Here’s the first of a couple of columns about things that crossed my mind as I was wandering through Bloomsbury today, nearly getting hit by buses. They’re details you probably don’t know, and certainly didn’t need to know;
1. James Bond might be the Devil. In my upcoming memoir ‘Film Freak’ there’s a story about the creation of the poster for ‘You Only Live Twice’, which features 007 walking across the roof of a volcano in a tuxedo. If you look carefully you’ll see he has cloven hooves instead of shoes. This is because the artist was told that Bond scales a sheer wall in the script, and as he hadn’t seen the film he used his own imagination to work out how the superspy might manage such a feat.
2. Many surnames of my characters come from places rather than people, because they’re easier for me to remember. The Whitstable family in ‘Seventy Seven Clocks’ are so-called because my mother was living in that seaside town. I used the name ‘Endsleigh’ because there’s a building called Endsleigh Court in Tavistock Road, opposite the spot where terrorists blew up a London bus on 7/7.
3. On the very first printing of ‘Full Dark House’ the artist made a mistake and gave John May a pipe instead of Arthur Bryant. The cover was subsequently corrected but a few slipped out – if you’ve got one of those, they’re worth more. There’s also a mistake on the cover of ‘Bryant & May and the Invisible Code’ – can you spot it?
4. The inside cover of Soho Black could have got me arrested.When we did the shoot, we had the model standing on top of a telephone box waving a gun at passers-by in the middle of Whitechapel market. A policeman wandered past and asked if it was loaded. We said no, and he told us we might want to hurry it up in case somebody decided to shoot him back.
5. The two ‘odd books out’ in my work are ‘Sharper Knives’ and ‘Flesh Wounds’ because they both have illustrations. Several were done by Graham Humphries, who recently painted the astonishing ‘Hell Train’ cover, and John Bolton, the Batman artist. Two drawings were by the ‘V For Vendetta’ artist David Lloyd.
6. The story ‘Something For Your Monkey’ in ‘The Devil In Me’ contains the germ of my play ‘Celebrity’, which has finally become ‘Falling Stars’ and starts workshopping in October before a finished West End version appears. Many of my stories are tryouts for bigger things, and in them can be found the roots that grew into much larger projects. Buried among the stories is a sequel to ‘Spanky’ and a missing chapter from ‘Dracula’.