We Need A Collective Noun For Film Critics

Victoria

‘An exit of film critics’? ‘A pretence of film critics’? ‘A sneer of film critics’? Judging by the latest poll of the best 100 films of the 21st century according to 177 film critics it should probably be ‘a wankfest of film critics’. Film polls are notoriously subjective, of course, but dear God in Heaven, […]

When London Went To The Dogs

steptoefilm2

It looks like London’s last greyhound stadium will be going soon. Dog racing, which proved hugely popular from the late 1920s to the 1940s, is in terminal decline, especial after a scandal in 2006 revealing that old greyhounds were being put down after becoming too old to race. Tracks in Catford, Wembley, West Ham, Clapton and […]

So You’re Going To Write A Book…

Dinner talk

No wonder they describe plays as having ‘a run’; actors often compare performing eight shows a week to training for a marathon; they exercise, diet, stop socialising and commit themselves to continual practice. Writers do it as well. A book you care about writing consumes you. It’s the job you bring home from work and […]

Trousers Down For The Last Time

Rix

Husky-voiced Brian Rix has died at 95. The master of farce was one of Britain’s most successful actor-managers, For more than three decades his farces, acted out by some of the great names in British comedy, played to packed theatres and attracted millions of TV viewers. The birth of a daughter with Down’s syndrome saw him […]

Whimsy: The Marmite Film Genre

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There’s a certain type of Marmite movie I sneakingly love. It would have been the kind of movie I hated at 18, when I just wanted to watch cars explode and heads get cut off. It’s the whimsical movie, best exemplified by ‘Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amelie Poulin’, or as it was called in the US, […]

A Message To Millennials

Multiethnic Group of People Social Networking at Cafe

According to a series of major US surveys, teens are increasingly swearing off alcohol, cigarettes, dope and prescription painkillers. Millennials are taking their cues from their Baby Boomer folks, those born between 1946 and 1964 who are veterans of the sexual and psychedelic revolutions of the 1960s and 70s. Apparently this is to do with the new […]

Why Does Wealth Work Against Creativity?

Gracia 2016

Latvia is not a rich country. When the city of Riga needed to move its books from the old library to the new one, on the other side of its central river, the Daugava, it came up with a novel idea. The city’s residents formed a human chain over the bridge from one library to […]

How To Be A Student Again

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We’ve all embarked on renovations that take a tad longer than we expected, right? This year we embarked on our flat’s first refurb in 15 years. The only snag – although we moved out at the end of April, it will take until Christmas, or very nearly, to complete, and I’d packed what I thought I […]

You Can’t Say ‘Clever’ Anymore. It’s Elitist.

SWTFA

A short while ago I expressed admiration for someone I thought was clever, and a girlfriend of mine told me off for being ‘elitist’. Here’s my thinking on that. The UK’s low-rent Channel 4, which is government subsidised (outrageously, it still pays no tax) is currently running a dating show in which people decide who […]

A Little Summer Reading

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It’s a beautiful sunny day in August, just before London turns overbaked and blowsy in the protracted death of summer. I’ve been wandering in Regent’s Park, and am now sitting in a chest-high lavender field in King’s Cross, London, where armchairs have thoughtfully been provided for passers-by. I’m reading another book by Jim Shepard. I […]