Monthly Archives: April 2015

After ‘Breaking Bad’

The English-speaking world clearly falls into two groups; those who finished ‘Breaking Bad’ and those who didn’t get beyond the first episode. It takes a while to catch up with ended shows. I’ve yet to watch ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Game of Thrones’. I never saw a frame of ‘The Sopranos’ or ‘The Wire’, but […]

What Are You Reading?

Whenever I’m out of London, I read more, partly because it’s quieter almost everywhere else, and because there are no interruptions. London is a ridiculously noisy city, from tannoyed announcements to sirens. I’m back in Barcelona writing a thriller, and as it’s a town that doesn’t raise its sleepy head before 10am there’s always time […]

Why Mr Bryant Loves Gilbert & Sullivan

Is there anything more unfashionable than admitting to liking Gilbert & Sullivan? In this day and age, who would still listen to the work of two fusty gentlemen who lived over a century ago, who are routinely dismissed by classical music lovers as being of no interest or importance? And what’s their attraction for my […]

Why There Are Fewer Original Novels…

Today’s column is a coalescence of several others I’ve been writing and thinking about for a while. It came to a head when I gave a speech at the Southbank Literary Festival about outsider status. I’d written before on the subject, but the speech introduced a number of outsiders from different centuries. The ultimates are […]

Mysteries and Thrillers Are Opposites

As always it took the excellent Val McDermid to point out what should have been obvious; that crime and mystery novels are left wing and thrillers are right wing. Writing in the Guardian, she points out that the crime novelĀ gives a voice to characters who are not comfortably established in the world, while thrillers play […]

Is London Losing Signs And Gaining Statues?

Look up in London and a menagerie of animals greets you, from locusts and beetles to lions, dragons, camels and fish. There’s a statue of a deer at Wimbledon and another camel at Victoria Embankment, and a cat at Highgate Hill. Statues proliferate, especially if they’re animals, because they’re non-controversial. Signs tend to vanish. Many […]