In Search Of A London Street Pt. 3

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I leave Postman’s Park, with the remains of the old White Horse Inn behind it, but I’m still no closer to discovering my mysterious cobbled street. Clearly it’s known to thousands; I’d seen it on a warm Friday night when its corners were overflowing with wine-imbibing city workers. Instead I start stumbling upon a few […]

In Search Of A London Street Pt.2

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I had now reached the back of Farringdon below Hatton Garden, an area that had changed unrecognisably. However, this part of London is surprisingly hilly, and the original road layouts have been adhered to. I’m heading to Fleet Street but not to Dr Samuel Johnson’s House, where a statue of his cat sits outside – […]

In Search Of A London Street Pt. 1

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London and the Sahara Desert share a peculiar link; every few years strong winds mean that the desert sand gets lifted, transported and dropped onto our city. Yesterday it turned the sky a deep reddish-brown and brought hot winds, but no rain. Before it hit, I went for a walk to see my chatty friend […]

Censorship Is A Funny Thing

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There’s been a lot in the academic press lately about the ways in which public-driven censorship is destroying free debate. Although this is currently more of a US talking point, what starts there usually ends here. Currently there are over a dozen books featuring drugs, abortion, race and LGBT issues on the US college libraries’ […]

Getting To Grips With Twitter

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I’m always surprised that so many people who like Facebook don’t use Twitter, and I realise now that some of them have got the wrong idea about it. There are endless tips and hacks about using Twitter, mostly to do with keeping your post at the top of the pile and the right times of […]

The Greening Of England

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I live just off the very unlovely Euston Road, one of the most polluted routes in one of Europe’s most polluted cities. It’s horrible to walk down, and quite impossible to do so during rush hour. As someone who has suffered lifelong chest problems, I find myself with permanent hay fever-like symptoms when I’m on […]

Britain Reverts To Tradition

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The National Retail Sales Index makes for far more interesting reading than you might imagine. Its findings are picked over and analysed for retail trends. Prices have been steadily rising while the phenomenon known as shrinkflation has cut the size of many products for consumers, maintaining profits for producers. There are other signs of retrenchment, […]

‘The Shape Of Water’; Ravishing, Heart-Stopping, Kleenex Destroying

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No Spoilers Guillermo Del Toro and I have a bit of a history; I was there for his first film, he optioned one of my books and for a brief, glorious time we worked together. The Mexican director has the seemingly Latin ability of being able to make a cinematic point within the context of […]

Past, Present, First, Third…

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One of the hardest decisions you have to make whenever you start writing a book is choosing your voice. Do you write it in the first person or the third? (A handful of books have been written in the second person but they’re awkwardly self-conscious to read.) If you choose the third person, you get […]

Are The Days Of Bookshop Readings Ending?

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There was a time when it was very common for the bigger UK authors to tour American bookshops. Over hereĀ I spent part of every year touring UK bookstores giving talks, conducting Q&As and signing, but never got offered a US tour. Knowing you can’t pull a big crowd certainly stops you from getting a big […]