Are Pretty People More Successful?

Made of rubber

How we see an author on a book jacket is how we tend to remember them. We view Agatha Christie as what they used to call a ‘maiden aunt’, more Miss Marple than the tall, glamorous young woman who travelled the world and was probably the first English writer ever to go surfing in Hawaii. […]

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In every detective’s life there are cases that can’t be discussed, and throughout the Bryant & May novels there have been mentions of some of these such as the Deptford Demon or the Little Italy Whelk Smuggling Scandal. Now Arthur Bryant has decided to open the files on eleven of these previously unseen investigations that […]

What I Did On Publication Night


I blazed a trail last night. New rule. Never go to more than three parties in one evening. As I couldn’t be in London for the paperback publication of ‘Bryant & May: London’s Glory’ I did the next best thing and accepted an invitation from my lovely friend Joanna to hang out with Barcelona’s beautiful […]

How To Be An Impoverished Writer


Believe it or not, dear reader, I was not always the louche glamorous flaneur you see before you, strolling between international soirees (last two engagements; Methodist Hall Archway Road and derelict arts centre outside Leeds) with no need to work again for at least, oh, a fortnight. Once all I aspired to be was an […]

Unchanging London

From Buckingham Palace

A rare 7ft print showing a panorama of London almost exactly 300 years ago, which has come up for sale as part of a collection of pictures of the capital, shows that surprisingly little has changed. The work is by Johannes Kip, a Dutch artist who moved to London following the accession of William of Orange […]

‘Every Joke Is A Tiny Revolution’ – Orwell


Further to my recent article on satirical magazines, a piece by Zoe Williams in The Guardian yesterday prompts this thought, viz. you cannot be satirical now and get away with it. It’s a complicated tale, going back over 30 years. The CIA destabilised nations by putting in new leaders, and to cut a long (and […]

All Aboard! Best Movies Set On Trains

Train To Busan

  ‘Train To Busan’ is deservedly a massive hit for South Korea – an action adventure about zombies that makes ‘World War Z’ look like ‘Carry On Camping’, and manages to be both thrilling and heartbreaking within its streamlined runaway plot. It’s Zombies On A Train – thanks to a spreading biohazard that forces a […]



It means we live in a time when anything can happen at any given moment, and what’s more we’re so used to it that we cope by turning away from the world’s issues, knowing we can do nothing about them, and look inward instead to body and mind. It’s also the title of Adam Curtis’s […]

Banged Up? Going Down? Doing A Stretch?


Anyone can go to the Old Bailey (the Central Criminal Court of London) without having to first commit a serious crime. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking about visiting it. And it’s a free activity, by the way. There are two parts to the building, old and new. Entrance to the public […]

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