Monthly Archives: October 2015

Falling Back In Love With London

Everyone who takes London for a lover has an occasional falling-out with it. Several elements conspired to make me lose heart with my birth-city in the last two years; policies that allowed the creation of so many super-rich hot-spots at the expense of once lively neighbourhoods were matched by the destruction of my old stamping […]

A Ghost Story Is Not A Horror Story

It’s that time of the year again when I get invited to read something spooky in a wing-backed armchair beside a crackling fire. Actually, one year I did that in Black’s Club, but this year we’re in the National Liberal Club, a grander and far chillier environment for the annual Hallowe’en reading, and I’ll also […]

The Next Bryant & May Novel

After November 5th’s ‘Bryant & May: London’s Glory’, a selection of missing cases from the Peculiar Crime Unit’s files, there will be a new novel launching on March 26th 2016 called ‘Bryant & May: Strange Tide’. Here’s the outline… The river Thames is London’s most important yet neglected artery. When a young woman is found […]

12 Things That Prove The 1970s Are Back

Ken Dodd is still performing in Darlington Tunnock’s teacakes and Jammy Dodgers as popular as ever Renzo Piano’s multicoloured building in St Giles looks like that flooring they had in Carnaby Street Loons, suede bum-freezers, orange makeup and blonde flick-ups are back Those awful lamps covered in opaque white discs – yep, they’re back too […]

Steve Jobs – The Movie

Last night there was time for a starry Q&A after the film ‘Steve Jobs’ attended by Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels, Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle among others, who answered a couple of prickly questions from the audience. I imagine they’ve been getting plenty, which is what happens when your film concerns a real-life […]

Gothic Loses The Plot

NO SPOILERS It should have been a shoo-in for Guillermo del Toro, the director of gothic films like ‘The Devil’s Backbone’ and ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’. An American-language big budget stab at High Gothick, complete with fleeing heroine, dastardly baronet and crumbling mansion – but somehow ‘Crimson Peak’ goes terribly wrong. All the elements are in place, […]

Scotland Yard’s ‘Black Museum’ Of Crime Uncovered

These masks were worn by robbers, and make you realise just how far removed from fantasy real crime was. Once they were housed in what was known as the Black Museum. It comprised two back rooms in Scotland Yard and was filled with the artefacts of violent crime, to be shown only to police officers. […]

It’s Time To Relax Rules In Parks

It started with a row over the hoverboard – it’s this year’s must-have, a silent gyroscopic skateboard operated by minute movements in your toes that works like a Segway without the huge wheels and arms. It’s already becoming popular in Europe, where people are always looking for new ways to travel short distances without the […]

More London Books!

Another bumper crop of london books has arrived to mythologise – and demythologise – the Great Wen. They make me fear for my bookshelves. My tip; never buy them from the internet because with London books you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get. Here are the best of the current crop. ‘The People […]

The British & Euphemism

After that quick dip into slang the other day I got to thinking about an even more peculiar habit than that of using slang. We evolve language, we play with it – anyone who has seen the wholesome-yet-highly-peculiar ‘Pitch Perfect’ films will be familiar with the oddball spin you can put on teen talk – […]