Monthly Archives: August 2015

Writing Lesson: Killing Your Darlings

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An art teacher once gave one of her pupils a consistently brilliant score. One day she left and her star pupil got a new teacher. His scores plummeted. The upset parent sought out the first teacher and asked; ‘Why did my son get better scores under you?’ She replied; ‘I knew when to take his […]

Ten Non-Disney Animated Movies

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With Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ getting good reviews, I thought I’d take stock of animation. As it did for many of us who wanted to be artists at some point, animation played a huge part in my early childhood cinema, but Disney films went in quality cycles, from the watercolour innovation of ‘Pinocchio’ through to the […]

Crime: When Bad Thoughts Cross The Line

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As writing novels in the crime genre is a big part of what I do, I thought I should start an occasional column about crime. I’m particularly interested in unconventional incidents. Following on from Jon Ronson’s book about public shaming, I started looking up more unusual cases in which someone has ended up in court […]

Gone In A Flash

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The actor George Cole has died aged 90. I never saw ‘Minder’, I just think of him with his mentor and hero Alistair Sim, usually playing a spiv, and ultimately in ‘The Belles of St Trinians’ and its three sequels, in which he played Flash Harry, complete with his own theme music. He was memorably […]

Sell Books? Ah Yes, I Meant To Do That.

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There’s only so much time I can spend at my computer so I’m not a great trawler-around of other writers’ websites. Yesterday, with an hour to kill at an airport (I’m notorious for arriving too early and there are only so many times you can wander past Dixons) I decided to take a look at […]

Online Trawl: ‘A Little Harmless Fun At Someone Else’s Expense’

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This week’s trawl turned up a ‘Did I Dream That?’ memory. In 1992 a very peculiar – and pretty short-lived – TV game show appeared, featuring an audience of women and on its day-glo stage, one hyperactive man. ‘Dame Edna’s Neighbourhood Watch’ was a simple idea that traded on the massive UK popularity of Aussie […]

First Look at London’s Glory

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On November 5th, ‘Bryant & May: London’s Glory’ comes out in hardback to coincide with the paperback release of ‘The Burning Man’ – which is set on Guy Fawkes Night (see what Transworld did there?). It’s a book I’d been meaning to write since Volume 10 of the series, a sort of Conan Doyle-ish compendium […]

Silence & Boredom

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Last year, the author Dame Marina Warner resigned her professorship from the once-co-operative University of Essex in protest of the government changes made to grants, fees and the rewarding of ‘impact’ over quality of thought. Out went dreaming, imagining and challenging, and in came getting results. Since the end of WWII Britain has had a […]

When The Devil Isn’t In The Detail

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Poor old Oscar, endlessly quoted, and not always accurately. I wonder what he would have made of the modern Twitterverse? Would he have loved dropping aphorisms onto it or would he have been horrified by its egalitarianism? I really enjoyed Jon Ronson’s ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’, an exploration of modern-day online witch-hunts which could not […]