Monthly Archives: September 2012

It’s a Church, Not A Nightclub

Anyone who knows me well will tell you I’m not remotely religious – what you believe is entirely up to you so long as you don’t try to sell it to others – but I regard the churches of London as among its greatest treasures. And one of the pleasures of visiting a new city […]

Re:View – ‘Looper’

Hooray for Hollywood – at least in Autumn, when the movies with actual plots and characters appear, and hooray for Rian Johnson’s smart time travel movie starring a prosthetically creepy Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt. Set in two futuristic time frames, one thirty years ahead of the other, this involves victims sent back […]

Advice From The Duchess of Death

Another republished portmanteau novel by the Detective Club has fallen into my possession after ‘The Floating Admiral’. This one features Dorothy L Sayers and the wonderful Gladys Mitchell, but a particular point of interest has been the essay in the foreword by Agatha Christie, from which I quote here; ‘What kind of people read detective […]

Hammer Strikes Back

After years of disastrous mismanagement, Hammer is rising again under the auspices of Simon Oakes, who seems to genuinely understand how to restore the brand. You may be aware of their success with The Woman In Black, Let Me In and Wake Wood, but they are also branching into other areas in recognition of the […]

The Fascination With The Victorians

This autumn one of the biggest Pre-Raphaelite exhibitions ever seen is being assembled at Tate Britain before heading to Washington and Tokyo. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it all before, but I’ll still go. Why does this era continue to fascinate? First, for many of us it’s tangibly only just out of reach. My grandmother […]

Being A Professional Writer No.1: First Impressions

I thought I’d start an occasional column on this particular career choice, as there are some things I’m always asked or told. Here’s something to bear in mind; your first splash sticks to you forever. I’ll go to my grave being described as ‘the author of ‘Roofworld’. In fact, it was the fourth book I […]

Goodbye, Time Out

After years of falling sales amidst online competition, London’s first and best city guide, Time Out, finally switched to being a printed freesheet this week. The original Time Out magazine, with all kinds of listings for London including protests under ‘Agitprop’, was first published in 1968 by Tony Elliott, and had a print run of […]

Getting Around The City

Mayor Ken Livingstone was the first to realise that London is primarily a walking/ public transport city, and attempted to rebalance cars and public transport according to the ratios in which they were being used in different boroughs (finding that in Brixton, say, that 90% of the traffic was passing through to another area) but […]

New Podcast Interview Here

I was recently interviewed by Tim Haigh at home, talking about the origins of Bryant & May here…

In Which I Discover I Am Not Mediterranean

Back in London, having missed the ‘month’s rain in a day’ climate change event that killed a New Zealand tourist in Kew Gardens (the rain washed down a branch) I’ve gone straight into jumper-and-jeans mode after the 30 degrees-on-beach afternoon I spent in Barcelona yesterday, and have reluctantly realised that I will never be a […]