Philippa Thomas Online

Occasional thoughts about life, books and news.


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America Revisited : What happens in Vegas

I  was waiting for an Uber on the Vegas Strip last night, looking up wide-eyed at some of the crazy crowded exuberant neon skyline. From the casinos of Caesar’s Palace to The Mirage to Treasure Island. Next , perfectly framed in the top of a palm tree against a purple sky, was the shining golden name “Trump”, set on top of his shining golden tower. Continue reading

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America Revisited : Leaving LA

Eight years ago, black Americans were talking about pride and history – Barack Obama in the White House. In the last two days, I’ve been hearing stories of frustration and disappointment. Not with him – the people I’ve been talking to in Los Angeles have mostly been his liberal supporters. But with what they think his elevation unleashed in some of their fellow Americans. Continue reading


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America Revisited road trip : LA

When the dawn comes, I’ll be able to see palm trees. That’s jet lag in Los Angeles for you. I’ve surfaced in an eccentric little house in somebody’s back yard – built purely I reckon for the AirBNB economy – eager for daylight and a bike ride down to Venice beach.

The last time I blogged, it was with the confident expectation that Donald Trump would by now be a footnote in American political history. Ha! Now it’s California primary day. Continue reading


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Donald #Trump. Really? My take on the upcoming US elections.

“Unhinged”. 

“Outrageous”. 

“Offensive and outlandish”. 

“A race-baiting xenophobic religious bigot”. 

All Republicans denouncing one – at least in name – of their own.

Donald J Trump is not backing down over his call for Muslims to be barred from entering the United States. Donald J Trump has elbowed his way to the top of the political agenda with two huge assets – money and belligerence. Continue reading


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Whose #Detroit is it anyway? a story of #Race and #RealEstate

“This is a kind of self-obsession”.

He is self obsessed.  Annoying.  A thirtysomething Yale graduate drifting through life.  A white outsider who stumbles his way through this claustrophobic drama set in a semi-derelict stretch of Detroit.

But his story is a very good read.

The narrator of “You Don’t Have to Live Like This” is Greg Marnier.  He doesn’t know where he stands between insiders and newcomers, dispossessed and profiteer, above all between black and white.  Mostly, ‘Marny’ doesn’t want those “sides” to exist at all, and the reader has to decide whether he’s simply naive or somehow stoking the tensions as the story builds to its racially charged climax.  Continue reading


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Books – a reckoning

In this financial year…

I have LOST time. Extra minutes stolen before running to the tube for work. Guilty pages on the broken bench outside the fitness centre. Secret hours clocked up between sofa and shutters, home alone before shift work with no-one to account to.

I have GAINED so much – from the inside of other peoples’ heads.

Note to self. Try to be more mindful, more measured, less greedy a reader. Here are words to jog memories, from the books I’ve inhaled. An audit, of sorts.

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Having fun learning “How to Speak Money”

I really enjoyed meeting author John Lanchester in the TV studio last night. I thoroughly enjoyed the insights of his novel “Capital” into the different tribes of modern Londoners. Now I can also recommend “How to Speak Money”, after speed reading the book in 24 hours, learning a lot, and laughing out loud at a surprising number of entries. Here are a few of the nuggets…. Continue reading