Raymond Kirkpatrick Goes Online

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Raymond Kirkpatrick is a colleague of Arthur Bryant’s. The bear-like heavy metal-loving Professor of English is currently working at the British Library and is our occasional guest speaker. His opinions are very, very much his own. I work in a library so obviously I prefer books, but last week John May, in his desperate attempts […]

The Scala Returns To Glory

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London’s cinema club the Scala started life in a building backed onto Scala Street near Goodge Street tube, with a tiny screening room and a cafe with plastic tablecloths. It was founded by my old pal Steve Woolley, who modelled it on the Nu-Art Cinema in Los Angeles, showing everything from Russ Meyer to Jacques Tati. Steve went […]

How A Sweet Story Turned Sour

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One thing every child growing up in Britain knows is that it makes very good chocolate. It wasn’t something we ever thought about as kids. Rowntree’s, Fry’s and Cadbury’s all made great confectionary. I certainly never noticed its quality until I tasted a Hershey bar, which was revolting, like rubber. There was a reason for […]

More Backlist Publications & A Film Student Offer

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  Although I’m currently at work on several new hardbacks, I haven’t neglected the electronic releases of my past books. I’ve been working with Penguin Random House to republish all the volumes which have been out of print for years, all with new introductions and covers, at low prices. So far available are Rune, Red […]

Hurrah For Wodehouse!

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Comic novels and stories traditionally occupy a low place on the literary totem pole, even when they make serious points. Arguably the most regarded American comic novel in Joseph Heller’s ‘Catch 22’, followed by Updike, Irving and Dunne. In the UK the sprawling comic epic – the type American authors construct so well – is […]

The Secrets Of Santa

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Christmas isn’t all sweetness and light. Some of the old yuletide imagery conjured in songs and stories and on cards is best left behind, especially with its uncomfortable ethnic connotations. Devils armed with whips and demons dragging off naughty children formed the basis of common yuletide stories in Northern Europe, while the Krampus, a horned […]

The Friday Song

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With the news being so depressing yesterday it wasn’t time for the Friday Song, so here it is today, celebrating the bad girls of the movies. Footnote: In a weird comment on America’s complex issues with race, the film ‘Steel Magnolias’, which features here, was remade in 2012 with an all-black cast.

20 Reasons To Be Fearful

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Ah, the sun is shining, the birds have stopped coughing long enough to whistle a little tune and you feel momentarily good, don’t you? Allow me to wipe that cheery smile off your face. A quick round-up of the UK’s top stories this morning revealed these gems. ‘Arctic ice melt brings uncontrollable climate change at […]

Describe Your Childhood In One Word.

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A new international study has warned that British children are now among the least active in the world. Research comparing the activity levels of children in 38 countries put England, Wales and Scotland behind Ireland, Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates. Scottish children are the worst. Also, ‘Generation Stress’ millennials are now suffering from ‘old […]

‘Under The Shadow’ Reinvigorates The Horror Genre

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I love a good scare. The trouble is that there haven’t been any good ones in quite a while. And I’m a demanding customer; I also want to be made to think. My benchmark films range from ‘It Follows’ back through ‘The Orphanage’ to ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, about which there’s an interesting article here, arguing that […]