Home Thoughts From A Fraud: All Coppers Are Bastards

So what are the police like in Spain? First up, there are three layers. Policia Local, like glorified traffic wardens. Then there is La Policia Nacional. More serious, these supposedly investigate real crimes. Then there is La Guardia Civil, who cover remote rural areas or, if you are really in trouble, can be deployed in cities.

Home Thoughts From A Fraud: Love In A Time of Corona Part The Ninth (My Guardian Angel)

My cleaner has become, in a short period of time, one of the most important people in my life, and I am not ashamed to say that, in my own “loca de mierda manera propia inglesa” as she puts it, I love her without condition and without qualification.

Home Thoughts From A Fraud: Love In The Time Of Corona, Part the Seventh

I explained this so Inma put me in touch with a friend at a Spanish bank and made an appointment for me to go and see her the next day. I did so, but it seems that even there, the NIE was essential. They used to be able to open bank accounts with a passport only, she explained, but the regional government had become stricter and now insisted on the NIE. No problem, though, she said; I could go to my local police station in Ruzafa and ask to see someone. It was too late that day so I should go the following day.

Home Thoughts From A Fraud: Love In The Time Of Corona, Part the Sixth

My great friend Susie Gordon sent me a painting she did of Napoleon's Nose on the Cave Hill in Belfast. Jonathan Swift, whom I adore, was the Dean of Belfast in the 18th century. It is said that the Cave Hill was the inspiration for Gulliver. In his travels, Gulliver visits the land of Brobdingnag.

Home Thoughts From A Fraud: Love In The Time of Corona, Part the Fourth

Transition through perception. AKA metanoia...

Home Thoughts From A Fraud: Love In The Time of Corona, Part the Third

A Montadito is a staple of the culinary arts from Spain. It is a unique tapa-sized rolls of bread similar to a baguette but wider and with a twist.

Home Thoughts From A Fraud: Love In The Time of Corona, Part the Second

Pilar is, quite simply, the best landlady in the world and is part of the constellation of angels that have replaced the confederacy of dunces I fled London to get away from. But more of her later. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. But I am a little bit in love.

Home Thoughts From A Fraud: Love In The Time of Corona, Part the First

Last year, jaded by the toxicity around Brexit, the election and wearying vitriolic abuse targeted at me in a Facebook group for freelance journalists I co-founded (and from which the admins I appointed to help me with the workload have now blocked me!), I had simply had enough. So I now find myself in Valencia...

Home Thoughts From A Fraud: Cuba, El Viejo y El Mar

I am going to go with The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway's 1952 novella written and set in Cuba. Cuba is one of my favourite places to visit, and I have become good friends with many who live there. It is an outstanding and moving metaphor for humankind's dignity in the face of the insuperable might of Nature.

Home Thoughts From A Fraud: The Tide is Turning

A great day amid the lockdown. While in Zombieland, they are now making people queue around the block to get into Mercadona, my life has turned around dramatically.

Home Thoughts From A Fraud: Don’t Panic!

I arrived late at night and took a cab home. The streets were eerily deserted. Yet all lit up by the illuminations for the festival of Fallas that compete with Regent St at Christmas.

Where Does Your Mind Go When Your Body Is Near Death?

I am in New York City, at JFK. At the check-in desk, a young woman with a ponytail is taking deep breaths and pointedly adding “Sir” or “Madam” to her repeated apology for the lateness of the plane. The room is crowded and the mood is ugly. Some of the passengers are expressing deeply unpleasant views about Mexicans, pinkos, and snowflakes...

Out With The Old: A Nocturnal Upon St Lucie's Day

No one will judge me censoriously, I think, if I say that it has been an annus horribilis this year. In many ways, it continues to be for a whole slew of reasons, many of which I prefer not to discuss right now but a near-death experience for me and the dreadful loss of my beautiful younger brother, Derm, just 48 when first struck down were chief among them...

Give A Quid For Cuba

The petulant blockade, relaxed by Obama but reinstated by President Trump is really hitting the Cuban people, with prices for even basic products exorbitant because of the cost of getting them into the country. Thanks to Virgin Atlantic you can help make a difference...

The Gift of Mental Illness

"Be greeted psychoneurotics! For you see sensitivity in the insensitivity of the world, uncertainty among the world’s certainties..."

The Groucho Has Become The Grouch

Disgraceful and shameful attitude of Groucho Club in Soho

A Nightingale in Berkeley Square

Today, I had a meeting in Berkeley Square. It was a beautiful, gloriously sunny day in central London. On the south side of the square – a fine example of a Georgian square that typifies Mayfair, Soho and other neighbourhoods in the centre – is a cocktail bar called Be At One...

Good Things Come In Trees with Octopus

Eugene Costello's day out tree-planting at Walsall Society for the Blind with Chris Collins off that Blue Peter, thanks to Octopus Energy

The Kindness of Strangers

In the week I lost my brother AND my iPhone, the kindness of strangers has been a huge support...

So What's It Like Working At Octopus?

Octopus might just be the best place I have ever worked. Fact. Probably. The offices overlook Golden Square in the heart of west Soho…

I'd Like To Be Under The Sea...

Well, here’s a funny thing. Back in December, I received exceptional customer service from Kelly at Octopus Energy. So much so, in fact, I was moved to write a blog post about it, and that is something I only do about every three months or so.

A Big (Eight) Hand(s) for Octopus

Superb customer service by Octopus Energy

Let’s Hear It For Divorced Dads

If you’re a divorced dad, you might feel society doesn’t fully acknowledge your role...

We Coulda Been Anything We Wanted To Be

We Coulda Been Anything We Wanted To Be. Apparently...

The art of the Gorkana freelance update

The freelance update section of Gorkana is fertile ground for rootling out nuggets of entitlement and braggadocio, I always find...

Fair Terms, Not Their Terms

Last night, building on the momentum brought into sharp focus by a piece I wrote for Press Gazette on the insidious practice of Payment on Publication (POP, piece here: Pop, go the weasel words...), a group of freelances assembled at NUJ headquarters, Headland House, in London, to discuss ways in which to keep the pressure up on publishers to deal fairly with those who fill their pages, and help them to make vast profits.

Isle of Dogs: My Review

As Isle of Dogs is set in Japan, my review takes the form of a haiku...

POP, go the weasel words...

In a hard-hitting piece, NUJ president Tim Dawson said: "Eugene Costello has done us a great favour by researching and writing an excellent piece on the pernicious practice of payment on publication. Like a spark falling on dry tinder, his efforts have set social media aflame..."

Honi soit qui mal y pense

A cartoon of Stephen Hawking shuffling off his mortal coil and stepping into the cosmos was, I thought, a lovely tribute. Turns out that some people have found offence in it...

For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn...

Sometimes I see a piece of writing that is so perfect that, first, I think "I wish I had written that". And, second, if I were being paid to edit it, I would metaphorically give a long, low whistle of admiration and refuse to change a single word of the copy. Today was one of those days...

Old Havana Town: A Tale of Two Cabbies

Taking two journeys through Havana in ‘almendrones’ — the pre-1959 imported American gas-guzzlers that survived the Revolution — I found two very different pictures of Cuba painted by my drivers…