Produced by Vanessa Kortekaas and Natalie Whittle. Filmed by Petros Gioumpasis. Edited by Josh de la Mare.
I like ballpoints. Though, I have a Rollerball as well. But this is the main thing I use, which is a very famous German make. I use it to take notes. It's incredibly reliable. It's a present I gave to myself. They are rather ludicrously expensive, but I really dislike having mugs of half-drunk tea and coffee around. So I don't surround myself with that sort of clutter.
I write when I'm relatively fresh. I find usually when I sleep that [INAUDIBLE] mess of ideas form themselves into something that could be a column.
The books that I receive that might be of interest, I tend to keep in piles. I'm quite good at remembering where they are, more or less.
The books that are on the shelves are worth keeping, but they're not current. Then, over the years, as you might guess, this office gets more and more cluttered. This has actually been tidied up. But keeping on top of it. I don't have the time to be my own librarian. My mind is uncluttered, that's what matters.
I tend to have about 10, 15 or so ideas for columns in my head. And I'm in a way, collecting information, ideas about those subjects. So I use a computer always, a laptop. If you're writing a lot of text, a keyboard on a proper computer is I think really essential.
I am a completely, utterly Apple person. Got my first Mac computer in 1984. I have staplers, two. Very important, because I still use paper. Not much, but a fair amount. I download a very large number of papers.
One thing that I've carried with me in my various offices in the last 40, 45 years, which is this thing, just because I think it's rather fun. I bought it in the middle of the 1970s when I was working on India for the World Bank, long before I became a journalist. It moves. It balances. It's sort of an acrobat. And I sort of associate it with something that was an important part of my early life.
But apart from that, my office is almost completely impersonal. I have written columns on airplanes, on trains, in hotel rooms, and it doesn't really matter very much to me where I am when I'm writing.