Richard Benson

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A knitsuke from the dovegreyreader

I have just arrived back at home from the Port Eliot festival in Cornwall, where I was talking to Lynne Hatwell at the dovegreyreader tent, interviewing Linda Brothwell at Hole & Corner, and talking at Caught By The River. To top a good time I return home with a knitsuke, one of the individual gifts/mementos […]

The fall and fall of Leeds United

My story about being a Leeds United supporter, and about how “doing a Leeds” became a recognised phrase signifying the mismanagement of football clubs in the modern age of sport, is published in Esquire this month. You can download a pdf here: Leeds! Leeds! Leeds!

Even thieves need to keep up with the news

I was out on night patrol with Dave Jenkins again last night. We still haven’t seen any poachers. He did tell me a good story though. Modern poachers are usually low-grade urban criminals who will, if the chance arises, enter farmyards and steal anything they think they’ll be able sell back at home. They’re very […]

Robin Wood, craftsman

My interview with Robin Wood, Peak District-based wooden bowl turner and chairman of the Heritage Crafts Association, is in issue of Hole & Corner, out now. Wood is an important spokesperson for modern craftsmen and women for several reasons, the most interesting one for me being his understanding of how craft works – always worked […]

The Rites of Spring on Portobello Beach

On this, the first warmish weekend of the year, I’m in Edinburgh, visiting my mother in law with Laura and the children, seeing Spring being welcomed in with a raw, ritual Celtic lustiness. The curtains of mist have only just withdrawn from the city, the temperatures may have risen by only a fraction of a degree, but […]

From £15,000 to £15m in 40 years: the man who taught the FA and Nike how to make money from England football shirts

Elland Road in the Seventies, home of the infamous Dirty Leeds team of David Peace’s The Damned United, is regarded by most football fans as a dour, bleak and violent ground. A “Hateful, hateful, hateful place; spiteful, spiteful, spiteful place,” as Peace’s version of Brian Clough says at the beginning of Peace’s novel. The spit-and-spite […]

What prison book groups taught me about books

Perhaps you shouldn’t get too idealistic about prisoners’ interest in books. The first time I visited a prison to talk to a book club – it was one in West Yorkshire, in about 2008 – I asked the librarian what her most popular books were. “Ones about antiques, and true-life crime,” she said. “Especially Martina […]

Walter Parkin’s Great War Story in Esquire

The story about my grandfather Walter Parkin is published in this month’s Esquire magazine. An except is here.

Does Joan Didion have painter and decorator materials stored in her office?

With the warmer weather here, we are having the house exterior painted by a friend of my friend Swiss Cottage Kev, called Clive. Requiring a dry place to store his tools and materials, Clive suggests the shed, and so the bags of filler, dust sheets, brushes and knives gather at the far end of the […]

Rock n Roll Will Never Die, But It Might Have A Nap On Mondays

Over the years I’ve seen The Fiddler’s Arms, a pub round the corner from me on Prince of Wales Road in Kentish Town, try every musical genre known to man to get their Monday nights going. It looks as if February 2014 is the month they finally threw in the towel.