Charles Martin

Blue notes

Following a typically quiet summer, fans of live jazz can look forward to a surfeit of gigs this autumn.

Sunday, 11 September, 2011, 12:00am

When fondness is the name of the game

I confess Sunday evenings, overshadowed as they are by the imminence of Monday mornings, are not my favourite nights of the week. On the other hand, Charles Martin does do a very creditable job of taking the sting out of them.

5 Oct 2003 - 12:00am

Thought patterns

GREETING cards are strange things. Most of us buy them, send them and receive them. No one needs them. Handwritten notes are more sincere. Phone calls are easier and in most instances, cheaper. Yet for all their uselessness, birthday and anniversary cards have enjoyed spectacular longevity, outliving other worthless fads and fashions like men's hats, car tail fins and common courtesy.

6 Aug 1995 - 12:00am

Group dynamics

A FRIEND of mine, Peter by name, recently returned from Canada, where he participated in a conversation that probably marked a new low point in male-female understanding. It was Peter's fault - he started it, after all, by asking a woman at a cocktail party what she did for a living.

30 Jul 1995 - 12:00am

Spirit in the machine

LIKE most of you, I was pleased to learn that NASA had to delay the launch of the US space shuttle Discovery. The cause was a delightful technical mishap known as the yellow-shafted flicker woodpecker. Just why the insulating foam on the external fuel tank happens to taste like a blue spruce is not known. What is known is why we find it funny.

18 Jun 1995 - 12:00am

Postal code

Dear -----, How's everything? Sorry it's been so long since you've heard from us. It must have been at least ---- months, if memory serves me. In fact, we're so far behind, we've actually designed a form letter to help us catch up. Pretty 1) clever 2) ingenious 3) efficient 4) disgusting, don't you think? So what's new, you ask?

14 May 1995 - 12:00am

Phoney qualifications

THE other day I discovered a rule of economics. This might not seem big news to you, but please remember that: (1) I discovered it on my own; (2) generally, I am not known as an economic thinker.

30 Apr 1995 - 12:00am

Exit right

AMONG all my irrational desires, perhaps the silliest is my desire to write, polish up and memorise my last words, and recite them dramatically when the time comes. But is this truly so illogical? Any actor can tell you that the quality of the exit is at least as important as the quality of the performance that precedes it.

26 Feb 1995 - 12:00am

marked men

LIKE many of you, I subscribe to Skin & Ink, the monthly magazine for tattoo enthusiasts. But I don't have any tattoos of my own. And I never will.

11 Sep 1994 - 12:00am


THE tourist literature calls Hong Kong a shopper's paradise. But in at least one respect, it's the ninth circle of shopper's hell: there's no return. To hand over money is an irrevocable act that can end in eternal punishment, like signing a pact withthe devil. Abandon hope. Competition is supposedly the engine that runs retailing in Hong Kong. Salesmen claim they offer more for less.

27 Feb 1994 - 12:00am


I AM a bore. Just ask my former friends. In some circles my name alone is enough to start people yawning. People always ask me how I manage to do it. They assume my dullness is a gift, like Mozart's musicality. In fact, there's no big secret, no magictrick - just a few simple rules to follow. Today I'll share them with you.

30 Jan 1994 - 12:00am

And on the 14th day the cats ate me

WOMEN think men cannot live alone. Wives especially believe the Y chromosome causes our brains to shut down the moment they are outside a 50 kilometre radius from home. When they go away on trips, they leave notes with little reminders like: ''Make sure the children don't eat the candles in the dining room''.

24 Oct 1993 - 12:00am