Monthly Archives: February 2015

London: Destruction & Reinvention

I try to be upbeat about the Mayor’s transformation of London into an Oligarch Moneypit, but sometimes it’s hard. After more cyclists were maimed on London roads last week, the half-hearted new cycle lanes that peter out after a few metres, forcing riders into traffic, feel symptomatic of what happens when government planners step in […]

Modern Days: All Work & All Play

Being an occasional diary entry reporting something I’ve done or seen which may result in the inspiration to write. I needed to get out. It had not stopped raining – no, not raining, sifting – in London for a week. Sifting is what London in February does best, a blackening soaking mist of arrosage that […]

Timing Is Everything, Even In Films

When a film fails, it’s amazing how often the distributor or producer says that it couldn’t find its audience because the release suffered from poor timing. Interestingly, this proves not to be the case with Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper’, a smash hit in the US which reaches screens just as Chris Kyle’s murderer goes on […]

Small Objects Of Desire

To escape a week of dim blackening drizzle, I’ve hied myself back to Barcelona, where the upcycling craze continues unabated. The quiet low-key barrio of St Antoni has suddenly transformed into a trendy new hotspot full of artists’ cafes and funky galleries, where I found this little gem made from a tray and – well, […]

London After Dark

                        My friend Michele alerts me to some evocative photographs of London after (very dark) darkness falls back in the 1930s, when there were fewer health and safety concerns about lighting and neon was not used to outline buildings. The link takes you to […]

The Key To A Great Mystery

When it came to filling in the Crime Writer’s Association form for which sub-genre of crime I wrote in, I had to stop and think for a minute. I suddenly felt like Hamlet and the players discussing types of play; comedy-pastoral-allegorical and so on. What was I? Not procedural, that’s for sure, not cosies either, […]

What’s In A Title?

Some years ago I thought about setting up a company to broker unknown world cinema to Hollywood, an exercise doomed to failure because of course Hollywood executives would simply have bypassed me to deal with companies direct. Hollywood has a long and illustrious history of using immigrant talent for its product, but their track record on […]

The Most English Films Ever Made

The rubbish line-up of the Oscars this year set me thinking, not that I set any store by these awards; any supposed system of excellence that could ignore ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Singing In The Rain’ and ‘Vertigo’ isn’t worth bothering with – If you were to look down the list of most popular British […]

Are London’s ‘Secret’ Places Really Secret?

When I wrote my latest London book round-up recently, I noticed that the words ‘secret’ and ‘hidden’ cropped up a lot in the titles. Fine, you won’t find St Paul’s Cathedral in these guide books, but you will find an awful lot of venues that could hardly be called ‘hidden’ or ‘secret’ or even ‘relatively […]

So Long, Soho

Londoners should never be nostalgic about their city. We know that if you go away on holiday for a fortnight you’re liable to come back and find your favourite pub gone. It’s just the way things work here. I can’t think of any city that has changed so much, so consistently, over the last sixty […]