Monthly Archives: June 2012

The New Infantilism

I’m in a smart restaurant. Two huge middle-aged men come in with their girlfriends. The men wear shiny tight clothes that make them look like huge toddlers. They appear to have been dipped in gold. They’re speaking Russian. The girls are maybe nineteen, leggy, catwalk-arrogant, dressed somewhere between schoolgirl and call girl, as bare as […]

Neglected Films No.3: ‘The Happiest Days Of Your Life’

If there was an award for the most charming film ever made, this would be high on the list; it was produced in 1950 but looks and feels as if it had been concocted in 1925. A perky new teacher arrives at Nutbourne College, to be shown around by a sarcastic, cynical Richard Wattis, who […]

How Edgy Is Your Neighbourhood?

Estate agents are forever looking for the next run-down area that can be gentrified, but certain spots defy what used to be called ‘Yuppification’, particularly in London, where post-war housing estates created no-go areas of criminality. For years I lived in Kentish Town, a slightly down-at-heel spot inhabited by council tenants, nurses, writers, artists and […]

A City Of Darkness Part 2

A new online store of rare photographs shows London between the wars from the air, its Victorian buildings of white Portland stone blackened by sooty smoke. Perhaps that wasn’t something Dickens had in mind when he wrote about London, but there’s truth in it; the city has a side that’s disreputable and rebellious, so of […]

A City Of Darkness Part 1

I’m away from London at the moment, and darting across scorching streets from shadow to shadow, avoiding the blazing continental sunlight. All around me, people are doing what Londoners only dream about – rollerblading, dancing, lounging about in bright light. The guarantee of outdoor light encourages group activities. It’s the light you notice most of […]

How Much Is A Hill Worth?

Those pesky Tories – they get back in and immediately get up to their old tricks. The UK’s mountains, lakes, rivers and beaches are to be given an economic value under plans by George Osborne to audit the entire nation, including its landscape. He has ordered Britain’s natural features to be valued by economists and […]

How Marvel Got It Right

The next set of Marvel movies has been announced, and they’re clearly on a roll. The makers are staying with their B team – there are no signs of the Fantastic Four after two attempts to jump-start them, despite the fact that they once led the Marvel comics pack. Most of the other lycra-lookalikes in […]

Spamglish

Here’s a tip: If you’re going to spam someone in English, try to make it look vaguely like you use English as a first or even second language. I just received this: ‘An impressive sharings, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing a little bit evaluation on this. And he actually purchased […]

A Brief Respite from Sideways Rain

Admin is cold, damp, chesty and fed up, lacking oomph and zip. His get up and go has gone. Lacking Vitamin D, heat and light in what must be the wettest, windiest, most miserable of miserable summers global warming has yet visited on his home city, he has gone here for a few days, to […]

Neglected Films No.2: ‘Harold & Maude’

Believe it or not, there was a time when people associated with the film industry could simply phone stars up and chat. Knowing that my business partner loved Hal Ashby’s dark romantic satire ‘Harold & Maude’, I rang the Atheneum Hotel, where the industry used to put all of its stars, and spoke to Bud […]