The Lockdown Diaries 14: The Rock & The Hard Place

When you go to hospital you fantasise that it will look like this. A cross between ‘2001’ and ‘Gattacca’. This was the view in my hospital at 9:00am today. A cross between an Alan Bennett play and Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’. It has no external windows (because of radiation). The suites have the unlikely names […]

This Is Not A Test: Questions About Crime Novels

While I cleared all of the second-rate crime novels from the shelves that I have hung onto for sentimental reasons, I was thinking about what crime novels could or should be. Here are a few questions I have about crime fiction in general. Crime accounts for over a third of all fiction published in the […]

The Lockdown Diaries 13: Priti Patel Wants Me To Die

Two days ago text messages suddenly poured in from privately-partnered medical companies who are ambulance-chasing unnecessary services. I started to get an inkling of just how far the government was selling the NHS down the river before the virus kicked in. These have been followed by a sudden flurry of government letters warning me about […]

The Lockdown Diaries 12: The Absence Of An Umbrella

Doctors and nurses have no time to mess about; you listen carefully, you obey and if complications ensue it’s probably because you haven’t followed their instructions properly. I found myself in this situation after discovering I had been given 10 ampoules of salt water and some rubber grommets I didn’t know what to do with. […]

Typical, Nothing But Repeats

Today I’m in and out of hospital so I wasn’t going to post, but nosing through the staggeringly long sidebar of past entries I’ve collected on this site I thought it would be fun to post a paragraph from the first few that I opened in a kind of bran tub of snippets. If you […]

London In The Tropics

The brutality of tropical life shocked the unprepared British I’m not sure I can sustain the image of a rainswept London for much longer in my fiction. It’s rapidly ceasing to exist. This year London has been hotter than Ibiza; nearly three months of blazing sun so far, crystal skies, birdsong and emerald fecundity. The […]

If There Was Ever A Time To Fall In Love With Books It’s Now

Readers wouldn’t dream of standing near each other. Lockdown began on March 23rd. It is now May 20th. We have learned a lot by staying at home and pressing the reset button. We can connect instead of avoiding each other and more focussed thinking can replace replace speed-skimming through our days. We’re reprioritising who is […]

The Lockdown Diaries 11: Chemo-Lad VS Fear

As the ultimate nerdy child who could end up in A&E after tripping off a kerb with a book in one hand, I sensed I would enjoy a lifetime peppered with doctors’ visits. The annual vaccines were a staple, of course; polio, dypyheria and others that left giant permanent scorch patterns on the upper arm. […]

12 Movies Even More Locked Down Than You

So you think you’re suffocating, need to get out of your home and get away? Others have it worse in the movies. Obviously ‘Saw’ and ‘The Evil Dead’ will make you feel positively liberated by comparison but there are plenty of other Lockdown movies to choose from, if you’d care to experience some schadenfreude. This […]

Hidden On The Top Shelf…

My parents owned a forbidden book. I could see it from where I sat in the little reading chair they had bought me for my seventh birthday. On the top shelf of the bookcase was a massive brick with a heavy-looking matt-black canvas cover. The title was printed in silver and was too small to […]