Monthly Archives: February 2016

Can The Kindle Bounce Back?

When e-readers were first introduced, book lovers reacted as if it was the end of the world. Despite the fact that many early e-readers were badly made and connected to poorly organised online booksellers, paper books were suddenly feared as dead as investigative journalism and independent fish shops. After struggling with various models including a […]

Why Imagination Needs Exercise

By their nature writers are traditionally outsiders who refuse to settle, either physically in one place, or mentally. The author JG Ballard was famously described as ‘He doesn’t care where he lives, because he lives inside his head’. This year I’ll be putting that theory to the test. As we have to move out of […]

‘Warning! Vividly Depicts Axe Murders!’

  So bellowed the captions in the trailer for 1964’s ‘Strait-Jacket’, which also promised that it ‘may go beyond your ability to withstand suspense’. There’s a  cycle of books and films rather forgotten now which were inspired by the massive international success of ‘Psycho’. Domestic Suspense is a category of fiction that had almost disappeared […]

Top 5 Things You Don’t Need In Airports

I don’t consider myself a regular traveler – my neighbours board planes every other day to fly around the planet for one-hour business meetings. Downstairs neighbour Becky actually said to me; ‘Let’s go for cocktails on Friday – or am I in China?’ But I’m definitely Generation Easyjet, the king of shorthaul trips, and think nothing […]

Another Hidden London Oddity Is Exposed To The Light

It seems for each part of hidden London we lose a new one is exposed. First New Scotland Yard’s Crime Museum was finally unveiled (I attended a terrific police lecture there this week) and now the mysterious Mount Pleasant train will be seen by Londoners. The Mail Line opened in 1927 and was the first […]

Anatomy Of A Comic Tale

Stories tend to reflect the times in which they were written, whether you mean them to or not. Before John Hughes became a film director, he was a creative director at the Leo Burnett ad agency’s Chicago branch. In 1979 he got snowed in and was stuck at home, so he wrote a short story for […]

Want To Write? Try Joining The Club

At one of the first publishing parties I ever attended, I found myself among a group of bright young things discussing new books. I felt a little out of my depth because the BYTs all worked for literary publications and were littering the floor with Latin phrases and the titles of philosophical novels I hadn’t […]

Another London Landmark Becomes A Chain

Kettner’s restaurant in Soho was opened by Auguste Kettner, the chef to Napoleon III, and became one of the first French restaurants in London. It boasted among its regulars Lillie Langtry, Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie and Bing Crosby. Everyone in Soho has a favourite memory of the place. For my business partner’s 40th birthday I […]

Whatever Happened To ‘Darkest Day’?

I often get asked about this book, and a couple of readers have asked me why it’s not being included in the complete run of e-books coming later this year. When the Bryant & May novel Seventy-Seven Clocks appeared in hardback a few years ago, it caused a bit of a rumpus. In the planning […]