The London Road That Never Existed

Broad Streete

There are imaginary London addresses scattered throughout literature, but there’s also a real street in London that never actually existed, in the sense that one minute it wasn’t there, then it was, and then it was gone again. Any clues? It was called Broad Streete, and it appeared on January the 8th in 1683 in […]

Now We Are Twelve: The Secret History Of Bryant & May

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When the first Bryant & May book was written as a stand-alone novel for the publishers Little, Brown it was turned down. To be fair to them, they had supported an author who seemed unable to settle into any style or genre, who threw all their attempts to pigeonhole or create a fanbase. They had […]

The Most Londony Film Ever

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Considering that walking around certain parts of London in the rain is the single most depressing thing you can do in the world apart from visiting Dover, it scrubs up well in photographs and on film (although my heart sinks whenever Hollywood shows the city as being some kind of quirky village; check out ‘Night […]

Polari Speech – Part Two

Cucumber-Banana-Tofu

This is the concluding part of my speech at the Southbank Centre last week. It has been shortened, but the most salient points are here. ‘In the opera ‘Hansel and Gretel’ there’s an orchestral scene that’s traditionally awkward to stage, when the children are lost in the woods and protected by angels. In a production […]

Polari Speech – Part One

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I rarely write from a gay perspective because I don’t feel that my sexuality has any claim over what I write, so the idea of being a ‘gay writer’ has always felt less applicable than ‘a writer who happens to be gay’, just as an actor’s choice of roles isn’t dependent on his or her […]

The Indoorsness Of London

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Many people coming to London from another country are surprised by a simple word they here all the time: ‘Indoors’. It seems to hold a host of meanings. ‘Outdoors’ is the bit you go through to get to Indoors (or as Dorothy Parker once said, ‘The bit between the taxi and the hotel’). London, between […]

How To Make Things Frightening

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Although I’ve written fewer of them in the last few years, I’ve always enjoyed a good supernatural story or film. In the last few years, the genre has become lost, without much of a way forward. Once it reflected simple fears of darkness and unknown lonely places, but subtlety is required to build the right […]

Dead Good Value!

VICTORIA VANISHES

See that cover? There’s only Bryant and no May on it. Want to know why? Read on. On the run-up to the arrival of ‘The Burning Man’ in hardback and ‘The Bleeding Heart’ in paperback, the wonderful folk at DeadGoodBooks are going to be discounting ‘The Victoria Vanishes’ and half a dozen other books for the […]

This Post Could Get Me Into Trouble

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To run a non-profit website you need content, and that sometimes means pulling shots from the internet. Many of the photos and all of the music I use are mine, but once in a while I get a polite note from someone who’s upset that I used their shot, asking me to remove it, which […]

What’s The Sound Of Summer?

Cornish Beach

Summer is just around the corner. What, you say you can’t feel it where you are? You have to use your imagination a bit and pretend there will once more come a time when you’re not wearing a puffa-jacket, but from where I’m sitting (overlooking a miserable grey London) it’s not so very far away, […]