Rob's faceRob Blackhurst

RobBlackhurst.com

Rob Blackhurst is a London-based journalist. More about me.


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New Model Army: Sandhurst's Next Generation

Early on a golden summer morning, the next generation of Britain's Army officers are plunging waist-high into a stream that marks the border between Surrey and Berkshire. Just like previous officer cadets who have attended Sandhurst over the past two centuries, nine platoons are com- peting in the annual 'log race' – taking it in turns to carry a massive log and an ammunition box over several hundred agonising yards of the Royal Military Academy's grounds.

Posted on 20th November 2012.

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The air force men who fly drones in Afghanistan by remote control

Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan is reckoned to be as busy as Gatwick. Every few minutes the cloudless skies are filled with the roar of a military fighter taking off – hugging the ground to avoid pot shots by the Taliban's crude rockets before disappearing into the heat haze.

Posted on 20th November 2012.

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Mass Appeal: An interview with Rick Warren - America's Pastorpreneur

A shorter version of this piece appeared in FT Weekend on August 13th 2011

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The vast parking lots are filling early at the Saddleback church car park on a Sunday in mid-July. Lines of new SUVs queue for the best parking spots, guided by theme-park style marshals. The occupants, mostly young families, spill happily out into the boundless Californian sunshine. Sunday best here means cargo shorts, chunky athletic sandals and surfer dude T-shirts.

Tagged: Interviews for the Financial Times

Posted on 12th August 2011.

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Call of Duty: The Army's New Recruits

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The Daily Telegraph Magazine

The Pallasades shopping centre in central Birmingham has seen better days. On a Wednesday morning there is barely any passing footfall amid its 1980s-style fuchsia-pink signs. Even the discount stores are deadly quiet, sitting cheek-by-jowl next to the blacked-out windows and final reduction signs. The bleakness of these overlit walkways finds an echo in the local economic statistics. Recession has bitten here harder than anywhere else in Britain, with 13 per cent of the population out of work – almost the same grim level as in the north-east of England.

Posted on 21st April 2011.

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The Iron (ing) Lady

In the opening scene of the Iron Lady, a long retired Margaret gives her minders the slip and shuffles off to the corner shop to buy a pint of milk. Hunched in a regulation pensioner overcoat and headscarf, she dips an arthritic hand in her purse and pulls out her money with lumbering concentration, as if all is alien.

Posted on 21st January 2011.

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Cabbage Patch Kindles

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Take a Kindle out on the tube these days and you are liable to make friends. It could be the lateness of the hours I've been travelling, or perhaps I've been enveloped in a fug of festive bonhomie. But over the last month, wherever I've been, I've been accosted by strangers wanting to play with my Kindle. I haven't felt as popular since Father Christmas brought me that clunky yellow BMX Biker videogame in 1985.

Posted on 5th January 2011.

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To Play The King

After twelve months and six hundred pages, I've finally reached the end of Wolf Hall Hillary Mantel's marvellous epic based around the life of Thomas Cromwell.

Posted on 2nd January 2011.

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Rehabilitating Richard

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Amid weak sunshine in a low Norman church, right in the centre of England, the Richard III society are saying prayers for their King.

Posted on 2nd January 2011.

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Margaret and the flux capacitor

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And so to dinner last night in Covent Garden with my publisher friend Andreas. He came bearing a copy of Andy McSmith's new book "There's no such thing as Society", a history of the 1980s that we'd jointly conceived a couple of years back when I worked with him at Constable Robinson publishers.

Posted on 19th October 2010.

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In Bed with Politicians

Watching Ed Miliband on Andrew Marr's sofa this morning felt somehow poignant. He's still a young and good-looking forty, light of manner, and amiable. What will years of the grinding exhaustion and unremitting pressures of leading the party do to him?

Posted on 27th September 2010.

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