Gavin Francis

Gavin Francis is a GP in Edinburgh. His books include Adventures in Human BeingIntensive Care: A GP, a Community and Covid-19 and Recovery: The Lost Art of Convalescence.

Letter

Cash for Diagnoses

5 March 2015

Gavin Francis writes: So it’s the fault of GPs, once again the lightning conductors for the nation’s health anxieties. I’m not insulted. What is outrageous is that this initiative specifically erodes patients’ trust in their doctors’ motives, and uses the consulting room to gather data rather than to offer help and support. So there are disparities between London and Belfast, well, go find...
Letter
Amia Srinivasan’s tentacular essay on octopuses was a treat. She mentions the 2010 EU directive on animal testing, which classified cephalopods with vertebrates, because of their ‘ability to experience pain’. That was 17 years after the UK recognised the sentience of these remarkable animals: in 1993, the then home secretary, Michael Howard, gave the common octopus, Octopus vulgaris, the status...
Letter

About Penguins

4 January 2018

Regarding the fatal disorientation of penguins, Robert Falcon Scott said of the adélie, the species that interested Werner Herzog, that they show ‘a pig-headed disregard for their own safety’ (Letters, 25 January). I was stationed in Antarctica in 2003 when a British Antarctic Survey pilot told me he’d spotted one more than a hundred miles from safety on the Antarctic plateau, walking towards...
Letter

Arthur who?

3 January 2019

It is a customary pleasure of the LRB that, within a single issue, harmonies arise between different pieces, as well as contradictions. Just a few pages after Harald Prins’s letter in the issue of 3 January asserting that King Arthur’s legendary conquests in Iceland and Greenland legitimised British colonial conquest in the late 16th century, Katherine Rundell, in her piece on the narwhal, brought...
From The Blog
1 July 2014

At the Junction bookshop in Thimphu the manager is reading Sartre’s Age of Reason. ‘I’ve been trying to get hold of Nausea for months,’ she says, ‘but the Indian distributors won’t send it up.’ On a stand in the centre of the shop there are glossy photo books: cute, scruffy waifs; austere Himalayan panoramas; a coffee-table celebration of carved wooden phalluses (the Bhutanese strain of Buddhism employs phallic symbolism with zeal). These are the books laid out for souvenir shoppers. On the shelves, there’s a section dedicated to Ancient Greek drama, another to 19th-century Russian novelists (all in English translation). There’s a volume of Elizabeth Bishop, and some Freud. She has sold her last copy of Infinite Jest but still has a copy of The Pale King.

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