Monthly Archives: January 2014

Film Quiz No.3

This is from a wonderfully strange Italian film which seems to have completely vanished, despite getting full theatrical release worldwide. Could somebody please release it? Here’s the question: Q: The film is about a statue of an animal sitting on its hind legs – which animal?

The Most Haunted House In London

No. 50 Berkeley Square first came to public attention in Notes & Queries November 1872 when someone asked about the rumours surrounding it. Lord Lyttelton confirmed that it was indeed haunted,  and now unoccupied, but refused to go into details. But the stories about the ‘strange horrors of No.50’ did not go away. By 1880 […]

Catching Movies When You’re Sick

Well, that was fun: On Thursday I went to see my local GP. On Friday I saw a specialist and he diagnosed a double hernia. On Saturday I had the operation for both. On Sunday I went to lunch with friends. And next week I’m due to go down a bob-sled run in Latvia with the […]

Reading Is Not What You Comprehend

  One of the main pleasures of watching a show like, say, The Simpsons has always been getting all of the post-modern ironic jokes, from the film parodies to more subtle critiques on American consumerism, like Homer passing a bookstore called ‘King & Koontz’, but I have friends who hate and fail to get the […]

Reading Is What You Remember

  I’m one of those people who can can pretty much point to any country on a map, and tell you the names of everyone in the cast of ‘It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’. I remember what I choose to remember, and much of it gets stored away for research. Equally, like Arthur Bryant, […]

My Bookshop Hitlist No.2: Watermark Books

The revamped King’s Cross Station would be an alien sight to its original builders; a vast matrix of shining white steel tubes forms a mesh over the original fabric of the once dingy and sooty terminus. At night the dome is lit in different colours, and beneath this is the porter-trolley sticking out of the […]

Re:View – ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’

Ironically, what may ultimately kill Martin Scorsese’s best film in years is bad timing; is the world ready for a movie in which the excessive lifestyle of a criminal banker is regarded with grudging admiration? Leonardo DiCaprio has already been forced into a position of defence after preview audiences took the nearly three-hour fable at face […]

Quotes From My Non-Bryant & May Books No.1

  (In the opening chapter of my first novel, a boy falls from the Coca-Cola sign in Piccadilly Circus) For a moment, his form was imprinted in the flickering neon strips that made up the vast sign. Then, silhouetted against the bursting light, his body pulled away from the wall as the tubes exploded and […]

My Bookshop Hitlist No.1: Bookpeople

The building aint’t pretty, but it’s what’s inside that counts. You can love a bookshop without ever having gone there, because friends you like and trust know and recommend it, so today a big shout-out goes to Bookpeople in Austin, Texas. Look at the crowd it gets for events, dammit – sometimes we’re lucky to […]

2014: Start As You Mean To Go On

  You reach an age where the click of the calendar to another year is viewed with a certain ennui and the thought, My God, here we go again. And yet it’s hard not to be excited. This year I’ll be doing some travelling (Latvia in two weeks time, then Vietnam) and ‘The Bleeding Heart’ […]