View up the garden. Continue Reading →
Archive | October, 2017
I was flying to New York and began the journey of 3,000 miles at a bus stop in Oxford. The first person waiting at the bus stop was an immaculately dressed Muslim; he had a dignified bearing, and we exchanged brief smiles. At the other end of the bus stop was a drunkard sitting on a rubbish bin. Intoxicated, he kept trying to catch my attention with a rather leery grin. There were also another two foreign men, drinking alcohol hidden in plastic bags. A wonderful British bus-stop – two teetotalers, surrounded by three drunkards.
Then along came another waif and stray – selling some kind of magazine. He offered to sell it to the drunkard for 20p. The drunkard dug around in his pockets and bought it. Then the magazine seller came to me and offered to sell me a copy for 50p! I wasn’t in the mood for buying a magazine, so I politely declined. Maybe I was put out because he was charging me a higher price. As an economist, I should admire the homeless person’s knowledge of price discrimination and income elasticity of demand. Setting different prices to people of different incomes.
But, I remained unmoved. Despite his protestations, I didn’t buy. My Muslim friend wasn’t interested either. Finally, the bus came and I started the journey to New York.
My good friend from America, Mahiruha works in a grocery store. He asked why the British expats were so keen on Indian cuisine. This is my take on his question.
The first thing that springs to mind – if you grew up eating British school dinners you would better understand the popularity of curry and Indian food.
When I was growing in Yorkshire many years ago (in the days of black and white tv e.t.c.) – we were lucky to get more than a diet of tripe, dumplings and boiled cabbage (and sometimes custard with a horrible skin on it). By, contrast a curry seemed incredibly exotic. I think I tried a mouthful aged five but my taste buds were not acclimatised, and I took a dislike. I never took another curry until aged 18 I had my first curry in a restaurant in Bradford. I ordered an “extra mild curry” – quite nervous about the exotic spices and was pleasantly surprised it was quite tasty. If only we had a bit of curry powder to mask the horrid tastes when growing up.
The only thing is that curry doesn’t mix well with Yorkshire Pudding. If made properly, they are very good genuine British cuisine. Continue Reading →
Saturday was National Bookshop Day. They seem to have a national day for everything these days. But, in the case of bookshops, I think it is well deserved.
I’m really glad to see bookshops hanging on – holding back the winds of technological change and remorseless move to all things digital. There is something uplifting about a bookshop, for want of a better description it has soul. A feeling that will never be replicated by the convenience of Kindle and online reviews.
At various times in my life, I’ve been fascinated by nearly all sections in bookshops – especially religion and spirituality section – just about everything apart from particle physics and fiction. I don’t like fiction unless it is Lord of the Rings.
Today, I went into my local Blackwells Oxford to find ‘Cracking Economics’ by Tejvan Pettinger. They had eight copies, which is great because when I checked online two days ago, they said they had ten.
Which means they possibly sold two in two days!
I should have bought a copy to honour my local bookshop, but my publisher has already kindly sent me 20 copies in the post, so I don’t really need a 21st copy.
Still, there it was on the shelf next to the Oxford Dictionary of Economics.
The Economics Bible
The other funny thing is that in America, the same book is called “The Economics Bible.” On that cover, they have put my name next to a picture of Karl Marx. So perhaps some readers in America will think that Tejvan Pettinger is a rather grim looking bearded figure from the Nineteenth Century.