JOURNALISM

Here are the openings of some of the journalism I wrote for the London Sunday Times, Observer, Daily Telegraph and Nova:

“During this period of drought, which the Virgin Islanders swear is invariably followed by an Easter rain, they say that the hills are bleeding. Lent this year will see the sacrifice of the Governor, Derek Cudmore, if his militant critics are heeded. In his office yesterday, Mr. Cudmore seemed calm: a fair-haired, gently spoken career officer, wearing a not particularly good gabardine suit, knitted tie and black leather shoes, immaculately polished even in the dusty heat of the sub-tropical sun.”

“For the last four years Mollie Moncrieff has lived in the two-room-and-kitchen top-floor flat of a house in Old Steine, the square opposite the Palace Pier in Brighton. The flat is over a solicitor’s office, so that at night and weekends Mollie is alone, frightened of the town’s high winds because she was killed in a storm in a previous incarnation.”

“Wayfarer House is two rooms on the ground floor of a house in Wood Green High Road, North London, due for demolition in four years’ time. It used to be an ironmonger’s shop. Now it is the first centre in Britain dedicated to curing the homeless, hopeless alcoholics whom other centres regard as unsuitable for treatment.”

“Holly Woodlawn brought Andy Warhol overground. Trash was the first Warhol to play at the upper East Side New York cinemas which show popular-serious movies like Carnal Knowledge and A Clockwork Orange, and all the WASP boys and girls came to see it. In the credits Holly was listed sixth or seventh in the cast of superstars. By the second week of the run she was paired along with Joe Dallesandro on the marquees. There was even a serious thrust to have her nominated for an Oscar. Trash is the moral story of a good girl (Holly) who falls in love with the wrong guy (Joe) and naturally wants to consummate it. But Joe is drug trash and impotent. The plot consists of Holly’s attempts to get laid. She is the movie’s triumph, and New York fell for her, half-shocked at itself. Is it true that she’s a junkie? Is she ever sober? Was she really in jail when Trash opened?”

“The Tuesday Gerald Vincent came out of Wandsworth prison–broke, alone, mind scrambled, stomach churning–nobody was betting he would not soon be inside again.”

“According to Ron Olver, assistant editor of Boxing News, in a programme note about that night’s fight for the Southern Area Lightweight Championship, Phil Lundgren is probably the most stylish boxer in the 9 st. 9 lb. division. The most stylist boxer woke up on the morning of the fight feeling dehydrated. He had drunk nothing since a cup of tea the previous morning, and would not drink again until after the one o’clock weigh-in.”

“Kenneth MacLeod, a 54-year-old shepherd who lives in the four-house mainland community of Little Gruinard, Ross and Cromarty, remembers when the scientists came to Gruinard Island, a mile out in the bay. MacLeod used to go to the island every June and July for the gathering, clipping and dipping of the Blackface sheep. Then during the war all animals were cleared off the island, and scientists came to live in Nissen huts at Mongasdale Farm on the mainland.”

“By the time he reached his eighties, Harold Pickering looked and smelled like a tramp in his workman’s cap, old trousers, the cracked boots he mended himself and the khaki shirt he washed in a tub and left on the hedge behind his council house to dry. He had always been a small man, and rheumatism bent him double and crippled one leg, so that he lurched when he moved. He was a gift of a target for the local children. Four months after he died, the back windows of his house were still shattered by their stones. But last month, when his will was published, it was revealed that Harold had more than 60,000 pounds in the bank.”

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