Monthly Archives: June 2016

From Cemetery To Suicide Spot

London’s past is easily wiped away these days, but sometimes its more peculiar aspects prove hard to shake off. In the last few years Number 1 Poultry in Cheapside has gained an unfortunate reputation as a jumping-off spot for London’s depressed bankers, several of whom (six so far) have taken a flying leap from the […]

The Theatre Of Ideas Loses A Master

In a West End saturated with tacky musicals aimed at children (at least, ones with very rich parents; tickets for ‘Harry Potter and the Doorstop Of Clichés’ are changing hands for thousands on eBay) we need someone like Peter Shaffer, a vigorously intellectual playwright who was fascinated by gods and mortals, in particular the gap […]

Things Brexiteers Demand

I know you’re the kind of hip urbane sort of person who thinks the only people who would vote for Farage & Johnson are mad, 105 year-old Telegraph readers and the Welsh, but after the EU debate it emerged that there are certain things Brexiteers want, two of which are (and I swear I’m not […]

Nice Blog, Shame The Style Had To Go!

Remember the above image, from when I first started this blog? How there were dozens of moody shots of nighttime London moving around? Well, no more. It was all because of Flash, usurped by HTML5, which killed off all those lovely sites with moving photo-real images in HD 3D gorgeousness. Okay, sometimes they weren’t very […]

What Makes Wayward Pines Work?

No Spoilers. Not having a regular living-room TV for the next six months, I started catching up on box sets by streaming them on my phone. This caused a judder of horror among friends, but download time and pixel density is great, and if you wear headphones the viewing experience is much enhanced. I’d avoided […]

A Writer’s Life: In Flux

You’ll notice that there are fewer London articles and film reviews on the site at the moment. There’s a simple reason for this. While my flat is being renovated I’m living in a small converted light industrial unit, and had to store my thousand+ London books in a barn in Suffolk, then ferry between the […]

Should You Write Ideas Or Action?

You have a great idea for a novel. You want to explore a particular theme. As you develop your characters, who adopt alternative viewpoints and lay out their arguments that you have spent a long time researching, you start to worry if the tale is becoming too dry. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of putting […]

Invisible Ink: Disney’s Hidden Authors

As we know from ‘Saving Mr Banks’, Walt Disney was good at persuading authors that he could be trusted to turn their treasured works into films, but Pamela Travers was not his only conquest. Nobody now remembers the Swiss beekeeping pastor Johann David Weiss, but in the late 18th century he was so impressed by […]

Getting The Words Wrong

‘What does he deserve for lighting the future on fire?’ asks a character in Game Of Thrones. The line bothered me. It’s not poke-you-in-the-eye bad grammar, just an awkward juxtaposition of words. It feels wrong. If I was pushed to define it, lighting something is the act of illuminating, setting is more aggressive while, say, […]

Nostalgia Is Never What It Was

I’m turning into Arthur Bryant. He remembers a different nation (in a nice non-Nigel Farage way), and it turns out there’s a reason for it. In childhood there’s a thing call the Reminiscence Bump, where the memories you recall from your youth stay brighter and sharper than others. Or as Wikipedia explains it, something that […]