Monthly Archives: December 2014

Why London Architects Will Hate Prince Charles Even More

Prince Charles is not a man many urbanites would naturally agree with. For the past 30 years or so he has been discredited, dismissed and derided – from his ill-advised phone comments hacked by the press to various New Age whimsies and his ‘monstrous carbuncle’ comments on the Tate Gallery extension. But in the current […]

Could This Be The Return Of A Golden Age?

When I read about this trend my heart leapt. Could it actually mean that Bryant & May’s time had come? Am I ahead of the curve for once? Apparently, a Christmas detective novel that’s 70 years old has become a sleeper hit and resurrected interest in a long-forgotten crime writer. Mystery in White: A Christmas […]

All On The Same Page?

Did I just miss a meeting? Did Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ just come true while I stepped out of the room? Dismayed lately by the fact that many young urbanites now looks, sound and behave exactly the same, I spotted an odd fluff article in the press: The headlines went on about a pair […]

The Speech I Should Never Have Made

I’m seen here having won two awards. I can’t remember what they were for, because moments after this photo was taken the plaques attached to them fell off and I couldn’t glue them back on. I don’t respect awards very much; as a juror on many panels, I know they’re at best arbitrary and at […]

Is It Possible To Step Back In Time?

It’s all about opening a window to the past. As cities change they shed their pasts. This was never London’s problem because past and present have always existed together in an ever-changing collision of styles and tastes. One senses that this is now coming to an end as international corporate architecture flattens life from the […]

Too Many New London Books!

A wander into Waterstone’s Piccadilly reveals an avalanche of new London books in time for Christmas; so many specialist subjects and being broken down and explored through the prism of the city. I and my pocketbook have abandoned the idea of trying to keep up with them, but I can recommend three more which are […]

Do You Really Need To See The Author’s Mugshot?

Writers are a bunch of scruffbags. You should see us gathered together in a pub or restaurant – we look like tramps sheltering from the rain. The underrated, wonderful novelist Keith Waterhouse once said; ‘I have not looked in a mirror for the last forty years.’ And what’s going on with George R R Martin […]

The Steady Rise (Easy, Grandma!) Of The Adult Panto

Wordsmiths love the panto season although I’ve not been since I was about nine years old, but friends are nagging me into attending this year, partly because there seem to be more of them than ever, and many are getting very good reviews. I’m not thrilled about sitting amongst a thousand seat-wetting anklebiters and being […]

Something Really Horrible For Christmas

I once wrote a Christmas single. It didn’t chart, thank God – I can only say that I was 23 and stupid – but I do still own a copy (45 rpm vinyl) to remind me how horrible music gets at Christmas. This year Enrique Iglesias’s ‘Bailando’ (a worldwide mega-smash) barely managed to reach 75th […]

Eight Odd London Christmas Venues

I know what you’re thinking. It would be dead easy at this time of year to knock together a bunch of obvious choices for Christmas outings, but lately you can’t move without falling over ice rinks and pop-ups and Christmas markets, so here are some odder alternatives. 1. Most Secret Theatre ‘The Railway Children’ is […]