Corbynisation: A Classic British Conundrum

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In Europe, councils like to encourage everyone from kids to seniors to go out and get a bit of fresh air, so they build outdoor gyms and seating all over the place. There are benches and tables everywhere, used by everyone. If a few drunks settle on them it’s no big deal. Things don’t quite […]

Toward Linguistic Grace

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For most of us in the West, English, whether you like it or not, has become the universal language. But because so many others are at different stages of learning it you find yourself simplifying your speech in order to communicate more easily. I don’t mind this at all; it’s good to be reminded on […]

Does Anyone Re-read Old Books?

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Regular readers will have noticed a dearth of London articles here of late. This is not due to any antipathy I have for my city; for the past eight months we’ve been living out of suitcases, waiting to move home to our renovated flat, and all my reference books were in storage. Now that I’m […]

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

STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah, Dolly Parton, 1989

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.