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Cycling the London Underground, Part V

District Line – Saturday 25th September, 10:30am Stations: 60 Distance: 64km (by train); 99.3km (by bike) It’s taken five months of my challenge to meet this true test of endurance, the District line. I didn’t expect it...



Cycling the London Underground, Part IV

Northern Line – Saturday 17th July, 8:30am Stations: 50 Distance: 58km (by train); 77.3km (by bike) It took me rather longer to complete the Northern line than expected. 64 days, to be precise. On my first attempt, a grey and...



Cycling the London Underground, Part III

Victoria Line – Friday 23rd April, 3:15pm Stations: 16 Distance: 21km (by train); 25.3km (by bike) Sufficiently recovered from a gruelling opening adventure, my second cross-London sojourn promises less graft, and infinitely...



Cycling the London Underground, Part II

Jubilee Line – Saturday 10th April, 2:45pm Stations: 27 Distance: 36.2km (by train); 56.2km (by bike, plus accidental detours) My return journey begins in leafy Stanmore, on the cusp of Greater London. Long-time home to Prime...



Cycling the London Underground, Part I

As I child obsessed with geography, maps and endless gazetteers of facts – in short, a proud nerd – the London Underground encompassed all that was sacred. When I was seven or eight, I could not fathom a more enjoyable day out...



10 Books for 2020

10. Daniel Immerwahr, How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States (Macmillan: 2019) The traditional “logo map” of the United States is far more interesting for what it omits than what it shows. From this...



As Florida goes, so goes the nation?

Just seven days after leaving hospital, Donald Trump touched down last Monday evening in the muggy swampland of Sanford, Florida, in the first jolt of a final defibrillation to save his presidency. Following steroid treatment for...



Naomi Osaka Picks Up the Baton: The Trailblazing History of Women’s Tennis

As her opponent jettisoned a final backhand into the net, Naomi Osaka let out a guttural roar of delight - “COME ON!” - puffed her cheeks, and stared towards the heavens. Two years on from her first Grand Slam triumph at Flushing...



The Whig Interpretation of Cricket

Review: The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team (Amazon Prime Video, released 12th March 2020) A chest infection sparked my interest in cricket. Prostrate on the sofa on a hot afternoon last August, I was enthralled by the...



My 10 Book Countdown for 2019

10. Serhii Plokhy, Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy (Penguin Books, 2019) The central message of Serhii Plokhy’s sensitive account of the April 1986 Chernobyl reactor explosion is simply how avoidable it was. Drawing extensively...



An emotionally bereft sovereign leads The Crown into a new realm of mediocrity

For two series, Netflix’s The Crown provided a lavish, sensational admission to the private world of the planet’s most famous family from the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Mighty personalities, anaemic premiers and profligate...



Concorde: a missed opportunity or an elitist extravagance?

In the 21st century, flying is a means to an end. For Britons, it is the easiest method by which to escape a cool, rainy island for the warmer climes of a continent we seem desperate – in a different context – to leave. But our...



Black and white photo of Roosevelt and Johnson

Summer Reading Review: The Path to Power (1982)

The Years of Lyndon Johnson Volume 1: The Path to Power Robert A. Caro ​ Robert A. Caro is the consummate chronicler of political power – its acquisition, use and abuse. The New Yorker has spent half a century writing 4,500...



Angela Merkel holding a beer

One too many? Drinking cultures in politics and university

There can be few more stressful occupations than that of Member of Parliament in the opening weeks of spring 2017. Representatives of the opposition parties, and indeed many Tories, will be mourning their powerlessness in the...



Former US presidents talking happily to each other

Predicting the American election - a history since 1992

With the U.S. presidential election two weeks away, it seems that Hillary Clinton has finally dispatched the scourge of Trump. The crucial “October Surprise” came in the form of a 2005 tape of the Republican candidate in peak...