Monthly Archives: September 2016

Being Funny In English

  Hogarth’s ‘The Weighing House’ shows the stages from seriousness to hilarity, and is, in itself, a very funny print. Humour travels. Wit does not. Broadly speaking, its said that the UK and France tend to prefer wit while America prefers humour, so it’s harder to cross to the US with European writing than go the […]

‘I Didn’t Come Here To Read’

Sociologist/writer Dominic Sandbrook makes a good point in his history of the UK in the 1960s, ‘White Heat’; while it seemed everyone was obsessed by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, the truth was very different. The most popular album of the decade was ‘The Sound of Music’. In the same way, while critics get excited […]

Why I’ve Come Off Facebook

Today I finally came off a horrible addictive drug – Facebook. In the past week four of my friends pulled their accounts, and I’ve now joined them. I’m free. Ten years ago Facebook was cutting-edge technology. But the experience felt increasingly clunky compared to modern sites, and the cross-tangle of live chat and posts is […]

Lost – The Misleading Cases

Alan Patrick Herbert once highlighted the complexity of the British licensing laws by accusing the House of Commons of selling liquor without a licence. He also wrote the lyrics to popular songs and shows, including the hugely successful ‘Bless The Bride’, with its earworm song ‘Ma Belle Marguerite’ now rattling around in my head as […]

The ‘Wild Chamber’ of London parks

Certain geographical factors determine our creative lives. When you travel around Figueres in Northern Spain you quickly see why Salvador Dali painted in ambers and ochres; it’s in the landscape all over the area. Whole views look exactly like his paintings. Writers often explore the issues that surround staying or leaving a hometown to head […]

The New Bryant & May

This is the cover of the new Bryant & May novel, out in May, and here’s the full synopsis: BRYANT & MAY 15: WILD CHAMBER In which Mr May Takes A Walk In The Park And Mr Bryant Gets Lost In The Wilderness   Our story begins at the end of an investigation, as the […]

Tech: Why We’re Not Always Keen To Change

We live in a world where everything, even buildings, now has a limited shelf-life (average lifespan of a post-2002 apartment building; 13 years, apparently). I think all creative people are collectors (well, it sounds nicer than ‘hoarder’) and we expect certain things to last. So it comes as a shock to read this about our […]

More Fast Food For Writers!

Steaming into the final furlong of my new (non-Bryant & May) novel, I’m working and eating (and occasionally sleeping) at my table, and as there were a lot of Guess-The-Ingredients comments about my 3-minute salad, here are some more very fast meals you can do wherever you have access to fresh ingredients. Tuna, mint, basil, […]

This Time London Sits By The Fire & Watches

350 years ago (well, not quite – on September 16th), the Great Fire of London destroyed nearly all of central London’s wooden buildings. Samuel Pepys famously watched the conflagration that not only followed the devastation of the previous year’s bubonic plague but also came in the middle of several other events; the Anglo-Dutch war, public […]

Sometimes The Only Way To Create Is To Hide

You know those books and movies where the writer secludes her/himself away in an isolated retreat in order to work? It’s an idea that has persisted for decades, but how useful is it? If you have children, live in a small flat, have a job or a partner and relatives, surely a trip to a […]