Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Humbug Antidote

My neighbour Simon Callow is currently appearing in ‘A Christmas Carol’, which is quite alarming as I see him heading off to the theatre in the evenings in character. So it’s hardly surprising that I’ve been feeling a bit Scrooge-ish about Christmas in London this year, which was the reason for heading to the Czech […]

Tinkering With The Plot

Do writers ever truly finish anything? That’s what I wondered as I set about the 14th rewrite of what used to be my play ‘Celebrity’ and is transforming into something called ‘Falling Stars’. I’ve delivered four versions of my section of the movie ‘Bloody London’, of which the director Tom Shankland likes the latest and […]

Books With A Lot In Them

My mother had a habit of using dried fishbones as bookmarks when she was desperate. Readers leave all sorts of things inside their books, not just inscriptions. Now ‘The Secret History of Second-Hand Books: an Exhibition’ is running at Foyles Bookshop on Charing Cross Road until Thursday 13 December. Some of the things found inside the […]

Something Bohemian For The Weekend

Today I’m on my way to Bohemia, or the Czech Republic as it’s now called, to Prague for the Christmas market. Prague is the sixth most visited city in Europe, with its old town protected as a World Heritage site, and has ten major museums, as well as a massive number of art galleries, theatres, […]

Invisible Ink Is Visible Today!

The good news is that ‘Invisible Ink: How 100 Great Authors Disappeared’ is arriving in time to fill the Christmas stocking of a hated elderly relative, as the official publication date is December 6th, and it’s up on Amazon here – the ‘Temporarily out of stock’ label is there because it’s not physically in until next […]

Goodbye, Desperate Dan

No more cow pies, no more bending a lamp-post to light a pipe… Well, that’s not strictly true, but Desperate Dan will never be quite the same again. After 75 years serving as Britain’s longest-running children’s comic, The Dandy has faced a harsh economic truth and realised that its sales will never reach the heady […]

Re:View – ‘Les Miserables – The Movie’

Last night Hugh Jackman invited me back for pancakes. Well, to be fair, he invited all of us in the auditorium. But Anne Hathaway said she’d come along too.And Russell Crowe was going to play the piano. That’s the way it is with movie stars, they’re all charisma and making you feel you’re part of […]

London: City of Dank

The new building in my street has already turned green. Moss covers the stonework, and hardy, invasive Buddleia bushes are once more sprouting from drain-fed brickwork. There’s no getting away from it; apart from a few bright spring days and a few corresponding crisp ones in the autumn, London is dank. The morning mists rise, […]

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Here they come, ready to spend in Westfield and Primark – the shoppers of Christmas, flooding Oxford Street, stuffing Covent Garden’s tiny tube station to breaking point, filling the pubs and restaurants so that it’s not possible to get a booking until 2013. And don’t even think about tickets for the big shows until next […]

The Film That Never Was

In my upcoming memoir ‘Film Freak’ I talk about the power of B-movies, and two of my favourites have always been ‘The Abominable Dr Phibes’ and ‘Dr Phibes Rises Again’. But there was meant to be a third. According to my pal Graham Humphries, the cult movie poster artist, here’s the synopsis. 1971: The Bride […]