Interesting things

Here are some organisations, individuals, initiatives and projects that I think should be worth a minute or more of your time:


Hands down my favourite podcast: a brilliantly original (and brilliantly human) take on the benefits of trying to make sense of the past

The Empathy Museum

A series of inventive participatory projects designed to promote empathy: hear someone’s story while wearing their shoes, read a book recommended by a stranger, or borrow a person to talk to

The Marginalian

With The Marginalian, Brooklyn-based digester of good things Maria Popova offers weekly servings of thoughtful, inspiring and consoling content from across the arts and beyond

Tim Clare

A writer who generously offers galvanising (free) help to the Not Yet Writing community. Tim’s two podcast series – 100 Day Writing Challenge and Couch to 80K Writing Boot Camp – can help you break free of doubt and put words on the page

The School of Life 

Intelligently delivered advice on how to do better with work, relationships and other areas that challenge us; the content of their free newsletters can be thought provoking enough to entirely shift your mood

The Book Hive

The Norwich bookshop where I buy most of my reading material – run by interesting, friendly people who make a habit of ‘doing different’

Humans of New York

Street portraits of passing strangers; the content of the ‘straight in there’ mini-interviews is often compelling

Things magazine

A digest of links to interesting content on objects and their meanings – prepare to be diverted

Eat the Seasons

No, in the UK we shouldn’t be eating strawberries in February – useful information on when to eat what (and on helping reduce your food’s air miles)

Public information films

The National Archives’ evocative portal into the (familiar but often now pretty weird-seeming) past: lots of ‘We Know Best’ kind of stuff, including 1945’s Coughs and Sneezes through to the ‘Charley Says’ films of the 1970s and the Terrifying Headstone of the 1987 AIDS campaign

English idioms

Daft as a brush, two peas in a pod, good as gold… an academically rigorous delve into the origins of expressions, sayings and (those non-literal phrases that add so much texture to the English language) idioms

Neil Chapman

The Black Narcissus is the blog of my friend Neil, and features his unapologetically subjective thoughts about perfume, as well as interesting insights into his life working as an English teacher in Japan (his book, Perfume: In Search of Your Signature Scent, is an excellent digest of smells worth trying in your quest to find The One)