Born To Be Surreal


I’ve just visited the so-called ‘Dali Triangle’, including his wife’s castle-home in Pubol and his monument to surrealism in Figueres, and it has changed my opinion of the artist. Many wrote off Salvador Dali because of his unabashed commercialism, his bad-boy antics and his clown-prince behaviour. It’s an easy mistake to make, but a mistake […]

Letter From Europe 1: A Room With A View


A brief hiatus in service there while I spent the weekend pottering in the countryside. I hadn’t intended to spend it sleeping next door to Europe’s largest Battle of Waterloo model, but you know how these things turn out. Said vast model, the work of some twenty years, survives in a converted castle in Southern […]

Re:View – ‘Love’


Now that anyone can create a movie in their parents’ garage and upload it, there are a lot of stilted, dreadful films about that nobody watches. ‘Love’ may have been shot this way and while it’s not without its flaws, there’s something perversely wonderful about it. Directed by William Eubank and produced by electro-band Angels […]

Avoiding The 5 Biggest Creativity Traps


I’ve taught in the arts field a bit (not as much as I should) and I see certain problems cropping up time and again among those who would like to write. I thought it might help if I outlined a few of the most common problems. 1. Confusing creation with production The delivery systems for […]

On The Street Where You Live


My twelfth Bryant & May book is about a young man who becomes homeless, a rough sleeper who gets caught up in a turf war of sorts. I didn’t have to go very far for research; we recently had a new rough sleeper outside our front door. Through an unfortunate set of circumstances, I ended […]

Is There Another Way To Create A Heroine?


They’re known as WIP films, and have been around as long as cinema. I suppose my favourite Women In Peril films would include ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, ‘Link’, ‘Wait Until Dark’, ‘The Hidden Face’, ‘Suspiria’, ‘Julia’s Eyes’, ‘Panic Room’, ‘The Hidden Face’ and ‘Penumbra’, but there are many others. One could even describe ‘Aliens’ as a WIP […]

Backstories To The Bryant & May Books No.1

Water Room pb

This is the start of a short series of backstories to the Bryant & May novels, explaining how I came to write them. Full Dark House My father was a scientist who worked in an experimental wartime communications unit. He and his colleagues were very young, and – it turns out – were working towards […]

Ideals On Wheels: Why Mobile Libraries Need Your Help


There’s a vague feeling in the UK that libraries have had their day, that Oxfam and Kindle have jointly conspired to eliminate the need for borrowing books. It suits our present government to believe that private enterprise has proven effective and can reduce state spending, but if you reduce the visibility of books, you remove […]

Where Have All The Heist Films Gone?


There’s nothing like a good robbery, so long as you’re only watching it. From the silent era onwards we’ve loved watching the fallout from a caper. A proper heist movie has to pull off a complex trick. It needs to make you care about the game-players, keep the stakes high and provide a satisfying outcome, […]

London Bridges Are Going Up


There’s a new free exhibition devoted to London’s bridges at the Museum of London Docklands. Here’s what I’ve learned. For 1,700 years there was only one bridge over the Thames, roughly where London Bridge is today, virtually dating back to the birth of Christ (there was also a prehistoric one around Vauxhall, but no sign […]