I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Jon Smith

Love Me Why Don’t You?

Donald Trump may appear to thrive on antagonism – and indeed he has no trouble finding it – but he is also a man who is desperate for approbation. A populist with a totalitarian mindset, he is that strangest of creatures – a political confidence man with no confidence.

Death and Denial

The Irish make death an occasion, surrounding it with ritual and sociability; in England funerals are private, almost furtive, affairs. But perhaps both approaches, behind the obvious differences, have something major in common, the perceived need to ‘deal with’ death, to put it in its box.

The Way It Is

The Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard has admitted that he dislikes plots and feels oppressed by fictions. Writing, for him, is rather ‘a matter of trying somehow to reach the real life, how it tastes and feels. And there’s no story in real life. More than anything, stories stand in the way.’

The Bully and the ‘Beast’

Shouting and tantrums are common in Fleet Street newsrooms, but it is only at the ‘Daily Mail’ that swearing and abuse have been elevated to a culture. Its editor makes no secret of this behaviour, apparently believing that ‘shouting creates energy and energy creates great headlines’.