10 Aug 2012, Posted by Nick.

The Rites of Men

Psychotherapist Michael Boyle is in Edinburgh tomorrow (11th August) to talk about his visionary approach to directionless or delinquent young men - lead them through a modern rites of passage they will never forget.  Published in The Herald on 10th Aug 2012 AMID the depressingly high statistics for male youth offending, unemployment and suicide, Michael Boyle believes society has forgotten a simple truth – that to grow up at all, boys must somehow be initiated into manhood. While shipbuilding, Read more [...]

08 Aug 2012, Posted by Nick.

My travels in 6 minutes

A few weeks ago I took part in an unforgettable fundraising Night of Adventure at the Vue Cinema in Edinburgh - the biggest-screen slideshow of my life thus far. It was organised by the intrepid and slightly nuts Alastair Humphreys in aid of Hope and Homes for Children - a charity close to my heart because it matches abandoned or orphaned children with permanent families who can love them. (Donations always welcome). My task was to tell the story of all my adventures Pecha Kucha style - that Read more [...]

22 Jun 2012, Posted by Nick.

The Power of Menswork

"Most men don't have a life. Instead we have learned to pretend. Much of what men do is an outer show, kept up for protection. Like a tiger raised in a zoo - confused and numb, with huge energies untapped. He feels there must be more, but does not know what more is." Steve Biddulph, Manhood After spending many years trying to prove myself on expeditions and voyages, it’s strange that the bravest acts I’ve ever witnessed have turned out to be ordinary men daring to tell the truth about their Read more [...]

16 Mar 2012, Posted by Nick.

Jeanette Winterson interview

One of my favourite books of 2011 was Jeanette Winterson’s memoir Why be Happy When you Could be Normal? So I was delighted to get the opportunity to interview her recently for Third Way Magazine. Anyone familiar with her award-winning Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, in either its novel or BBC TV serial format, will remember the bold landmarks of the writer’s thinly-disguised autobiography: the terrifying adoptive mother, the gospel mission tent, the collision of lesbianism with fundamentalism. What’s Read more [...]

06 Mar 2012, Posted by Nick.

Start Clowning Around

Not so long ago, I signed up for a clowning workshop called “Spring Fool” (www.thefoolstory.com). It was one of a series of adventures in the lost art of letting go (later chronicled in my book Urban Worrier), and I comforted myself that it couldn’t possibly be any scarier than wingwalking on a bi-plane. But actually, clowning turned out to be uncannily similar to diving at 150mph towards the ground, in a psychological sense at least. Clowns, I discovered, die and resurrect themselves many Read more [...]

28 Nov 2011, Posted by Nick.

A chat with Annie Lennox

I’ve long admired Annie Lennox, both for the gutsy emotional honesty of her music and her commitment to human rights campaigning (not to mention my Eighties nostalgia for all those insanely danceable Eurythmics riffs). So when I got the chance to interview her for the December issue of Third Way magazine, I decided to dig a little deeper to find out what has shaped her philosophy of life. Here are some of my favourite moments from our 70-minute conversation… In 1984, you were married briefly Read more [...]

13 Oct 2011, Posted by Nick.

When White Lies Won’t Work

First published on the Fathers' Network Scotland Website “Daddy?” “Yes, love?” Story time is over, and the lights are out - but I’ve noticed my six-year-old son often uses his last waking moments to bowl me the kind of question that might stump a philosophy graduate. Past belters have included: Is the Evil Vilgax (from Ben 10) really evil, or just listening to his naughty part? What is Charlie (our cocker spaniel) thinking about when he stares? Or what happens to us when we Read more [...]

04 Oct 2011, Posted by Nick.

Paradoxical Commandments

Check out this great song by the Roches. Apparently it comes from a list of "paradoxical commandments" first penned by a guy called Kent Keith and since adopted by folks ranging from Steven Covey to Mother Theresa. Stick them on your computer for those days that feel as if you're pushing rocks up hill...  Anyway People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If Read more [...]

04 Aug 2011, Posted by Nick.

How life became radio drama

  BBC link to This Solitary Bird Not long after my friend Will McMillan passed away in 2005 (see The Saving Grace), I began to consider writing about him. His angry public outbursts were no secret, but I knew a much deeper, more generous man too and wanted to commemorate his short but vigorous life. I remembered many conversations, often surprising to both of us, which lent themselves to drama - particularly the intimate, intense medium of radio drama. But I had no prior experience Read more [...]

03 Aug 2011, Posted by Nick.

The Saving Grace

Journalist Nick Thorpe tells of the inspiration for his new play - an unexpected friendship formed at the margins of society. When I first saw Will McMillan, he was wearing a battered overcoat, a silk cravat and a frown which hung like forked lightning above the storm cloud of his beard. He struck me as just the kind of man I would instinctively avoid in the street. As a cub reporter, newly arrived in Edinburgh from London, it fell to me as a kind of rite of passage to field the latest “story Read more [...]
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