Monthly Archives: April 2015

Spent: Viv Nicholson Passes Into Mythology

The people who make it into modern mythology aren’t always heroines or heroes; particular;y here in the UK we often remember them because they tried and failed. One thinks of our love of explorers like Scott of the Antarctic or Earnest Shackleton and the Endurance, or even Eddie the Eagle, the hopeless Olympic skier. Add […]

White Snow, Black Comedy

What is it that makes snow-set films so appealing? The whited-out spaces that give images a purity of design? The emptiness that conjures the spirit of old westerns? The cinematography that puts figures in vast landscapes? ‘Prize Idiot’ probably wasn’t the best title for a movie, so this new Scandi-noir starring Stellan Skarsgard has been […]

Who Will Survive In The Great Soho Sell-Off?

Yesterday I walked through Soho to see what all the fuss was about – residents have been running a ‘Save Soho’ campaign ever since Soho Estates decided to rebuild sections of beloved streets. I’d seen that work on the new Crossrail link had taken its toll, but I hadn’t realised quite how much demolition was […]

The Weird World Of London Robberies

Go on, admit it. If you’re over thirty, right after you heard about the Hatton Garden robbery you thought of Sid James and gelignite and vans roaring out of post offices. You secretly think it’s a bit cool robbing safety deposit boxes. It’s old-school-drop-it-copper-and-nobody-gets-hurt thieving in the grand tradition of the Great Train Robbery. There’s […]


I had no idea Eurovision was still going on until that bearded guy in the frock won it; I’d assumed it had died around the time Eric Morley stopped staging Miss World (maybe he hasn’t, I don’t know), but I love it that someone noticed this year’s ghastly Eurovision Song Contest entry from Britain is […]

Rubbish At Sport? Be Proud.

As a kid I was the second to last to be picked for football matches. My friend John was last, and he had polio. In my school you played compulsory rugby or cricket. I usually went to the library and took the punishment, although I did play once and let through the winning try, because […]

Happy Birthday, Will!

‘Fun-packed’ isn’t a phrase you often hear associated with ‘Hamlet’. However, I think the Globe theatre has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek (at least I hope so) because it’s advertising a special day on Sunday April 19th to celebrate Will’s birthday. And in classic Shakespearian style they’re planning ‘to mark the mid-point of […]

How To Pay Bills Abroad

1. Receive mystery bill in Spain for huge amount. 2. Translate bill from Catalan into Spanish, then English, so it is now a Chinese whisper of the original. 3. Note that translator app is imperfect as it gives me a choice of address; ‘Attic’, ‘Basement’, ‘Canyon’, ‘Netherlands’. 4. Try to pay online. Fail because I do […]

Love It, Loathe It, Leave it.

There’s a lot of talk in the press this week about the sterilisation of London, how glass boxes and ‘retail experiences’ are replacing entire scruffy streets to cause the greatest overall change since WWII at incredible speed. The fear is that the core of the city will vanish and it will cease to be London […]

Movies That Mangle The Mind

For me it started with a screening of ‘Eraserhead’ at the Scala Cinema when it used to be in Scala Street. After, nothing else measured up for a while because it had dream-images that stayed despite their lack of logic. Is there anything worse than a film where you can see every scene telegraphed? ‘The […]