Articles

The Whale’s Return

Late spring, Cape Cod Bay; dark blue water, pale blue sky. Skipper the ship’s dog barked loudly over the side of the research vessel, Shearwater. ‘That’s a big rabbit, Skipper!’ joked Brigid McKenna, one of the two young women on the top deck of the small boat where we had spent the past seven hours staring out to sea. Finally, she and Skipper and I saw…

 

Jellyfish: Welcome to Britain

In these days of high summer, as we reconnect with the seaside, it is time to celebrate the beauty of jellyfish. Eerie and almost ethereal, they float through the ocean, rising and falling like the warmed wax blobs in a lava lamp. Officially, because it has no strong means of self-propulsion (beyond a lackadaisical expanding and contracting of its gelatinous skirts)…

 

Cycle helmets – I defend to the last the right not to wear one

I usually do. Wear a helmet, that is. Always in London. But it was a hot summer’s night, and I was cycling in the bucolic outskirts of Bath. I took a shortcut through the university campus. Unfamiliar territory. Failing light. Bad move. Barrelling along a throughway located almost under the buildings themselves, I saw it, but far too late…

 

David Cameron and other famous wild swimmers

As a self-confessed wild swimming addict, I can’t quite believe that David Cameron nearly beat me to the water on Tuesday. While he was swimming at 6am in a Northern Irish lough, I was finishing my own daily dawn dip in the Solent. (Although I’d like to see him doing the same in December…

 

Philip Hoare is Thomas Jerome Newton

There is no contest as to my avatar. He is Thomas Jerome Newton, the flame-haired, paper-skinned, grounded angel in The Man Who Fell to Earth. In 1976, when Nicolas Roeg’s movie came out, I went to see it three times at the cinema. I even took my cassette recorder and taped the soundtrack…

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