Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Best Places To Set A Suspense Story

Before I embark on the next Bryant & May novel, I’m submitting the outline of a supernatural suspense thriller which would be the first in a proposed series. As a consequence, I’ve been researching un/usual places to set such a story and have drawn up a shortlist of a few favourites. In no particular order, […]

London Trivia No.2: Corner Pubs

Why are London pubs so often situated on corners? Landowners controlled large pieces of land and worked with developers through the leasehold system. The landowners let plots out to the developers, who paid for the construction of long terraces, and the developers borrowed to pay construction costs. The pubs, therefore, were built first in order […]

Comedy Without Class

My obsession with Norman Wisdom began as a small child. Every adult found him deeply annoying, but I thought he was hilarious. It helped that he looked like my father, I suppose, and was the same height. Then I realised that for all its love of complex wordplay, the British seem to love a slapstick […]

Peter Parker Killed Off?

Or just an attention-seeking plot line? Spiderman’s alter-ego has been wiped out in the 700th issue of ‘Spider Man’, knocked off at the hands of Dr Octopus. But experts say he’ll be back; DC Comics revived Superman less than a year after his “death” and the Flash eventually came back two decades after his demise. […]

Re:View – ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

You can see why Kathryn Bigelow was attracted to the story of the hunt for Osama bin Laden; a tough lone female, plenty of firepower, a woman doing a man’s job – it’s not such a jump from ‘The Hurt Locker’ or indeed ‘Blue Steel’. At a Black Site in the Middle East (or Asia […]

London Trivia No. 1: The Origin Of The Bowler Hat

It’s part of a fantasy London of umbrellas and cockneys, but I have only ever seen a handful of people wearing these, usually ironically. The idea of showing England as a country of bowler-hatted bankers is as absurdly anachronistic as imagining Americans riding through towns on horses – but the image persists. Why? Well, it […]

The Puppet Master Has His Strings Cut

  Farewell, then, to Gerry Anderson, the hero of any boy born after the war. The creator of Supercar, Fireball XL5 (1962), Stingray (1964), Thunderbirds (1965), Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967) and Joe 90 changed puppetry from Muffin The Mule-type shows to something any kid with an interest in Eagle cutaways could get their teeth into. […]

When Fantasies Get Confused

…this is what you get. Something that not only frightens the children but also makes them feel guilty until they’re forty. I thought it was only Smaug who hid inside huge piles of gold in his impregnable fortress? Whatever you believe is fine with me, so long as you don’t insist on everyone else believing […]

No Slacking Here

Just a few more posts before the end of the year, with next year shaping up as a bumper one. ‘Invisible Ink: How 100 Great Authors Disappeared’ is in bookshops right now from Strange Attractor Press, ‘and The Casebook of Bryant & May is now ordering in its beautiful hardback limited edition from PS Publishing here. […]

New Uses For Old Buildings

Manzi’s Pie & Eel shop on Chapel Street Market in Islington seems to have been left behind from a monochrome period in London’s past. The pies and mash and eels and liquor – a frighteningly green liquid poured over the pies – still appear on the counters every day, but as the working class nature […]