Hello, I’m going to light a fire. So gather round and let’s have a bit of a chat. 

Here in my fantasy pub, you don’t have to sit at my table or next to anyone you don’t like. You certainly don’t have to talk. You can sit at the bar and people watch or daydream. You can watch the flames and imagine another world in them and perhaps that’s enough for now. That’s all we can do for this bit at the end of 2020. For we are all just waiting now….hoping simply to get through the next few months.  

I am not sadly in any pub. I’m actually in bed, laid low with the lurgy. Is it that lurgy? I don’t know for sure, the tests aren’t back. The app I have says I’ve been exposed, so I’m self-isolating.  

Writers are usually excellent at this. In fact, It’s basically a job requirement, but now is a strange time to be alone. Specifically, because in one media bubble my resignation from The Guardian has become a story and I am being inundated with requests to speak about it even more. 

Christ, I’ve already published 7000 bleeding words about it on Unherd.


In that piece I draw a line between the good old-fashioned sexism that I encountered when I started in journalism and what I call the new, progressive misogyny. Well let’s be honest, I probably won’t shut up about that.  

 But what I really can’t do is talk about all this stuff on Twitter, which we now know simply drives this insane polarisation of debate. There is no debate. That’s a lie. Twitter has done a hell of a lot of damage to journalism and to the left in particular.  Never mind me.  

The place I once went to for support is currently a cesspit for women.  This is not to say the support there has not been sustaining at times because it has. However, its relationship to reality is tenuous.  

Can we be more real? Is that a dumb question?  

That’s what I would like, especially in this time when we can no longer gather in actual life.  I don’t know the answer to that. I do know that I am Marmite, that’s after all why I have been  a columnist for thousands of years. You can disagree with me, you can hate me, you can love me. You can be unsure.  

What you can’t do is abuse me any longer. I really have had enough of what I call drive-bys, the anonymous insults on social media. Enough of ignorance and stupidity, enough of guys whose ego and views are bolstered in a circle jerk of self-righteous spaffing. I could name names, but Christ that only bigs up the little pricks. Best ignore them I reckon. There are bigger fish to fry.  

Oh yeah there will be food too in my fantasy ….pub grub. Substantial meals and beyond. That’s another thing I need to sort out. I am on it. And pictures. Whatever takes my fancy . 

But in this pub, let’s have less wankery and less harassing people.  In my pub, we know each other’s names. Oh god, I have gone a bit Cheers haven’t I?  

In my pub we agree to disagree. And this pub, the agora to be posh about it is what I want this place to be.  

So this is an experiment. I am going to put my writing here for a bit and see what happens. I am often free, but never cheap as they say. At some point this site asks for money.  That’s how Substack works.  How that all goes, I have yet to find out. Who knows, it may even fund that hairbrush the douche canoes have been telling me to buy forever.  

 Unlikely. It has to be said.  

Everyone is welcome, but the bouncers around here are women.  (Well me basically and some mates who I have roped in, some of whom are not women. That’s how modern I am) 

That’s how it is. I am gonna tell you some stories, give you my opinions, let you know what I am thinking about. I am going to keep talking, raging, thinking and hopefully listening. Or just go with the flow. How could I not? 

I think I may start with telling you about my week. In bed. In the news. Unable to see anyone in real life, but discussed everywhere. Some of the things I have read about myself are so incredibly wrong that I simply have to laugh. Social media though, is no longer the place for the righting of wrong. Or even writing.  

So pull up a chair, this must be the place. Get yourselves a drink. I can see the sparks already.  Let’s warm ourselves up. 

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