Monthly Archives: December 2015

Maggie & Raymond Look At The Year Ahead

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We have two guest columnists today: Raymond Kirkpatrick is a colleague of Arthur Bryant’s. The bear-like heavy metal-loving Professor of English is currently working at the British Library. Maggie Armitage is a Grand Order Grade IV White Witch of the Coven of St. James the Elder in London’s Kentish Town. In retrospect it was probably not a […]

The Greatest Robbery Of Them All

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The great Hatton Garden robbery captured the public imagination; the total stolen had a value of up to £200 million, and was called the largest burglary in English history. The heist was planned and carried out by four elderly men who were experienced thieves, all of whom were caught and pleaded guilty. But fifty years earlier […]

Why Writers Should Be Paid For Appearances

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This is a Punch cartoon in the late 19th century that sums up the writer’s job. Sitting and thinking, or just sitting, is good news for writers. While office workers have to rush-hour ride LT’s mobile TB clinics to work in hangars lit like garages, we can drift to our studies with a plate of biscuits […]

Star Wars: A Writer’s View

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No spoilers The Force can’t be resisted. ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ is the fastest-grossing film in history because it needed to be; the studio had to release high box office figures to jump-start a vast array of movie sequels and spin-offs that will power spending for years to come. Press editors around the world […]

Oddments Of 2015

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What happened this year? London got a Triffid street, Apple brought out a watch nobody seems to want and a number of the capital’s less-known attractions closed down, like the Type Museum and the De Morgan Foundation Collection of antiquities – but are they actually gone? Attractions seem reluctant to announce their closure and the […]

Bryant & May Act Their Age

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When I research a Bryant & May novel I don’t just source locations and history; I talk to people, and if I want to know how seniors cope now (my own parents and grandparents having gone) I find ones willing to chat. With 1 million seniors living alone in the UK and half of them […]

Best & Worst Films Of 2015

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At the birth of film there were stories about great achievers, from Nelson to Washington. Last week I watched a film about a woman who invents a mop and manages to sell it on QVC. Not exactly Scott of the Antarctic.  Joy is directed by David O Russell and stars Jennifer Lawrence. The performances are nice, but […]

Merry Christmas From Bryant & May!

Merry PCU Xmas!

‘You should just think of it as a day off,’ said Alma Sorrowbridge. ‘Relax, have a glass of sherry, eat some mince pies and watch Bruce Forsyth.’ ‘As it seems the entire country has been doing since the old king died,’ complained Bryant, pulling his ratty maroon dressing gown around him and sinking further into […]

‘Watchmaker’ Runs Like Clockwork

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It’s taken a long time for critics to realise that some of the finest writing in the world is – and always has been – fantasy literature, and that it takes many forms, from, say, John Crowley’s ‘Little, Big’ to Natsume Soseki’s ‘I Am A Cat’. But how do you attract the right readership? It’s […]

Neglected Films 15: The Night They Raided Minsky’s

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A few readers have asked me to revive this column, which I discontinued a couple of years ago. (You’ll find the old columns all stored here if you’re looking for unusual films). In the late 1960s audiences tired of old-fashioned pictures and made ‘Easy Rider’ a hit. The studios were caught out. What were they […]