Monthly Archives: August 2014

Goodbye To The Lad From Wagga-Wagga

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BILL KERR: ‘What does he mean, we’re falling to bits?’ TONY Hancock: ‘Oh dear, look what you’ve done, you’ve set him off now. He’ll be holding his breath and looking in the mirror every five minutes waiting for something to drop off. (Shouts) It’s alright, Bill, you’re ticking away like a mad thing. You’ve got […]

London Corners: Hackney Empire

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Empires rise and fall, none mores than the music hall empires of old. The Hackney Empire was raised at the very start of the 20th century, a techno-marvel with central heating and electric lights. Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel and Marie Lloyd (a local girl) all appeared there, followed by Louis Armstrong, Tony Hancock, and Liberace. […]

The Author As Traveller

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One thing writers need constantly is fresh inspiration, otherwise we end up writing about writers writing. I travel whenever I can, which is to say, when there’s time and money. Living next door to an international railway station (sorry, I can’t bring myself to use ‘train station’) means that I can get anywhere in Europe […]

Britain In Half-Light

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Last year I wrote this about films like ‘Fish Tank’ and ‘The Selfish Giant’, and the cliches of British neo-realism. ‘Usually there are long-held shots in silent fields at half-light. Here the Midlands landscape is harsh and as alien as Mars, but the families are always the same – broken, illiterate, incontinent with  children, angry […]

The Woad To London

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The old name for King’s Cross, where I live, is Battle Bridge, and this weekend it will be subjected to Roman invasion all over again to celebrate the legend of Boadicea (I’m sticking to the old spelling – it changes every decade). She supposedly fought her last battle with the Romans there. Typically, she was […]

B&M / Q&A

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Don’t believe that publishers spend their time waiting for authors to deliver. Much of our lives are spent waiting for publishers to decide. While I’m in a holding pattern over the fate of Bryant & May, and a number of other works, here’s a Q&A I did recently about writing. ‘The Bleeding Heart is the […]

Is The Fringe Killing Itself?

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  In the view of our current arts-hating present government, theatre is something that must pay its own way and turn a profit by putting on populist shows for punters. That’s fine for the West End, I suppose (it wasn’t once, but let’s not dwell). And London has – or at least, had – an […]

Five Great London Blogs

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I don’t know how Diamond Geezer does it, but somehow he manages to blog a substantial article every day at a pace which would make most press journalists blanche, and he covers an extraordinary range of London subjects, all explored with his mix of curiosity, annoyance and charm. One of the funniest pieces he’s written […]

Want To Hear Something Dark?

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Then come on ‘Down’ to Podcastle.org, the US audio website where you’ll hear one of my creepier stories for free, rated R, hosted by Dave Thompson. It’s always interesting to hear what other people do with my stories, so here’s Paul Jenkins reading a tale of a journey down into the London Underground… Honor Oak […]

Re:View – ‘Calvary’

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It took me a while to get to John Michael McDonagh’s second film because it vanished from my local cinema after a week, but having enjoyed ‘The Guard’ (and his brother’s ‘In Bruges’) I eventually arrived at it on video, where I hope it will find a large audience. The reviews (particularly among those who […]