Baby Steps Toward Reality

Lockdown has left its mark on many of us. The famous Sunday Times verdict on JG Ballard was ‘He doesn’t care where he lives because he lives inside his head’. He invited his interviewers to conduct their sessions in the foyer of the Heathrow Hilton. A less conducive place for an intimate chat would be […]

London Did It First

Competition between cities is a funny thing. I remembered a terrible, pointless staged TV debate between two young men extolling the virtues of New York and London respectively. The New Yorker went into long intelligently reasoned argument, honed from years of being in debating societies, as to why New York was the ‘better’ city. The […]

How Not To Spend It

  This is the death-knell of the department store. (Above; the guest who did not tip) This is the year that turned into my own personal annus horribilis. But here’s something interesting: Our self-isolating future may bring an end to less fulfilling jobs. The service industry is the most obvious game changer. Over the last week […]

Going Home Is Just…Different: Part 2

A sort of posh bingo arcade Our Greenwich day out was not quite aimed at returning to my roots. Most of the houses I and my relatives knew have all been knocked down. Instead we head for the Old Royal Naval College, London’s former centre of maritime activity, because I have never seen its painted […]

Going Home Is Just…Different: Part 1

No longer a place of dirt and danger Today I returned to my birthplace, Greenwich in South-East London. For most off its life is was a cut-off corner of London, awkward to reach at a point where the river broadens and switchbacks to create two traditionally isolated peninsulars, one containing the leafy elegance of maritime Greenwich, […]

Bring On The Bodies

For some time now writer and editor Martin Edwards has been unearthing rarely seen crime gems from the British Library, and looking at the history of the British crime novel in volumes like ‘The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books’ and ‘The Golden Age of Murder’, the latter concerning the badly behaved author-members of […]

Sidelong Glances at the PCU Characters: Arthur Bryant

It began with my former creative partner, the other half of my brain; unreconstructed and shamelessly old-fashioned, usually right about everything, motto; ‘The world would be a better place if everyone did what I told them.’ And generally speaking it would have been. The physical embodiment of Arthur Bryant, whom no-one dares to call by […]

I’m Going Up The Dog

  The pubs are open in Old London Town for the moment, and they’re very quiet – a joy for the drinker, a nightmare for the publican. Workers simply aren’t returning to their offices, and that means the central London mental health support services, of which pubs must be the biggest, don’t have their custom. Yet […]

Why I Don’t Do Appendices

I only ever added an appendix to one Bryant & May novel – the very first one. I gave it up after that. I think I wanted to parody the entire practice but can’t quite remember now why I did it. Maybe I wanted it to prove useful for anyone wishing to locate that section […]

The Baztan Follies

Incredibly, the reviews for the trilogy are terrific. If Lockdown brought one good thing for me it was the return of really awful B movies. After scrolling through Netflix’s premium listings, all seemingly aimed at children, I dredged the dross at the bottom of their EPG. As a lover of Spanish cinema how could I […]