Monthly Archives: August 2015

Win The First Personalised Signed Copy Of ‘The Sand Men’

Here’s the pitch: In Dubai there’s a new world of high-end, high-luxury resorts emerging for the super-rich – but at what price to everyone else? Lea, Roy and their 15 year-old daughter Cara live in a gated community reserved for foreign workers. Roy has been hired to deal with teething problems at Dream World, a futuristic […]

The End Of The World Keeps Changing

In 1954 Richard Matheson wrote a science fiction novel called ‘I Am Legend’, about the only man on earth not afflicted with a kind of vampirism. In 1964, AIP made a cheap film version starring Vincent Price, acknowledged as the template for all ‘living dead’ movies that followed. In 1968 ‘The Omega Man’ was the second […]

Does It Matter That Rhyming Slang Is Brown Bread?

To any Englishman over 40 years of age, a curry can still a ruby and a suit a whistle (it’s male-centric), but apparently the Youngs have killed off rhyming slang, despite the invention of many colourful additions to the street slang – remember Brian Clough, Bobby Moore, Pete Tong and Gary Glitter?  According to new […]

Political Correctness Gone Mad

I once watched a sweating comic struggle through a stand-up set in Edinburgh as a woman in the front row called out a label after each joke he told; ‘Sexist’, ‘racist’, ‘ageist’ and so on. With the Edinburgh Festival in full swing how can you be funny in a diverse culture now? In America, a […]

Crime: When The Truth Can’t Be Told

Vincent Bugliosi is the prosecution layer whose most famous case involved Charles Manson. He turned writer for that account with ‘Helter Skelter’, and continued to write up other trials from time to time in his forensic if somewhat bombastic style. With ‘Outrage: The Five Reasons Why OJ Simpson Got Away With Murder’, he lambasts the […]

A Postcard From: Verona

  It all got a bit Marx brothers. The last time I entered an amphitheatre was in Ronda, in the presence of the terrifyingly plastic Duchess of Alba, to see the great Padilla get back into the bullring after a bull had gored his eye out 18 months earlier. The atmosphere in Verona was the […]

The Rowton Houses

You couldn’t mistake them; they were vast, ugly red-brick castles with mean little windows, ‘grim places, echoing with the cries and coughs of defeated men’ – a chain of monolithic hostels built across London by the Victorian philanthropist Lord Rowton to provide decent accommodation for working men in place of the squalid lodging houses of the period. […]

Classics For Pleasure

  The first piece of classical music I ever remember hearing was Mozart’s Horn Concerto No.4 at the age of 7. I know it was this because our headmistress had it played every Monday morning at the start of school assembly in the Invicta Infants School, Blackheath. This was followed by ‘Jupiter’ from Holst’s Planet […]

Another Library Reveals Its Treasures Online

Museums and libraries can rarely display much of their collections, so they rotate exhibits or lend them out, but now all over the world they’re putting them online. The latest is the Bodleian Museum in Oxford. This summer I was there for an exhibition of Gilroy drawings, and in one gallery they have Roman statues […]

Goodbye To One Of The Great Northern Humorists

David Nobbs, the author and comedy writer who created the Reginald Perrin books, has died aged 80. Nobbs worked on many leading British comedy shows including That Was The Week That Was, The Frost Report and The Two Ronnies. It was typical that he should dedicate a novel to the county of Hereford. Here is […]