Monthly Archives: June 2013

Odes To London

It’s a rare pleasant morning in the City, so let’s have some London poetry, starting with this end of a poem by WH Auden on Londoners:   It belongs to them, to make it what they choose. For democracy means faith in the ordinary man and woman, in the decency of average human nature. Here […]

Another Photograph From Sleazy, Prostitute-Riddled King’s Cross

They’re there somewhere, the junkies and the whores, all hiding in the reeds waiting to waylay innocent tourists looking for Lie-chester Square. Although all I can see from here is water, fish, birds, and Wimbledon – they’re projecting the matches on a big screen and have even astroturfed the nearest square, where they’re serving cocktails […]

Re:View – ‘Charlie And The Chocolate Factory’

Too much chocolate can make you sick, and there’s too much of everything going on over at the Drury Lane Theatre. This is actually two shows in one, the first half having almost nothing to do with the second, and reveals the weakness at the heart of Roald Dahl’s beloved book. The 1971 movie covered […]

The London Cliches Live On

I live in a former red-light area. That’s it, there, on the left, in a photo taken by my neighbour a couple of days ago. Obviously it’s a close-up, so you can’t see all the drug addicts and prostitutes swarming all over the place. This is all anyone appears to know about King’s Cross, which […]

Day Jobs of the Detectives

When I gave Arthur Bryant a spare time job, I decided to make him a London tour guide. It seemed an appropriate hobby for a bobby. And over the decades, detectives have had all kinds of other jobs… Clayton Rawson started studying to be a magician when he was eight. Later he put his magic […]

Developing Your Reading Tastes

There’s so little free space in newspapers now available to literary criticism that we tend not to write about books we don’t personally get on with. Instead, we use that space to champion books that may not have come to the attention of readers. However, any writer who has also written criticism will tell you […]

Cliptastic 1: These Are A Few Of My Favourite Films

I’ve mentioned quite a few offbeat films lately (here and in ‘Film Freak’) but locating them at all is really hard – except on YouTube, where they can often be found, so if you’re willing to put up with poorer picture quality you can sometimes be rewarded with a full feature. Here’s the first in […]

A Dagger I See Before Me (I Wish!)

Admin does not usually get excited about the winning of awards, literary or otherwise. Many seem rather arbitrary,  a few – like the Oscars – are simply a joke, and most seem to be preceded by a speech from Jimmy Carr. As for lifetime achievements, they’re usually granted when you’re on your last legs. But […]

The Not-So-Secret Dreams Of The Hard Right

A lovely piece today about the Conservatives’ Awkward Squad parliamentary attempt to outflank Nigel Farrage’s UKIP manifesto with a wishlist of their own that would come into force if the present Prime Minister was replaced through incapacitation. The moves included banning the burka, privatising the BBC, bringing back smoking in private clubs, having a referendum […]

Richard Matheson, Master Of The Incredible

Richard Matheson, SF and fantasy writer, has died aged 87. In a career spanning more than 60 years, he wrote stories that smoothly translated from the page to both big and small screens. Several of his works were adapted into films, including 1953′s ‘Hell House’, 1956′s ‘The Shrinking Man’, 1958′s ‘A Stir of Echoes’ and 1978′s ‘What […]