Happy birthday, Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch

Happy birthday, Rupert Murdoch! Love him, hate him, the old boy is going as strong as ever as he celebrates his 83rd birthday. He certainly sounds feisty as ever on Twitter, tweeting on the New York mayoral election result and the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.

And while the phone hacking scandal drags on with his former protégé Rebekah Brooks still in the dock, Murdoch is raking in the moolah big time. The Murdochs’ net worth is currently estimated at $13.5 billion by Forbes, up from $9.4 billion in September 2012 and $6.3 billion in March 2010. [Read more...]

Fowler’s English



Today is the birthday of Henry Watson Fowler (March 10, 1858 – December 26, 1933).

Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style may be the most popular English writing style guide in America, but when it comes to British English, Fowler’s A Dictionary of Modern English Usage remains the favourite. Originally published in 1926, it still has legions of admirers. [Read more...]

Flipboard to get better with Zite technology



Flipboard, one of my favourite news apps, will get better at the expense of another: Zite.

Flipboard will stop developing Zite, which it is buying from CNN.

Zite will be shut down, but Flipboard will use its recommendations technology to become an even better news app.

It is its recommendations technology that makes Zite special. Zite is unique, giving me interesting news and stories that I would have never found myself.

I subscribe to a lot of websites on news apps and aggregators such as Flipboard, Feedly and Google Play Newsstand. [Read more...]

Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland: The lowdown on Bengal

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

I just finished reading The Lowland in Kolkata, where I visited some of the places mentioned by the author, Jhumpa Lahiri. Recently I attended two weddings at the Tolly Club, which is described in the novel.

Kolkata, formerly called Calcutta, features prominently in some recent novels such as Paul Theroux’s A Dead Hand and Jeffrey Eugenides’ A Marriage Plot.  Amitav Ghosh described early 19th century Calcutta when it was the capital of the British Raj in his historical saga, Sea of Poppies, besides depicting the city in several other novels including The Glass Palace, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Shadow Line and The Hungry Tide. Calcutta is also very much present in Amit Chaudhuri’s collection of stories, Real Time, his novel, A New World, and his novellas, A Strange and Sublime Address and Freedom Song.

Jhumpa Lahiri has also described Calcutta in her earlier novel, The Namesake. [Read more...]

Remembering Pete Seeger

I can’t forget the folk singer Pete Seeger, who died aged 94 on January 27. I couldn’t post anything then because I can’t access the internet very often where I am now. But who can forget a singer like Seeger? Some of his songs like Where Have All the Flowers Gone, If I Had A Hammer and Turn, Turn, Turn will always linger in our memory. [Read more...]

Eric Clapton, feel free in Singapore

Eric ClaptonEric Clapton begins his Asia and Middle East tour in Tokyo on February 18 and will perform at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on March 4. Ready to rock? Fans can buy and sell tickets on Ticketbis.com.sg.

Clapton, who first performed in Singapore during his Journeyman tour in 1990, has played at the Singapore Indoor Stadium twice before — in 2007 and 2011 — but this will be a special occasion for Clapton fans.

The legendary guitarist, the only artiste inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame three times, has just completed 50 years in the limelight.

In October 1963, Clapton was invited by singer Keith Relf and bassist Paul Samwell-Smith to join the Yardbirds and catapulted to fame.

Clapton left the Yardbirds after they scored their first hit, For Your Love, in 1965 and joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.

I love For Your Love and enjoyed every minute of the Yardbirds’ gig shown in the Antonioni movie, Blowup. You can see the sequence on YouTube. It was as a Yardbird that Clapton was first inducted into the Hall of Fame.

But Clapton, for me, will be always be associated with the band he joined after leaving the Bluesbreakers.

In 1966, Clapton was invited by drummer Ginger Baker to join him and bassist Jack Bruce, another Bluesbreaker veteran, in his band, Cream, and the rest is history. [Read more...]

Typewriter poems

George OrwellPressrun.net has a new look today. The typeface is different. It reminds me of typewriters.

I love smartphones, tablets, laptops, but typewriters were my first love. Not smooth, electric typewriters but the manual variety. Such as the one George Orwell is working on in this photo. With a cigarette in his mouth, fingers on the keyboard, the author of the essay, Books vs Cigarettes, looks utterly engrossed. [Read more...]

Raymond Chandler: I live for syntax

Raymond ChandlerI love Raymond Chandler and PG Wodehouse. Both attended Dulwich College in London. Both are great writers. Like Wodehouse, Chandler is famous for his similes.

I mentioned in my previous post how the writer Michael Connelly loves chapter 13 of Chandler’s 1949 novel, The Little Sister. Here is a passage from that chapter. The hero, the private detective Philip Marlowe, is driving around alone, feeling blue, in Los Angeles. See how he vividly describes the scene: [Read more...]

Michael Connelly, Raymond Chandler and The Little Sister

Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly

I love the crime fiction of Michael Connelly. And his favourite writer also happens to be a favourite of mine: Raymond Chandler.

Both Connelly and Chandler set their novels in Los Angeles, where they moved as adults.

Chandler (1888-1959) was born in Chicago. He was educated at Dulwich College in London like PG Wodehouse. Like Wodehouse, he also worked in Hollywood.

Connelly worked for newspapers in Florida before moving to Los Angeles where he spent some years with the Los Angeles Times.

He was asked by The Daily Beast: “I understand that you’re a big Raymond Chandler fan. Which book is your favorite and why?” [Read more...]

The only Bertie Wooster story told by Jeeves

Calling all PG Wodehouse fans, here is a story narrated by the butler Jeeves and not by his master, Bertie Wooster. That makes it highly unusual.

Bertie Changes His Mind is the only story in the whole Wooster cycle which is related by Jeeves,” wrote Geoffrey Jaggard in Wooster’s World.

Bertie Changes His Mind

Bertie Changes His Mind

[Read more...]