It makes people happy


Is there any higher purpose in life than to make people happy? What was the last thing that made you happy?

Stress has been plentiful for me these past few weeks. I will not bore you with the details. There are times in life when keeping one’s spirits up and remaining focused is harder than normal. But it can still be done. There is no day in your life that is entirely without some good. Even if it is just for the most fleeting of moments.

Here are one or two tiny moments of happiness or interest that lifted my spirits from each day over the past week. Cast your mind back over your own past seven days. What brought a smile to your face?

Saturday 14 April 2018: Spitfireful


After an incredibly protracted winter, spring decisively sprung. A beautiful Saturday morning called me out into the garden. With perfect timing, moments after I stepped out, a Spitfire flew right by my garden. Another followed it an hour or two later. Spitfires (and the very occasional Lancaster) are a semi-regular sight from my garden in spring and summer, presumably scooting past en route to various air shows. I can assure you that the sight and sound was much more inspiring in real life than this grainy wee photo can possibly hope to convey.

Sunday 15 April 2018: KISSulent


Is there such a thing as a guilty pleasure? Can music ever be too dumb for its own good? Gentle reader, it took me a great many years to come around to Kiss. Songwriting at its most derivative and simplistic. Musicianship at its most limited. Lyrics that would, in all probability, not pass muster as poetry. But, but, but… It took a great many years for the penny to drop. Kiss channel purest musical joy. Daft, larger than life, life-affirming idiocy of the highest order. Julian Cope once penned a fantastic tribute to Kiss, capturing perfectly the ecstatic cretinousness of their tuneage.  I have been obsessed of late with their album Hotter Than Hell. In the likely event you are not a Kiss fan, I hope some day you will join us, and the world will rock and roll all night and party ev-ery day as one.

Monday 16 April 2018: Smile


Is it possible to draw yourself happy? Over the past few months, I’ve tried wherever possible to draw a speedy five minute sketch on my morning commute. You can see a whole mess of them via the #sketchulence hashtag. For this particular Monday, I tried to capture a smile. The picture is captioned: “Hope springs, light pours out when you smile.”

Tuesday 17 April 2018: Mr Marrow’s Cuddle Bubbles


When I logged on to Twitter in the wee small hours of Monday morning (limey time), everyone seemed abuzz with Beyonce’s Beychella takeover of the Coachella festival. Ice-T, however, was not among their number. I love his brief video of his “NOT Coachella” weekend, accompanying his tiny daughter Chanel to a toddler-friendly gig that seems (if you squint at the video) to be named “Cuddle Bubbles Live”. My love and respect for Ice-T is lifelong and depthless. I love and respect him all the more for sharing this insight into Ice as family man. Respect, sir.

Wednesday 18 April 2018: Bewigged, gownulent


Wednesday’s train commute #sketchulence was an altogether more piscine affair. You might say that things were getting a tad fishulent.


My friend Sean Jones, QC is running in tomorrow’s London Marathon (on Sunday 22 April 2018). I am delighted to report that Sean has now achieved his #WigAndGownMarathon target of raising £10,000 for Save The Children, which means he will be running the full 26-and-a-wee-bit miles in his QC’s wig and gown. There is still time for you to sponsor him, too. His daughters have put together this excellent video (from which the above still is sourced) to help spread the #WigAndGownMarathon word to the world. Click here to donate.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the minute the sun gets properly warm in the UK, you are guaranteed – no matter where you are in the country – to see some bloke with no top on, strutting along on his own with a can of Stella. On my way home from work on this, the first seriously toasty day of the year, I saw just that sight! Feel privileged that I did not capture this moment in photographic form to share with you here.  What sights – foul or fair – characterise a hot, sunny day for you?

Thursday 19 April 2018: Less than Beatleful


Pre-dawn, scanning Tweetdeck over breakfast, I spied the following lovely tweet from Neil Gaiman:

“I signed a bunch of copies of NORSE MYTHOLOGY today in NY LaGuardia terminal B. I DID talk to the shop assistant. Her: "Er, why are you doing that?” Me: “It makes people happy.” Her: “Oh. Okay. I’ll put them back on the shelf for you.” No police were called.“

I love this. "It makes people happy.” Is there a better reason to do anything?


My #FridayJunior train ride #sketchulence depicts a face in shadows. (You may spot a distinctly blue palette to this week’s pictures. I put a small number of similar-hued pens in my bag, and change ‘em up every few weeks. It’s a blue phase right now!).


A really odd sight at the charity shop near my work, from my lunchtime wanderings. A truly random set of 7" singles rehoused in computer print-outs of Beatles LP sleeves! Why, exactly?!? Zoom in on the green labels to see what they really contain!

Friday 20 April 2018: Buddha chillin’, cherry blossomin’


Friday arrives, the sun sticks around for another day. Front garden Buddha soaking up rays, foregrounded heather enjoying the shade.


My friend Charlie Eastabrook shared a fantastic picture of some gorgeous cherry blossom on her Instagram. When I asked her if I could include that picture in this post, she generously shared some more pictures (like Tyra Banks might say on ANTM: “Shot after shot after shot…”). From that private stash, here is one particularly lensflareful picture. Thank you, Charlie!


Finally, another lovely share via Instagram. My friend Sabrina Baker shared the above image on how to Make Introverts Great Again on Thursday, which I happened across on Friday morning. I can 100% relate!

All these things have brought a smile to my face this week (well, maybe not the bloke with the can of Stella). What was the last thing that made you smile? I sincerely hope, gentle reader, that the next thing to make you smile is just around the corner.

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