No Tide? No Problem!

wake_canals_3074612a

A lot of Londoners forget that we live on a network of canals (not me; my flat is surrounded by them) but it’s nice to be reminded by this, which comes via the lovely Londonist and YouTube – it was produced by, ahem, a ‘well-known drinks company’. He’s clearly mad, although I’m assuming the stunts […]

Why Each Book Needs A Single Memorable Moment

7491700

I have a friend who wants to be a writer. He tells me he’s about to start ‘a huge series of books, which will be better when they film it as a series’. He still hasn’t started a single one after ten years, despite being obsessed by the idea of quantity. The author Magnus Mills […]

World Food: The Good & The Bad

ninoviejobarcelonaportrait5

There can hardly have been two more contrasting articles about restaurants this week. As London venues continue to open at lightning speed this autumn, food critic Jay Rayner laid into the awful-sounding ‘Beast’ with a breadknife. The Russian-owned restaurant has opened in London’s West End with a bizarre concept. It just sells steak and Alaskan […]

Ebola: This Is How We Always React

140807-ebola-spain-7a_467e254a065a484d2c28f83b36a56d08

It’s a criterion of growing older, that we start to think these are the end of times. For my grandparents, the war removed innocence and decency. For my parents the Cold War and the arrival of nuclear power heralded Armageddon. For us the loss of identity, the rise of fundamentalism, climate change and roller-coaster economics […]

12 Ways To Tell You’re In A Latin Country

Kiss

Heading back for rainswept Britain after a week working abroad on ideas for a new thriller, I can’t help noticing cultural differences . Latins do things their way. Some observations; 1. After stealing your phone they use the sim card to call premium-rate numbers repeatedly until the phone is blocked. This is because they really, really like […]

Pogo Bounces Back

images

This column likes to keep up with what Aussie mixmaster Pogo is doing – he’s the guy who takes old Disney films and other footage, shreds them and reforms them into sampled tracks. Lately he’s been off training music and film students in Manila, leaving behind a few too many imitators. I rather went off […]

Visit London, But Avoid This Trap

Mousetrap play at 60

The play is set in a fantasy world of mock-tudor wood-paneling, an England that I’ve never seen. Each of the eight actors in it have to sign up for a minimum of 47 weeks. One says that during quiet performances you can hear the play creak. That’s hardly surprising; ‘The Mousetrap’ opened in the West End […]

Where The Ghosts Live

Tim Haig

Tim Haigh’s excellent site www.bookspodcast.co.uk runs interviews with authors about their work, and there are some gems to explore here. I’ve done a number of these with Tim and particularly enjoy them because he knows his stuff and loves genre writing, which makes an interview so much more enjoyable than those with presenters who have […]

The Reichenbach Falls Moment

The Death of Sherlock Holmes

At the peak of his popularity, Sean Connery walked away from James Bond, and failed to make the best film in the series to date, ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. Instead, the producers opted for ‘Big Fry Man’ George Lazenby, whose personality proved so unpleasant that Diana Rigg ate garlic before having to kiss him. […]

It’s Time We Let Americans Teach Us Politeness

politeness

Over the last few years it’s been hard not to notice a distinct cooling of Britain’s perceived ‘special relationship’ with America. With different parties in power and discomfort over war policies, the gentle ribbing that always existed between the two birth-cousins has taken a sharper new edge; in the press and popular culture Britain and […]