Adrian Monck

Readings for a funeral

January 9, 2015

What do you read at a funeral? Some­thing sec­u­lar, some­thing reli­gious? My own close family’s his­tory of ritual-less indus­trial incin­er­a­tion — a few words, a recor­ded organ, the coffin slip­ping behind a faded vel­vet cur­tain in the crem­at­orium — offered little in the way of sec­u­lar com­fort. A school­ing paid for by singing psalms to empty cathed­ral stalls withered […]


My sister’s keeper

December 9, 2014

My sis­ter died last night. She was 46 years old. For the last of those years she lived in a care home near the sea front in Great Yar­mouth, patiently looked after. In good times she took her med­ic­a­tion, and spent her weekly state allow­ance on daily litres of coca-cola and pack­ets of cigar­ettes. She had lost […]

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I can’t help but be fas­cin­ated by Jill Abramson’s tat­too. The ‘T’ of the New York Times inked into her skin. It’s like Car­son, the but­ler in Down­ton Abbey, reveal­ing that he has the Earl of Grantham’s armorial bear­ings embroidered on his box­ers. Eng­land still has its Down­ton Abbeys. These days people pay to look […]


I was born in the front bed­room of the two bed­room house my grand­par­ents ren­ted from the coun­cil. It was Feb­ru­ary 1965, The Kinks at num­ber one for homes with record play­ers and without teen­age moth­ers. A year later, my brother was born in the same room. The front bed­room was for being born in, the back […]