London Buildings I Like No.1

View of The National Theatre from Waterloo Bridge taken shortly after the sunset of a beautiful day of October.

Let’s start with a controversial choice; the National Theatre on the South Bank. This is what was written about the formation of a National Theatre in 1904 by William Archer and Harley Granville Barker. ‘The National Theatre must be its own advertisement – must impose itself on public notice, not by posters or column advertisements […]

Unplanned London


Once there were a great many things I took for granted in London; a trip to a museum, cheap last-minute returns for the theatre, a bit of classical music, a talk given in a shop or a hall, a public event, a dance party, perhaps in a park or on the river – the London […]

Cor Blimey!


So I comes down the apples and pears with me Rosie Lee this morning and stone the crows, I find aht I’m a bleeding’ cockney, don’t I? An’ I think they’re having a giraffe and I’m feeling a right Jeremy (upgraded from James, apparently – you work it out). *changes to RP* Actually I have […]

Broadening The Mind


It costs a lot of money to bring a body back from overseas. When my best friend died in France, we had to decide whether to ship him back or have him cremated on the spot. We opted for the latter option. Some of him was sprinkled from the back of a boat in Monte […]

Shagged Out


Mrs Lovett (to Sweeney Todd) ‘My, you do like a good story, don’t you?’ Like Sweeney, I do like a good story. I admire depth of characterisation, mise-en-scene, twists and turns in a well-wrought plot. What I don’t much care for is all the f*cking. It’s not a new thing. I always felt like this. […]

The Miscellany Of My Mind

off copy

What’s in the picture-book today? A miscellany – some thoughts passing through my head as I sit in my study trying to cool down enough to concentrate on writing a new novel. ——————– Writers produce a lot of work that’s not published. For years I kept drawerfuls of abandoned manuscripts, movie scripts, TV productions, radio […]

What I’m Watching/Reading This Week


‘The Chocolate Cobweb’ is a taut novel by Charlotte Armstrong (most recently filmed with Isabel Huppert in the lead) adding a strange froideur to its very 1950s storyline, which involves a poisoning interrupted by a neighbour, who unwittingly removes the evidence in a handkerchief (the contents of a spilled chocolate cup). Domestic suspense is very […]



What makes a book, a film, a scene, a song or a play stay in the mind? It’s a question writers wrestle with constantly. Often it’s a case of the ‘sevens’; when you’re seven years old everything is exciting and new, and any old rubbish sticks with you forever. I’m horrified at how often the […]

Mind The Gap


Outside the station today, people are pavement-preaching with signs reading ‘Mind the (God) Gap’. A quick check reveals they’re an unaffiliated, vague religious group with a website that fails to answer any of the questions they pose. Under ‘Who Are We?’ they offer; has been created to give Londoners access the good news about […]

Books At The Back Of The Shelf


Hopefully you’ll find ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’ a new twist on the unearth-an-old-book idea, but I’m not the first to dig into the shelves and find gems.  In ‘Books To Die For’, John Connolly and Declan Burke worked their way through some marvellous novels that have been overlooked. The murder mystery has an enduring appeal […]