Thursday, December 8, 2022


On July 1, 1946, two days before I was born, the Americans conducted the first in a series of nuclear tests called ‘Operation Crossroads’. The tests took place in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, at the Bikini Atoll in Micronesia. On July 5th, two days after I was born, the French fashion designer, Louis Reard, launched a new two piece, swim-suit design in a Paris fashion show. He named his new design the bikini. Both these ‘bikini’ incidents caused some international controversy, thus allowing me to slip unnoticed into this world. Not surprisingly, throughout my life, I have always had a fondness for bikinis.

I was born just ten months after the Second World War ended with the surrender of Japan, and just over a year after the war ended in Europe with the death of Hitler. But memories and signs of the war were everywhere throughout my childhood. Wounded men wearing their ‘de-mob’ suits were a common sight and most cities showed signs of German bombing raids. Playing hide-and-seek with other kids in bomb sites and air raid shelters was just part of the world that I was born into.

My paternal grandfather was a captain in the British Royal Navy, stationed in Portsmouth, an important Naval base where I was born, next to Southampton. Obviously, I was too young to remember, but most of the streets and buildings where my mother gave birth had been demolished by unrelenting German bombing attacks. As a result, following the war, housing was in desperately short supply and my parent’s and my first home was a prefab. Prefabricated homes had been erected during the war as a short term measure for temporarily housing bombed-out families, but prefab estates remained part of the British landscape well into the 1970s.

I was too young to know what I was missing, but the war had caused such food shortages that everything was rationed. My earliest memories are of shopping with my mother and her precious Ration Book. Sugar, butter, cheese, margarine, cooking fat, bacon, meat, and tea were all strictly controlled and carefully accounted for in the Ministry of Food Ration Book. I was almost ten when rationing finally ended and I had my first candy-bar.

Despite the austerity, the rationing, and the ever present bombsites, the Britain I was born into was truly Great Britain. It had emerged victorious from a terrible world war, it was the center of the greatest empire that history had ever known, its language was spoken and recognized worldwide and, along with the United States of America and the Soviet Union, it was a world Super-Power. On the day of my birth, July 3, 1946, Great Britain was still at the pinnacle of its power, but in the almost eighty years that have passed since then, there has been a slow, steady, cruelly inexorable decline; Great Britain has become Brexit.

In my mid 30s I moved to the United States and have lived here ever since. After all the gloomy English class divisions and labor unrest of the late 70s, the America where my family and I settled, was a sunny, friendly land of boundless optimism; our friends were equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, political discourse was cordial and there was a widespread understanding that with hard work and a cheerful disposition, anything was possible. Growth and steady progress was seen as an ineluctable Law of Nature. But today I live in a nation bitterly divided between Blue States and Red, where political discourse is impossible, gun violence and mass-shootings are a common occurrence and most people are fearful for their future.

The purpose of this book is to trace Great Britain’s national decline and show how my fellow countrymen and my generation of fellow ‘baby-boomers’ have accepted and adapted, or ignored and denied that sad transformation of our once proud heritage. It will also trace and describe, if not explain, how the sunny and optimistic America of the 1980s has become a dark, distrustful nation of fear. The book will show how the baby-boomer generation, born with such promise and blessed with such wealth, is leaving the world a darker and a sadly poorer place.



 My current work in progress is a book about how the world has changed since I was born in 1946.

I will post excerpts here, from time to time, as the book progresses.

Sunday, November 13, 2022


 Does the Miami Herald have the moral and political fortitude to announce, or at very least, publish this letter, announcing that these midterm results have finally confirmed (two years later) that ‘DONALD TRUMP IS A LOSER’?

Friday, November 4, 2022

Shades of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact

Vladimir Putin had many motives to support Trump’s candidacy in 2016, if for no other reason than his dislike of Hilary Clinton. But now, in 2022, he has far more serious reasons to support Trump’s political advance, and to use all the power and resources of the Russian clandestine agencies. 

If the MAGA party wins back the house later this month, US aid and funding for Ukraine will be quickly shut off, and if Trump regains the White House in 2024, the renewed bromance concerning Ukraine will resemble nothing less than the 1939 Hitler-Stalin division of Poland.

Friday, June 17, 2022


     The COVID lockdown of the past two years has actually proved quite productive for me. Unable to go carousing out on the town, I was forced to stay home and write. In addition to researching and writing A Dance to Lost Time, comparing the authors Marcel Proust and Anthony Powell, I have also written Building Paradise, a history of Miami, my hometown.

Less than one hundred and thirty years ago, Miami did not exist. Apart from a small, abandoned army post and some derelict slave quarters, the only sign of life was an orange grove planted by a middle-aged widow.  In less than a decade after Julia Tuttle cleared a space in the wilderness to plant her first orange tree, Miami sprang magically to life and today, that same humble orange grove has a glittering glass and steel skyline to rival Shanghai or Manhattan.

In the Florida Land Boom of the early twentieth century Miami became ‘Paradise Found’, the most exotic and sought-after city in North America. It was a tropical paradise filled with Hollywood celebrities, movie stars, European aristocracy, Washington big shots, Wall Street tycoons and all the leading mobsters between Las Vegas and New York. Miami was a developers’ paradise, new buildings and sub-divisions sprang up almost daily, to accommodate the endless stream of new arrivals lured by the Magic City’s reputation of sun, sand, sin, and sex. Miami had become a paradise for starting over, for creating a new life. Refugees from political oppression or economic despair and people escaping from past indiscretions or serious legal problems could all find a new beginning in this sunny paradise of optimism and endless opportunities.

But it all came crashing down in the late seventies, when Miami became synonymous with deadly race riots, civic corruption, violent drug warfare and political scandals. In November 1981, Time Magazine featured a cover headline describing South Florida as ‘Paradise Lost’. By the end of the century Miami was bankrupt and Wall Street rated its bonds as worthless junk.

But whether from hurricanes, police scandals, race riots or bankruptcy, the Magic City displays an endless ability to bounce back and reinvent itself.  As we enter the twenty-first century, Paradise has, once again, been restored. The city has a AAA bond rating from Wall Street, Miami neighborhoods from South Beach to Wynwood have become synonymous with all that is hip, cool, and fashionable, while property values are, once again, the highest in the nation. Whether it’s for the Ultra Music Festival, the Miami Book Fair or Art Basel Miami Beach – the Magic City continues to entice and attract visitors from all over the world.

In just one-hundred years, Miami has already had more history, more glamour, more stories, and more excitement than most other cities see in a thousand, and this new book ‘Building Paradise’ aims to tell those stories.





Friday, June 10, 2022


Forced into COVID lockdown in the Spring of 2020, I decided to re-read two of my favorite novels, Marcel Proust's 'In Search of Lost Time ' and Anthony Powell's 'A Dance to the Music of Time'. They are two of the longest novels ever written and share many similarities. Both are first person narratives covering about 50 years of the narrator's life, and include many real world events between the years of 1871 and 1971. Both novels contain a wide selection of unforgettable characters, examine profound philosophical themes and both are extraordinarily funny. Having read both novels several times over the past fifty years, I've been unable to decide which one I enjoyed most.

 But, despite the similarities, their popular reception has proved remarkably different. The seven volumes of In Search of Lost Time have been translated into more than a dozen languages, including several different English versions, but the twelve volumes of A Dance to the Music of Time have been translated into only three other languages. There have been more than three thousand books written about Proust but less than a dozen written about Powell.

 My new book, A Dance to Lost Time, seeks to examine the differences between the two books and, if not explain, at least explore the disparity in their reception. If my book can persuade a reader to subsequently read one, if not both, of these splendid novels - then all those months of lockdown will not have been in vain.