The Great Game Reaches An End-Game

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When a group of deluded North Africans went on their Barcelona rampage, a friend of mine was working in her office nearby, and found herself trapped there. With no previous experience of such an event, she was profoundly shocked. Her reaction reminded me of the woman in the rubble of the Twin Towers beseeching; ‘Why […]

10 Fair-Play Murder Mystery Movies

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I love lists. Laying in bed, forming lists is a great game – a more male than female one, perhaps? (you tell me) but one I can’t resist. Realising that our cupboards hold an awful lot of movies I’ve not watched for a long time, I got to wondering about the best mysteries I’ve seen. […]

This Time The Role Of Author Is Played By Me

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When I wrote my memoir ‘Paperboy’ I wasn’t asked to read the book for the audiobook edition. Instead, a charming actor was employed to be me. One day he rang me at home to get an idea of my voice, but although he had a very nice Received Pronunciation tone he didn’t sound at all […]

Reader Poll: Collected Short Fiction

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Recently I tried to collect all of the stories that Shirley Jackson wrote. It’s impossible to do so without getting overlaps. As a collector I find this very annoying. The complete short stories of JG Ballard are available in two volumes, but the stories of Daphne de Maurier are all over the shop and set […]

Unwanted, Unloved & Impractical: Why The Garden Bridge Was Doomed

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It seemed a fairly uncontroversial project; a new pedestrian bridge across the Thames, heavily planted with trees and flowerbeds, but it came to symbolise the unequal spending in London compared to the rest of the country. Former mayor Boris Johnson’s plan to imitate the High Line in New York looked, like many of his ideas, […]

Too Early, Hywel…

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Once Hywel Bennett was in cinemas everywhere, nearly always playing offbeat characters, from the McCartney-scored ‘The Family Way’, in which he is unable to consummate his marriage to Hayley Mills, to the Boultings’ ‘Twisted Nerve’, in which he portrayed Martin, a psychopath menacing er, Hayley Mills again. He also turned up in the superb TV […]

London Book Round Up

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There’s been a marked slowdown in the publication of London books of late. Perhaps so much of the past has now been scrubbed away by new buildings that people aren’t interested in hearing about what once stood beneath tall glass boxes. Happily there are still pockets of fascination to be uncovered, and these books reflect […]

Two Worlds, One City

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As I’m about to start a new Bryant & May novel (for 2019!) I decided I needed to take an unjaded look at the city. The process is going to take a while, because I want to go beyond the obvious sights and sounds I’m used to. Behind the complaints about the properties flogged off […]

If you build flats next to a music venue, it’s not the flats that get closed down

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It’s traditional to for us all to bemoan the loss of Soho – indeed, that’s almost a part of its character (I last reported on its rebuilding here.) Incredibly, things have got worse. Last night I was shocked to see what has been allowed to happen to the old London quarter, my stamping ground for […]

Where In London Can You Buy…?

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…a stuffed owl?  in ‘Get Stuffed’ on Essex Road, Islington. …unlimited lattes, fresh fruits, yoghurt, croissants, a pain au raisin and a pan au chocolate, in smart surroundings, all for a fiver? In ‘The Hub’, King’s Cross. …a ship’s bell and an anchor? In Arthur Beale’s, of course. …cult novels in a floating bookshop while […]