Monthly Archives: November 2014

‘God Is In The Guts’

So said Yoshinori Ishii, the chef showing us the Ikejime method of killing a fish. He paralysed it with a sharp point to the brain, and severed its spine so that its body didn’t get traumatised – the difference is visible to the naked eye; the meat looks entirely different to that of most fish, […]

Finland Now Has It All

Finland just became the 12th European country to legalise gay marriage, so let’s celebrate with a song – and what else, really, could it be? If you’ve enjoyed hearing this song and would like to know more about Finland, why not ring Mr. Griffith of Hemel Hempstead. He and his charming wife Edna will be […]

Goodbye PD James, Queen Of Crime

Phyllis Dorothy James, the grande-dame of crime writing, has died at 94. Until pretty recently she was still attending events, which may be proof that writing keeps you young. My pal Barry Forshaw met her many times and is now writing about her in today’s Independent. Psychological suspensers make more sense to me than police procedurals, partly […]

The Horror Film: Dead & Buried?

Last night I went to the pub with Kim Newman, Paul McAuley, Barry Forshaw and others, and we ended up arguing about movies of course. The one thing we all seemed to feel was that Horror Has A Problem. First, let’s be clear about genres – ghost stories and supernatural movies are alive and thriving. […]

Thank You America!

‘Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart’ is getting some terrific reviews in the US, including this one from the New York Times’s estimable Janet Maslin. I’m thrilled…oh, and that’s the American cover, and yes, it’s tangerine. (There was an earlier one in mauve) BRYANT & MAY AND THE BLEEDING HEART By Christopher Fowler 383 […]

And A Tale Of Old Soho…

I briefly mentioned this in ‘Film Freak’ but was reminded of it yesterday, walking through Soho on a day when veils of grey mizzle were drifting across the empty streets, and I passed the building where it happened. It illustrates what we put up with then. It was raining hard on that day, too, when […]

A Tale Of Two Sohos

A crocodile of tiny tots heads past brothels and strip-clubs to their school playground. Nobody bats an eye. Welcome to Old Soho. London doesn’t have an old quarter, but it once did – Soho was named after a hunting call, and there are plenty of signs around that it was once the home of hunters […]

Why ‘Into The Woods’ Makes A Magnificent Movie

In the early 1930s, George and Ira Gershwin wrote a pair of political satires, ‘Of Thee I Sing’ and ‘Let ‘Em Eat Cake’, which posited a dark future for American politics. They were musicals, and, like ‘Showboat’ (about another hot-potato subject – miscegenation) were unlikely hits. Wordsmiths love sophisticated musicals, an American art form once […]

Story Doctor: When The Action Goes Too Far

This is the first in a new occasional series about stories. Today let’s look at so-called ‘jumping the shark’. This is the moment when something happens in a story that’s simply too much for the reader/viewer to swallow, and gets its name from an episode of ‘Happy Days’ in which Fonzie performs said stunt. It’s […]

London Corners: Rahere’s Sandals

Hospital wards often seem to have obscure names. St Bartholomew’s  is London’s oldest hospital, and still has a Rahere Ward – but who was Rahere? Behind Smithfield is the 12th century church of St Bart’s, and in the chapel is the tomb of Rahere, a tonsured monk who entertained King Henry I as a jester. […]