Monthly Archives: July 2014

How The Musicals Gene Helps Creativity

It’s a weird thing, the musicals gene, it feels unmanly, camp, cheesy – and while it can be truly horrible (I’m no fan of Andrew Lloyd-Webber) there’s something else behind it that no writer should dismiss. As a recent fringe production of the old warhorse ‘Carousel’ proved, there’s grit and truth buried in the best. […]

Yet More Bad Boris

  This just in: ‘Boris Johnson’s office said that since he was elected, the number of Londoners living in areas exceeding legal limits had halved.’ It doesn’t say whether this is because he’s killed them or they’ve had to move to cleaner areas. The row is over new figures just out pointing to Oxford Street as […]

Bryant & May Location No.3

This is St George’s Gardens in Bloomsbury, the little neighbourhood spot in ‘Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart’ where Romain Curtis sits with his girlfriend Shirone and tells her about the stars above them, before they witness the strange event that sets in motion the story’s murder plot. It has a surprisingly gruesome history, […]

Where Have All The Horror Films Gone?

Where as the horror film gone? A few years ago I took part in a panel on the subject at the height of the ‘torture-porn’ cycle of movies. Someone else on the panel regarded films like Inside and Martyrs as transgressive representations of the future of horror, while I saw them as a step backwards […]

What Makes Appealing Writing?

A question: Do you want to try and get rich or do you want to be satisfied? Surprisingly, there are many writers who still believe that this is even a viable choice. Nobody who’s creative can ‘decide’ to get rich. Many writers who set out with supposedly killer hooks for their books quickly come a […]

Did You See What I Saw?

  Music venues are a blessing and a curse – they give you the chance to see dream-teams of bands and performers you’d never be able to see anywhere else, but they can also be cattle-runs where you see virtually nothing from expensive terrible seats. From a strictly viewing point of view, the worst experiences […]

London: A Load Of Rubbish

  I live on a rubbish dump. My neighbourhood has been a lot of things in its 2,000-year history, from a battleground to a sacrificial site to a spa with pleasure gardens to a rubbish heap. The caption for this painting reads: ‘View of the Great Dustheap, Kings’s Cross, Battle Bridge, 1837, from the Maiden […]

Re:View – ‘Monty Python: One Down, Five To Go’

The first-night audience at London’s vast 02 last night clearly knew what to expect; the audience was full of Spanish inquisitors and Gumbys. And that, pretty much, was what they got – a greatest hits package that felt like a rather tired reprise of the Hollywood Bowl show back in the 1980s. Python is the […]

What Made This The Most Successful Show Of All Time?

Writers are fascinated by good stories, and are forever trying to analyse their structure to understand why lightning strikes, but perhaps the answer is simpler than we realise. I resisted watching ‘Breaking Bad’ for a long time because the subject matter didn’t seem that appealing (terminal cancer patient starts drug dealing), and had to be […]