Newspaper articles


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The Times, science writer as British Science Association Media Fellow 2016. Links to articles can be found here

The Herald, Scotland 16 November 1999

Bring on the clowns

“Tell your friend to put his pants on and step outside.”
The policeman’s torch had flashed from the crotch of Mr Peter Grimes, who was sat in the front of my car, to me, who lay half asleep (and half naked) under a duvet in the back.
Let me explain the situation. No, please.

Theatre types’ come in all shapes and sizes. There are the grand dames and sirs who wear spangly shawls and silly shorts and hang out at awards ceremonies, where the champers is simply Elizabethan, darling. There are the shaven-headed Britpackers, so cutting edge they can surreptitiously blend into arts centre designer furniture, scaring the living daylights out of potential punters when they suddenly move. Usually to Prague. There’s… no. We all know the stereotypes.

Two grown men in a dark street, in a 1977 canary yellow VW Polo (my grandfather’s). Parked within spitting distance of the Prime Minister’s Islington residence. Allo allo allo. “But I have a wife and three kids,” blusters Mr Grimes in his thick Dundonian accent, as I step barefoot onto the cold pavement. I’m sure Officer hasn’t heard that one before.

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The Japan Times, 31 October 2006

birthdayLights Out

Police use outdated dancing law to stub out nightlife

By SPENCER HAZEL, Special to The Japan Times

It’s a lively Saturday night in the heart of Hiroshima’s Nagarekawa district, and some 100 police officers, riot police, immigration officials and U.S. agents gather for a joint operation to bring an end to a licensing infringement of the Public Morals Law.

At a time when Japan has been under fire for its record on human trafficking and organized prostitution, this might be a welcome action in this, Chugoku’s largest nightlife area. Amid the 4,500 bars that are jammed into this one small area, pink salons, fashion clubs, soaplands and hostess bars have always been thick on the ground.

Tonight, however, the morality in question has little to do with the erotic industry. The bar the authorities have set their sights on, El Barco, is well known only for its dancing.
From watching the CCTV footage now posted on YouTube, the operation resembles a minor invasion.
Scores of officials cram themselves into the small stairwell in anticipation of the assault on a bar that is one of the very few in the International City of Peace and Culture TM whose staff and clientele is made up of members from all resident nationalities.

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