In Bandit Country

‘It is him.’ ‘No it isn’t. It can’t be. What would he be doing here?’ ‘I heard his name called on the tannoy.’ ‘It must have been someone else with the same name.’ ‘No, look, that’s him. Say something.’ ‘No, you say something.’ I could hear all this from the couple seated in the oncology […]

Home Is Where The Books Are

It turns out people aren’t comfortable just being with themselves. Blaise Pascal said, ‘All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,’ and the figures back him up. 95% of adults say they found time for a leisure activity in the previous 24 hours, but 83% said they’d spent no […]

Survival Tips For A Long-Running Crime Series

‘My (insert aged relative of choice) loves your books.’ I first noticed a problem when I went back to check on a character’s name in Book 12 of my Bryant & May novels. The character was using a Blackberry. These devices have now officially deceased; nothing dates faster than technology. I flicked back through earlier […]

Liquid History

At first glance, John Warland’s ‘Liquid History’ looks a tad undernourished. This pub crawl in a book is a handsome little hardback filled with scrappy pen sketches and only seems to feature a handful of over-familiar boozers. Ye Olde Chesire Cheese, check. The Grenadier, check. the horrendously overprice George Inn, check. But dig a little […]

Third Time Lucky

When I began my first memoir, ‘Paperboy’, about craving books and growing up in a home without them, I faced a problem. I had kept notebooks filled with fiction but never wrote down what actually happened within our family. The reason is clear to me now; I felt more comfortable inside a fantastical world than […]

New Year, New Reading

I devoured David Sedaris’s ‘Theft By Finding: Diaries Volume One’ when it first came out. I love American essayists. They’ve successfully made it an art form unique to America (although we used to write them in the pre-war UK) and Sedaris has a unique way about him. It seems as if he is viewing the […]

The Man Who Wound A Thousand Clocks Part 2

This the second part of my short story. Feel free to download it, print it out, make a papier maché clock from it etc etc. The Sultan’s fascination with time gradually dimmed, but the course of his kingdom was now set. With time had come punctuality, and efficiency, and profitability. It was not a concept, […]

The Man who Wound a Thousand Clocks

It’s time for a story. I wrote this a very long time ago, when I was very enamoured with Persian culture. I’ll drop the second half tomorrow. ————– The Sultan Omar Mehmet Shay-Tarrazin was a ruler much given to statistics, not particularly through his own choice. It was simply that he had so much of […]

A Very Little Christmas

My family was never big on occasions. My parents forgot my 21st birthday (back when it was the ‘key of the door’, the key of the door now being 14), we all regularly forgot or failed to mark each other’s big birthdays. My brother always actively avoided his and my mother decided that it was […]

Reviews: ‘Benediction’ and ‘Eternals’

Terence Davies is one of arthouse-lovers’ more demanding directors, from ‘The House of Mirth’ and ‘The Deep Blue Sea’, films in which literary forms are thrillingly re-interpreted, to ‘The Long Day Closes’, with its infamous minutes-long close-up of a piece of carpet (strangely moving). His films are restrained and nuanced. These days he struggles to find […]