London Corners – Keystone Crescent


There are hundreds of books about London, many of them repetitive regurgitations of factoids, but of course there are many gems, including ‘Tired of London, Tired of Life: One Thing A Day To Do In London’ by the excellent Tom Jones, expanded from his hardworking website. (He has also pulled off the same trick for […]

Overlooked Movies – No.1


Why did a movie that should have been a sure-fire box office success bomb so badly? ‘Joe Versus The Volcano’ tanked despite its star credentials, but why? It had the production support of Steven Spielberg and the starpower of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It had a great writer; John Patrick Shanley, who wrote ‘Moonstruck’ and […]

So UFOs Were Real – In A Sense


A bit of publicity for my friend Mark Pilkington, the publisher of the wonderful ‘Strange Attractor’ magazine (and also the first ‘Invisible Ink’ book) who has been involved in making a feature documentary. Here are the details of its first screening at the very odd and excellent Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury: MIRAGE MEN (2014) 90M HOW […]

Life, Love & The Pursuit Of Happiness


I’ve been researching for the final draft of the twelfth Bryant & May novel, and this question arose. Which countries work the longest hours? Does the amount you work relate to happiness? The South Koreans put in the most work-time, with a massive annual total of 2,193 hours, followed by Chile at 2,068. In Europe the […]

When Art Goes Wrong


The well-meaning graffiti artist Banksy has stayed true to his roots, leaving artworks all over the place, but primarily in London and New York. Of course, it didn’t taken the auction house leeches long to cotton on, and one daub left in North London became the subject of a court case in the US after […]

Stage Fright


Subsidised theatre has always been a Conservative target. Why, the argument a seems to run, should theatre be given money to ‘improve’ the middle classes who are the only people interested in it? The flipside of that mantra is that a healthy West End is good for the entire industry, and healthy local theatre feeds […]

History Should Never Be Dull


I’m a big believer in kids’ books like the Horrible Histories series, which give children the history bug at an early age. My school history teacher was a man of such tedious, plodding tones that it’s a miracle we managed to stay awake, let alone learn anything. It wasn’t until I discovered Christopher Hibbert in […]

We’re All Going On A…


The double-decker bus is inextricably linked with that song in my head, probably because at the age of seven I queued up to see Cliff Richard in ‘Summer Holiday’, and when director Peter Yates turned his monochrome footage to colour with the approach of the bus, we felt as if Britain had just driven out […]

Bryant & May On The Beat


Now you see, if I’d been French this little story wouldn’t be here – they’ve just passed a law in France banning all work calls after office hours. But as I don’t have an office and work at the weekends, I wrote this taster for a book that will feature the many forgotten cases of […]

London’s Most Sinister Street


When I lived in Eze-Sur-Mer on the Cote D’Azur, there was a beautiful old 1920s hotel near me on Pointe De Cabuel (you can see it here from above on Google Maps) that had been bought by a Russian oligarch as a private residence. As it was forced to remain as a hotel, the owner […]