Many identity conversations recently. Part of the identity conversations are sparked by the success and debate around Crazy Rich Asians. One concern I have about identity politics is that, unless careful, it tends to emphasise differences rather than unity. People are rarely careful. And this plays into the hands of extremists. I sit in a barbell syncrectic position. So, I have furrowed brow reading FT's Roula Khalaf (behind paywall, but I can send you) reading Appiah's Lies that Bind

"... Dealing with identity is not only an individual struggle. Identity, he says, is not just how you see yourself but also how you are seen: “If you do not care for the shapes your identities have taken you cannot simply refuse them; they are not yours alone. You have to work with others inside and outside the labelled group in order to reframe them so they fit you better.”


Tribal politics may be too entrenched to be influenced by historical nuance. As Francis Fukuyama argues in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, just as 20th-century politics was defined by economic issues, politics today is defined by questions of identity: the left focuses on promoting the interests of marginalised groups, the right argues for the protection of traditional national identity “which is often explicitly connected to race, ethnicity, or religion”. But it is no longer sufficient to lament, or denounce, identity politics. As Mr Appiah attests with his own contribution, a debate about the meaning of identity and how we overcome its over-politicisation has become a necessity...."   suggesting that to some extent identity politics will be a neccessity. Hm. Not good for me.... Although Appiah himself, argues for a much lighter hand on identity (FT interview here) where one interpretation of his early work would argue he thinks the notion of "race" is almost fiction.

I do happen to be pretty fascinated by the Bl;ack American debates and also an interest in hair. A blog about the Black American experience through the lens of Coates here, and a thought on hair loss and black women's hair here.

This week, I also managed to sneak some time to pop by the poetry cafe, in Covent Garden, which I haven't done for years.


I thought, what chance a poetry reading would be full? Lo... standing room only.

I didn't stay long for duty calls, but enough to hear this poem. Working Class poem, in What Are You After by Josephine Corcoran. (Amazon link).


The poem in its own way answers the Identity question, We are so many things that identity can some times atomise us. We are human. We are ourselves.

Listening to legendary theatre agent, Mel Kenyon. 

The current Arts blog, cross-over, the current Investing blog.  Cross fertilise, some thoughts on autism.  Discover what the last arts/business mingle was all about (sign up for invites to the next event in the list below).

My Op-Ed in the Financial Times  (My Financial Times opinion article) about asking long-term questions surrounding sustainability and ESG.

Current highlights:

A long read on Will Hutton looking at Brexit causes and solutions.

Some writing tips and thoughts from Zadie Smith

How to live a life, well lived. Thoughts from a dying man. On play and playing games.

A provoking read on how to raise a feminist child.


Some popular posts:  the commencement address;  by NassimTaleb (Black Swan author, risk management philosopher),  Neil Gaiman on making wonderful, fabulous, brilliant mistakes;  JK Rowling on the benefits of failure.  Charlie Munger on always inverting;  Sheryl Sandberg on grief, resilience and gratitude.

Buy my play, Yellow Gentlemen, (amazon link) - all profits to charity

A day in life of disability, FT offices

Why disabled people like me give up on careers (In the FT recently, Niamh Ni Hoireabhaird wrote, it gained her a visit to the Prime Minister's office - demonstrating the platform the FT can give you.):

“…When I was 13, I was diagnosed with a rare, progressive neuromuscular condition called Friedreich’s ataxia. My condition means I find it hard to balance and my energy is low, so for the past two years I have relied on a wheelchair. My cognitive ability and aspirations of a career remain intact, despite the obstacles. In England and Wales nearly one in five people has some sort of disability, so the chances are you know somebody in my position — whether their condition is visible or not. So why do so few of us make it through mainstream education and into the world of work? Now I am 21, my attention should be focused on my degree in French and Italian, and my summer internship in London at the Financial Times. Yet, I am struggling with the practical and administrative problems that go with being disabled. Each day brings low-level difficulties that add up to an overwhelming sense of exhaustion and defeat. It’s no wonder so many of us give up on our ambitions….” The article is behind the paywall, but I can send you a copy if you ask nicely or there are free articles available.

It highlights the daily problems of disability, where the world is set up for typicals. This chimes with this blog from an ASD person (see here on how hard the day can be)


Thoughts from Autist living in a neurotypical world

A thoughtful blog about how one autistic person (E Price) functions in a neurotypical world. It’s a 15 min read about various aspects of their life and gives a tiny glimpse into the compromises needed.

It starts:

“I’m an Autistic person with a pretty put-together looking life. I always make rent. I have money socked away in savings and investments. I juggle several teaching jobs and do statistical and methodological consulting work. I sometimes find time to write. I have a social life. Except for the occasional noticeable chest crumbs, I present as clean and well-dressed. I manage my stress. I sleep. I eat.

I don’t think I strike the average person as disabled at all. I get work done on time. I show up to things I say I’ll show up to. I don’t show much distress in public. I rarely ask for help. Because psychological disorders are often viewed through a lens of impairment, people might call into question whether I am neuroatypical at all.

Viewing disabilities — and mental disorders — through a lens of impaired functioning is very flawed. The fact that I am functioning does not mean I’m not impaired, or that functioning is not hard. That I can survive, day by day, does not mean that I am thriving, or that my life is as easy as it is for a neurotypical person. And the aspects of my life that are impaired are rarely visible to an outside eye.

We often don’t see a person at their lowest moments — when they are crying and nonverbal, or engaging in self harm, or refusing to eat, or isolating from everyone they love. We can’t always tell if someone is struggling to make it through the work day, or if their sleep and exercise habits have been disrupted. And we don’t know, from the outside, what a person has been forced to sacrifice in order to live a seemingly “functional life”.

A lot of us “function” because we have to.

A lot of disabled or mentally ill people are able to work a job, pay rent, and get by through an elaborate system of compromise and sacrifice. We may have abandoned career paths that were too demanding of our mental energy, or lost relationships that were too socially or emotionally taxing. ...”

“Even with all the immense, unfair advantages that life has given me, life as a neuroatypical person is hard. There are many careers paths I could never successfully follow, and workplaces I could never inhabit. Frustratingly, this is not due to a lack of interest, motivation, or skill, but because I’m not good at existing in a milieu where small talk, meetings, ambient noise, and social politics are abundant.”

A thoughtful read check it out here from E Price.