"London to Newcastle isn't rated among the world's great train journeys, but for any returning native of the northeast there are sights along the line that will elevate the spirits..."
The new issue of the excellent Prospect magazine is now on the stands and includes an essay by myself in the 'Witness' strand which somebody has wittily entitled In Search of Lost Tyne. Yes, it's a series of snap-shots of the current state of Newcastle upon Tyne - socially, economically, politically, and culturally. In a sense, because the plot of Crusaders concludes in 1997, this piece of reportage brings the novel's story up to date, and with rather more of a debt to the actualite.
Needless to say there's a great deal more to enjoy in the magazine, including an essay by the South Shields-born historian Robert Colls on the neglected novels of Melvyn Bragg; quite a bit about the 40-year anniversary of May '68; and a long interview with Christopher Hitchens by Alex Linklater, in which it is casually noted that Hitchens enjoys friendly relations with the 'independent-minded' Sean Penn. Any sane/civilised person would want to be the proverbial fly on the wall when those two meet for cocktails.