Alone with Thomas Tallis

  There is something overwhelming about being a tiny and inconsequential part within a giant canvas. Just looking up at the Milky Way always does this for me (“Sartre had an answer”. joecollier.blog. 3 September 2017), and there have been other, very specific occasions, too. I could not have felt smaller and more in awe…

Two Parties and Three Gems from Santa

  Over coffee after a long walk a friend described my attitude towards Christmas as ‘bah humbug’. Such a comment would normally go unnoticed; this time it made me think. My mother was a romantic secular Jew who, throughout my childhood, made Christmas a magical event, and so it remains. The exchange of cards and…

Space Odyssey

    Near us in Richmond is a gatehouse built by Henry VII in around 1500. It is one of the few remaining parts of his palace. Each time I walk through its archway I become aware that I am occupying the same space through which once passed the likes of Henry VII, Henry VIII,…

A risky business

Many see risk-takers as silly and foolhardy, as lacking insight. Others portray them as brave, adventurous, and praiseworthy. My position is rather different. I see risk-taking as a normal part of our behaviour, moreover one that is a necessary component of our lives. Indeed, risk-taking is so important to human-kind that, without it the human…

The cruel denial of assisted dying

Whatever else, arguments for and against assisted dying must include the notion of cruelty. And, in my view to refuse the request for advice on, or help in, dying (the legal requirement of doctors at present) when asked for help by patients of sound mind, who are competent to make decisions, who are suffering unbearably…

The do’s and don’ts of unsolicited advice

There were eight of us round the table - granny (now past being involved in serious discussion), my wife and myself, our three sons (aged 29, 34 and 38), a cousin and a family friend (they were aged in their early 30s). Towards the end of the starter (on offer were smoked salmon, liver pate,…

Alzheimer’s cure via mobile phone? Let battle commence

I strongly believe we are heading for one almighty battle. Millions and millions of pounds have been spent by the drugs industry in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Much more money is being reaped as drugs (often of marginal benefit) are used in its management worldwide. With this scenario all was looking secure for the…

A bit of bah humbug does you good

The case for being unsociable: Joe Collier's antidote to the party season. Although many see me as sociable, in reality it is only partly me. In many ways I am much more at home being unsociable, a trait which I believe generally deserves recognition (and respect) as a positive, rather than a negative, attribute. I feel…

Your space or mine?

Your space or mine: a model for relationships? Last weekend I bought an ipod docking station. The shop assistant and I had little in common; unlike me, he was probably in his late teens, he clearly knew all about sound systems (after all he had just advised me on the pros and cons of buying a…

Job done?

During my career I spent years finishing and delivering completed bits of work. And, in retirement this has continued unabated although at a rather different level (last week it was one article, two blogs and some French homework!).  Whatever the work, what strikes me as mysterious is how I (or anyone else) seem to be…