Womad is not having a mid-life crisis, but maybe it should. After two years of Covid-induced hibernation, the World of Music, Arts and Dance festival returned to the grounds of Charlton Park in Wiltshire, England in the summer of 2021 celebrating its fortieth year.

I’m writing this sitting alone on the eighth floor of the Can of Ham. You may have guessed, even if you don’t keep up with the vernacular names of the latest office towers to sprout in the City of London, that yes, it’s a building.

he title glows in stylised fuchsia, purple, and white lettering on a black background. A synth melody enters over constantly shifting chords and a programmed hi-hat.

Where do you stand on the Paris consensus? Or should I say: how far along on the path to agreement are you?

For a year or so in my teens I was convinced that I – and almost everybody I knew – would die in a terrifying brain-disease epidemic.

In the second half of 2016, if you found yourself in the right European conference centre at the right time you might have caught a glimpse of that rarest of phenomena: a president, provost or vice-chancellor of an elite academic institution in a moment of self-doubt, contrition even.

It had been billed as ‘Rebellion Day’ by the organisers, a group called Extinction Rebellion that no-one I knew had heard of. Now, after blocking off roads in four major locations in London for over a week, racking up more than 1,000 arrests in the process, lots of people have heard of them.