But I don’t wannabe seventy

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I’ve just submitted a short (very short, 4-second) video birthday greeting online to a friend and one time work colleague who turns 50 this month. It’s for a montage that her husband is preparing as a surprise.

It’s hard to credit the computation that tells me it’s nearly 30 years since we worked together. But there we go — she was barely into her twenties then and now she’s going to be nifty fifty.

I didn’t register at the time that there was a neat 20 year age gap between us. She was young and…


How lockdown got me started on battery powered DIY

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Up until some nine months ago, I did not own a single cordless power tool. It’s true that, right at the back of the under-stairs cupboard, there was a boxed corded hammer drill and jigsaw but neither had been properly used since I had made and fitted some bookshelves soon after moving into our house in the early 1990s. Drilling into the inconsistent walls of a Victorian terraced townhouse is not something that encourages further DIY adventures.

Last summer, I needed to remove and repair a wooden conservatory door and, using some earnings from copyediting, acquired a cordless driver and…


Or is a presence on social media sufficient?

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There is ongoing debate about whether or not creatives need to have a web presence in addition to being on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook.

Many authors and illustrators have decided that their presence on social media is sufficient.

Some, who have had websites in the past, have let them crash and burn and seem to have no intention of resurrecting them.

For those who dislike social media, a website is really essential.

One of the troubles with websites is that they can so quickly go out of date, both in terms of content and design.

It is important that an…


The Art of Deactivating & Reactivating

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Take a moment to consider yourself the administrator of your life’s dashboard. Recently, the platform your existence is built on has had 90% of its functionality removed but you remain in control of what is left and you’ll stay in control when full functionality returns. You are admin, after all.

The other day a slider on the front page of my website stopped functioning. Or, more accurately, it disappeared. This occurred immediately after I had upgraded to the latest version of the WordPress platform. A similar thing had happened once before, so I knew…


The story of Arlo & Zelda begins

all photos are copyright of the author

We were two years without cats. We have always had cats.

Moppet and Milligan helped us through our first winter of married life, when we were living in a front room hovel in a street of condemned terraced housing in Hanley. The two kittens actually belonged to Bill, who owned the house and rented us the room, but they seemed to like our company as much as his and once they were inside our room we were more than happy to let them stay. Moppet was a beautiful tortoiseshell, and I have loved tortoiseshells ever since.

Little Murphy, the first…


And the reasons why I nearly didn’t

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The other day my free first month trial on Medium came to an end and I was prompted to authorise payment of the annual fee via Apple subscriptions.

It wasn’t an automatic decision. Coming upon a well-written and interesting piece such as by throws into stark relief the swathes of boilerplate blueprints that otherwise seem to prevail.

I’ve already decided not to read any more articles that begin with a number.

Four Things Successful People Never Do.
Five Mindsets for…


memories of the University of Keele

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, founder of , died very recently, aged 73. When I read his obituary in The Times, I was reminded that he was, like me, an alumnus of the .

Other Keele alumni include (publisher), (composer), (children’s writer), (historian), (barrister), and (politicians).

Elliott dropped out of Keele, where he was studying French and history, in 1968, midway through his degree and the year before my own arrival. The first issues of Time Out, named after a…


The art of editing is like brass shining. It takes a dull, lifeless surface, marked with blemishes, and rubs it all up bright and clear.

© Michael Thorn

When I was a boy I loved to sit at the kitchen table with a bottle of Brasso and various golden household objects in front of me. A couple of heart-shaped ashtrays, a domed tin that contained old keys and other mysterious bits and bobs, a pair of candlesticks, and a small hand-bell in the shape of a woman with a bustle skirt.

The Brasso made them cloudy. A cloth and some vigorous rubbing made them bright. It was such a satisfying transformation.

Making a cloudy thing bright is an apt summary of the editing process.

Recently, I have been…

Michael Thorn

Writer, photographer

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