Category Archives: Other

Too much content, too little time

I’m listening to the new Dinosaur Jr album – up there with their best if you like that sort of thing – and wondering how I’ll ever keep up with all the, for want of a better word, ‘content’.

I bought my first Dinosaur Jr album (Green Mind – ok, but not the best one to start with) in a mall in Florida in 1992. Continue reading

The first 1,000 words are the hardest?

Dictionary of the Frisian Language - Word archive

In the flurry of New Year-themed campaigns – drink less, exercise more, be a better person, etc – there was one that particularly caught my eye this year.

International education and cultural charity the British Council put its weight behind a language-learning drive, calling on Brits (notoriously resistant to anything other than the ‘talk slowly and loudly in English’ method of communicating when abroad) to include learning a foreign language in their 2016 resolutions.

There’s no specific Bengali angle of course, but the campaign’ broader message and tips should resonate whatever language you’re studying. Continue reading

Must try harder, or my WordPress 2015 Review

I hate those blog posts that apologise for not having written more/more recently, though it was certainly something I alluded to in yesterday’s post.

Nevertheless, this blog’s sixth year of existence was hardly its greatest one, with a miserly four posts all year thanks to all sorts of valid but mundane reasons.

Naturally the plan for 2016 is to try harder, write more, learn more, do more, but then isn’t it always at this time of the year. Continue reading

The beginning of the end of the road for the Ambassador

Ambassador taxis in Kolkata, India

Early morning wash and check for Ambassador taxis near Kolkata’s New Market (December 2012)

It’s difficult to know how long the decision by Hindustan Motors to close indefinitely the factory where Ambassadors were made will take to bite.

Certainly the iconic cars will hardly disappear overnight from the streets of Kolkata, where they make up most of the city’s taxi cabs, but the decision does mark the beginning of their end. Continue reading

Alchemy in the UK

Alchemy exhibition rickshaw South Bank London

I seem to be behind with rather a lot of things at the moment. So what better to get back into blogging than with a nicely decorated rickshaw. Continue reading

What would you pay for online?

The Times paywall went up on Friday, charging visitors £2 a week or £1 a day for access to the well known UK newspaper’s site and that of its sister publication The Sunday Times.

It’s led to much debate about the wisdom of charging for online content, particularly content that’s generally available elsewhere in one form or another.

How will it end? As the Beehive City blog notes, “nobody really has a clue.” Continue reading

Window shopping for music (part one)

I rarely buy music on a whim these days. There’s no need to buy an album just to find out what it sounds like, in the same way that Spotify and have done away with the need to buy a CD you used to own on vinyl or cassette – only to find out it wasn’t as good as you’d remembered).

Instead I find myself doing far more window shopping for music than actual shopping. But I’m planning a virtual trip to Amazon some time soon and have been mulling over what to buy.

So, for a short series of posts, I’m indulging my inner Nick Hornby (reader be warned!) with a bunch of self-indulgent lists. Continue reading

Being won over by the iPhone

Until I was given one I couldn’t see the point in an iPhone.

My mobiles to date have always been the cheapest pay-as-you-go ones, the kind that last two years  before they literally fall apart.

On one the number nine button stopped working, more recently another had a loose battery that would switch the phone at odd, usually inopportune, moments. Continue reading

A gentle confinement

On the one hand it’s just a bit of snow, and the BBC last night certainly went into apocalyptic overdrive with tales of The Great Freeze, on the other hand there is a sense of being gently confined.

Only a handful of cars managed the hill that is the only exit out of our estate yesterday, and my local train station made the national news as an evacuation point for rail passengers whose journey wasn’t going to continue.

My more distant neighbours, some of whom I talked to today for the first time today, say the shelves of the Tesco Metro have been stripped, and tomorrow is the third day A’s primary school will be closed. Continue reading


Last night was a pleasant but unassuming way to end a decade. It’s not that celebrating the end of the last millennium ten years ago has spoiled New Year’s Eve forever, but with kids in tow the 31st December tends to be a fairly low-key affair.

One thing I do like about the beginning of a new year is the opportunity to make resolutions, those hopeful reminders of things you want to do over the next 12 months.

This year mine are simple: learn more Bengali, read more of the books that keep piling up and write more fiction. Continue reading