Monthly Archives: August 2012

Not Very English

Punch a hole through my bowler hat. Break my umbrella in half. Cut up my Oyster card. I’ve just discovered that I’m not good enough to be an English citizen. Me, the writer of ‘Deep English’ novels – oh, the indignity! In an idle moment last night (I know, I could have watched TV but […]

The Preposterousness of Crime

I haven’t read any Jo Nesbo – it’s certainly not that I don’t want to, I just haven’t had time lately – but I think that on the basis of the film ‘Headhunters’ I’d like him, because ‘Headhunters’ is like a fun version of ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’. I felt Stieg Larsson’s trilogy […]

Looking For The Funniest English Book Ever Written Part 1

Setting aside the aforementioned PG Wodehouse, who really deserves his own special shelf, I spent an idle moment searching my bookcases for the single volume I found the funniest. In this I was purely considering its comedy value, not social comment. I came up with this batch. Obviously ‘Vile Bodies’ by Evelyn Waugh is a […]

The Future Is Knidle

I remember seeing ‘Thunderball’ for the first time and thinking, ‘Oh My God, the jet pack is finally here!’ In those days, Cubby Broccoli’s 007 movies only showcased stunts and devices that actually existed, which was why they were so thrilling. By the time Bond was riding tidal waves and driving through ice palaces it […]

What’s In The Mix?

Oz mash-up genius does it again with ‘Lead Breakfast’, mixed from – wait for it – dialogue samples of Pulp Fiction overlaid on ‘Who Will Buy’ from Oliver! played backwards – obviously. The man is a genius. Over and out.

A Must-Have London Book

In 1948 Peter Jackson sketched London oddities for the Evening News, which was then a broadsheet (as was the Evening Standard). His collected works were published in two volumes, ‘London Explorer’ and ‘London Is Stranger Than Fiction’. These volumes are filled with forgotten bits about the city, including where you could see a sedan chair […]

Story Tricks No. 3: Beauty From The Bad

As a writer who regularly crosses genres, I find this tip holds true in everything from satire to science fiction, but it’s especially true of crime and horror. Every week crime books pile up on my doorstep about mutilated corpses, alcoholic coppers, crazed serial killers and nightmarish environments. Among the darkest as the school of […]

Re:View – ‘Carancho’

It’s no secret that over the last five years I’ve stopped believing in Hollywood movies. It’s as if they have nothing at all to do with me. They fail to reflect anything in my life, or in the lives of anyone I know. I can’t believe Jennifer Aniston has trouble dating. I can’t believe anyone […]

The Wonder Of Wodehouse

If a book can make you snort coffee out of your nose in Starbucks, I’d say it was a pretty funny one. Starbucks coffee is quite horrible, and the thought of it coursing down your nasal passages is a less than pleasant prospect. But if I had to pick the funniest writer in the world, […]

How Close Are We Now To 1984?

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel, Winston Smith existed in a living hell and was was retrained by the state when he failed to conform. ‘1984’ was the book I studied for my ‘O’ Level English exam, so I thought I’d run a quick check on it to see what’s come to pass. In Smith’s world […]