Monthly Archives: February 2016

Clubbing. Verb. Remember That?

So Paul McCartney just discovered his cut-off date, 73 apparently, after being turned away from a club during the after-party celebrations for the Grammies. First of all, he should have been at home in bed instead of wanting to stand in a roped-off VIP corner of a basement bellowing ‘What?’ while someone shouts in his […]

Two Fabulous Hotels, Both Sadly Fictitious

When Wes Anderson revealed that his charming period comedy ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ was based upon the writings of Stefan Zweig (specifically ‘Beware of Pity’), I was rather surprised, because I automatically assumed it had been based on Arnold Bennett’s equally memorable ‘The Grand Babylon Hotel’. Bennett was that rare thing, a Midlands writer, and […]

The Lost Art Of Painting Posters

This weekend I went to a film fair in Camden Town, and there, sitting quietly surrounded by his artwork (alongside actors Emily Booth and Nicholas Ball) was my old pal Graham Humphreys, the ridiculously modest, charming (and it must be said, deeply eccentric) artist behind some of the most iconic film posters ever painted. The […]

Because You Can Never Have Too Much Shakespeare

What a lot of Shakespeare events are coming up in London this summer – anyone would think there was an important anniversary approaching! There are always new productions of Shakespeare (but still not enough innovative ones, I’d say) so this year some unusual Shakespeare experiments are taking place. I’d love to see ‘Tabletop Shakespeare’, in which […]

True Stories: These American Tales Are Damn Brilliant

My father’s early years as a scientist left an indelible mark on him. He told me; ‘When you want to read an true account or a manual on any subject, make sure it’s written by an American. They explain better and more clearly than anyone because they don’t preach to class.’ I took his advice […]

Making A Splash With ‘Strange Tide’ & Other Events

It’s been an exhausting year, but in March the new Bryant & May hardback hits the stands, along with the paperback version of ‘The Burning Man’ (there’ll be a competition to win copies – details later), and this time I’ll be doing quite a few events and signings around London and the country. From the […]

Goodbye To Britain’s Most Balanced Print Newspaper

Charismatic Russian owner Evgeny Lebedev has confirmed that the print versions of the Independent are closing after 30 years, leaving the British print media landscape much poorer without it. Or to put it another way, the Independent is to become ‘the first national newspaper title to move to a digital-only future, capitalising on its position as […]

‘Mrs Henderson Presents’ – Review

What is Englishness? I found myself wondering this in one of the few longeurs in this show, which opens at the Noel Coward Theatre in London next week. I suppose it partly resides in the vast fund of shared knowledge we have. We know the story of the Windmill well – how an elderly widow […]

Male & Female Reading

Despite the new century’s welcome seismic shift in sexual equality, we all know there are gender divisions in reading. Or as my father once put it; ‘Romantic novels are for middle-aged women who hate their husbands.’  I’ve met few men who profess to having read ‘Jane Eyre’, a novel I find turgid and deeply peculiar, […]

The Great Horror Craze

Back in the 1960s America and Britain went through a massive passion for all things horrific. In fact, it lasted from around 1957 to 1972, according to the new book ‘Monster Mash’ by Mark Voger. It started in America with midnight movie hosts like Zacherley and Vampira (which we didn’t get in the UK) and […]