Inside Writing 2: Why You Need To Know What You’ve Written

The steps between thoughts must be cut shallow. I was once in California and made the mistake of walking across a part of the beach surfers considered to be theirs. They threw rocks at me until I retreated cut and bruised. I had never really encountered aggressively stupid people before and it came as a […]

Inside Writing 1: The Things That Did Not Happen

This is the first of a new series that I hope will explore the actual experience of writing, from the first word to publication. So, What Do You Do Apart From Just Writing Books? I love that question. I get asked it a lot. Some people are surprised that what they consider a hobby can […]

War Of The Worlds In The Narrator’s Own Words

Looking at my research notes on ‘War Of The Worlds’ I found that if you take the key dialogue lines from the narrator in H G Wells’ story you get an interesting synopsis of the main events – what comes through is the extraordinary clarity of the storytelling. Phillip Pullman’s excellent book of essays on […]

What Happened To War Of The Worlds?

War of the worlds Click on the above and you’ll find me banging on about this project. When it comes to science fiction my first question is always; Why aren’t there filmed TV versions of books by Ray Bradbury, Christopher Priest, Arthur C Clarke and at least twenty other superb SF authors? Why are the only […]

Gomorrah Never Dies

…But just about everyone in it does. You probably already know the backstory to ‘Gomorrah’, the fictional TV adaptation of Roberto Saviano’s 2006 real-life exposé of the Camorra, the Neapolitan crime syndicate, and how the writer has to live with bodyguards these days. It was turned into a hit gangster series and became the first Italian […]

London’s New Home

Well it looks like the planning application for the new Museum of London, which is meant to occupy the site of the old Poultry Hall at Smithfields, has only just been submitted this month, which pushes back the start date and significantly, the opening date for the museum. As the new home of the London […]

My Best Picture Prediction

In a way all awards ceremonies are the same from the Annual Meat Supplier of the Year to the British and American Academy Awards (although the latter always had a certain arrogance – for years the media wasn’t allowed to refer to them as ‘The Oscars’). They’re not about rewarding excellence but being seen to […]

The Way We Speak

Today’s oddity thrown up by my current research involves the native tongue. English speakers rarely notice the rules hidden inside their speech. For example, when we describe something to others, we use a pre-ordained system known as the Royal Order of adjectives. This dictates that certain words must precede others. They usually fit in the […]

What A Cracker!

In 1969, John Julius Norwich, the popular historian, gathered together the favourite snippets he’d come across in the last 365 days and turned it into a Christmas greeting, a short charming pamphlet filled with oddities and felicities. Initially just a treat for his friends, his Christmas Crackers rapidly turned into a huge word-of-mouth success. When […]

Robert Zemeckis: The Stranger The Better

These are  certain left-field mid-budget movies which are slightly too clever to ever reach wider audiences. I suspect that in years to come ‘Jojo Rabbit’ will live on in this ‘Brilliant Singular Vision’ category. It’s often possible to find terrific scenes in the most wrong-headed films. I worked on the ghastly ‘Howard The Duck’, which […]