big Issue magazine – journalism worth paying for. Available from street vendors UK wide or subscription. Blackwell’s bookshop in Oxford has 3 and a half miles of books. It’s a wonderful place. The deputy … Continue reading

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The Iran hostage crisis, the Stasi and why the past cannot be left behind

I ate my first Passover Seder meal recently, as a guest of Rabbi Jonathan Romain at his synagogue. I had had the ingredients and their symbolic meaning on the seder table memorized since that sheet Miss Thick gave me to … Continue reading

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Big Girls Don’t Cry: Lord Rennard, Barbara Castle & women who make a fuss

When the Space Shuttle programme was grounded I wrote this big newspaper feature about how it left a generation, reared on the promise of deep space exploration, on the gantry of broken dreams. It was rather fine, I thought, and … Continue reading

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Don’t be cynical about news, by a cynical news hack

  Last night I went on Newsnight to debate whether news is bad for us and what would make it better with Alain de Botton and ex hack turned spin doctor now writer, Alastair Campbell. You can watch the discussion … Continue reading

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