Monthly Archives: May 2016

Solving The EU Question With Musical Comedy

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Being the sort of impartial chap who regards the looming possible Brexit with all the contempt I hold for Nigel Farage and his Little Englanders, and the kind of bakelite-sniffing nostalgists beloved by the Daily Telegraph, a newspaper that preached appeasement with Hitler, I thought we’d solve this urgent political question with the aid of […]

Writers In Many Hats

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I’ve been talking to readers a lot this spring, and one subject that kept returning was whether writers can work on many types of book, or if they should stay in one area. Crime was once a part of general fiction until genres separated out in bookshops, so that SF/horror, fantasy (and believe it or […]

He Was Genius. This Is Water.

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I only recently discovered the US writer David Foster Wallace, through a recommendation on this very site, but quickly became addicted. I found him brilliant, exhausting and frequently maddening. Exhausting because of the insane Richard Dadd-like detail he poured into his writing, maddening because the the tangents he flew off into when you sometimes wanted […]

Invisible Ink 9: Stacy Aumonier

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There’s something twinkling and Christmassy and resolutely English about Stacy Aumonier. His ‘Extremely Entertaining Short Stories’ feel as if they should be read aloud by a roaring fire. Why is he so little known? He was born near Regent’s Park into a family of craftsmen and artists in 1877, and reached 51 before dying of […]

Where Shall We Go This Afternoon?

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A million families say it in a Saturday. But what turns an area into a destination? Paddington Basin was developed in a public-private partnership. The area was run down, light industrial, largely inaccessible land before the works started. The ground was contaminated with industrial waste, the waterways clogged and polluted, and a network of overhead […]

Jolly Useful London Things

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I was fooling around with a new Bryant & May short story earlier today, and stumbled across some examples of Things London Used To Do Jolly Well But Stopped Doing. One of them, the Porter’s Rest on Piccadilly, was reinstated at a ceremony recently. Another was the Daily Telegraph information service. Started in 1948, it undertook […]

Can London Still Take It?

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‘London Can Take It’ was a short propaganda film from 1940 showing the effect of the Blitz on its buildings and people. But since then the metropolis faced three building booms that tested the theory. In the 1960s, the 1980s and the present it underwent its periodic growth spurts, driven by developers, and where we […]

Reviewed: The New Kindle Oasis

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All my life I’ve sprouted books like hostels have fleas. They appear about me, falling from pockets, trailing behind me, stuffed into pockets and bags, in my hands, on beer-sticky bar counters, in bathrooms and kitchens, left on trains, propped against lamps and bottles and pillows. One to read, one spare in case I finish […]

A Change Is Coming To This Site

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Over the years this website has evolved as changing formats have developed. I dumped Flash because too many people could not access the lustrous moving images of London, and iPhones have forced simplification upon most sites. Remember when the web was full of glamorous complex pulsing pictures? Sadly most of those have gone now as […]

What You Write Shows Who You Are

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It has been in the back of my head for a long time that there is a right and a wrong way to behave after becoming a writer. Because we don’t work in corporate environments we have to form a creed for ourselves, but what should it be? Before I was brave enough to try […]