Almost 20 years ago, my then literary agent asked me a simple question. What, he said, did I want to write about? A previous novel of mine had failed to find a publisher, and I needed to get back to work. ''I want to write about Jews in Britain,'' I replied, spontaneously. ''But not the intellectual kind.''
Westminster Council is advertising for new traders for Berwick Street market, a hub of Jewish life for two decades either side of the war and a landmark in London trading for 200 years. News of this revitalisation has been greeted with derision by the street's remaining veteran Jewish trader, but for me it merely provoked nostalgia.
Hollywood is the town of legends. And, unusually for anything to do with legends, they are mostly true. But not always. The almost-true one about the few square miles known as Tinseltown is that, like it or not, for the best part of three quarters of a century it was a place controlled by Jews.
Growing up in Essex, playwright and performer Nick Cassenbaum was fascinated by his grandfather's stories of the East End steam baths, where he and friends carried on the tradition of the Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe in the 19th century, for whom the baths were a place to meet, steam and eat - in that order.
When Frederic Raphael applied to Cambridge, he wrote at the top of the first page of his essay, "art is one of the four things that unite men" (Turgenev). "I didn't know anything about Turgenev," he confessed years later. "I didn't know what the other three things that united men were. One of them, you can depend on it, is antisemitism."
When Australia were skittled out for 60 on the first day of the fourth Ashes Test in Nottingham a fortnight ago, the records fell as fast as Aussie wickets. But the commentators in the Sky Sports team trying to keep up knew they could rely on a trusted source for their facts and figures: statistician Benedict Bermange.