Monthly Archives: October 2016

Why London Markets Are Good For Your Love Life

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My only local butcher closed his doors after failing to convince his son to take over the reins. ‘He doesn’t want to be a tradesman,’ he told me, ‘he wants to go on The X Factor and become a singer.’ This trends of kids avoiding traditional trades for attempts at the entertainment industry may be […]

Hallowe’en Special: Show Us The Horror!

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This Hallowe’en, the London Times listed the novelist Kate Mosse’s personal choice of the best ghost stories. Her selection feels depressingly dated and painfully over-familiar; ‘The Signalman’, ‘The Turn of the Screw’, ‘The Woman In Black’, ‘The Blair Witch Project’ etc. Of course she is entirely free to choose what she likes, but it does […]

The New Fear Is All Around

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Yesterday morning I boarded an Easyjet flight in Barcelona, packed because it’s a long weekend there, and two well-spoken smart Millennials sat beside me. We were taxiing out to the runway when one of them got out of his seat and asked to see a crew member. He then insisted on getting off without saying […]

The Marvellous Ms Marsh

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Of the big four ‘Queens of Crime’, Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers reside in the nation’s collective memory of Golden Age crime while the other two, Margery Allingham and Edith Ngaio Marsh, have become specialist questions in a trivia game. Allingham is now enjoying a major revival, and now – finally – Ngaio Marsh’s books […]

Writing Lessons: Playing With Reality

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A couple of weeks ago a lady in an audience asked me; ‘Why haven’t your detectives died yet?’ To which I replied; ‘It is fiction, Madam!’ One of the great benefits of writing for yourself (as opposed to writing by commission) is that you follow no-one else’s style guide. You don’t have to fit into […]

Duff Up Your Shakespeare

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The news that director Emma Rice is to step down from the Globe Theatre after only just starting. Ms Rice is clearly very talented but her skill set and what the Globe required were always going to be at odds to one another, so why did they hire her? There are plenty of venues where […]

The Writer’s Essential Toolkit

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I’m often asked exactly what you need to write. The last in this list should really come first, by the way. There’s never been an easier time to write or a harder time to be a writer. The tools have simplified, but the publishing landscape has become cutthroat. Of course that won’t stop you, so let’s […]

Parks Are Public: That Means Everyone

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Two years ago new control orders were introduced in the UK aimed at removing ‘anti-social disorder’ from public spaces. Under the so-called ‘Busybodies Charter’ dogs have been banned from at least 2,205 public places along with cycling, gatherings, fitness trainers and other groups using the open spaces. And this week, councils are trying to swipe chunks […]

Hallowe’en Special: ‘Night Of The Demon’

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In the first of a few posts on Hallowe’en I thought I’d do something a bit different this year and take a look back at a classic supernatural film, to see how it holds up. Jacques Tourneur’s ‘The Night of the Demon’ was made in 1957 and was based on Montague R James’s short story […]

Are Pretty People More Successful?

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How we see an author on a book jacket is how we tend to remember them. We view Agatha Christie as what they used to call a ‘maiden aunt’, more Miss Marple than the tall, glamorous young woman who travelled the world and was probably the first English writer ever to go surfing in Hawaii. […]