Monthly Archives: November 2016

Writing 101: The Year We Went Dumb

“The love of the painter standing alone and staring, staring at the great coloured surface he is making. Standing with him in the room the rearing canvas stares back with tentative shapes halted in their growth, moving in a new rhythm from floor to ceiling. The twisted tubes, the fresh paint squeezed and smeared across […]

Some Recommended Christmas Reading Part 1

You know you’ll have a bit of spare time to yourself in the coming weeks, and it might be a good time to catch up on a book or two. Here are a few I can wholeheartedly recommend. Where do you start, though? So I’ve picked few I’ve just happened to read or reread… Crooked […]

Writing 101: Are You A Thief?

This is a new occasional column about the nuts and bolts of writing. Today we look at copying your work from others, or merely being influenced by them. First, listen to this. It’s Hans Zimmer’s music for the title sequence of the TV series ‘The Crown’, and if you think it sounds familiar, that’s because […]

The Friday Song: A Response To Evangelists

Researching the previous piece depressed me so much I needed something a little more upbeat with which to end the week. Here, Jesus teaches Jimmy to give up marijuana, from the extraordinarily blasphemous (and hilarious) ‘Reefer Madness’, made for US TV!

Evangelists: Isis On A Profit-Share

What happened to turn freedom-loving Brazil into the world’s most dangerous place to be gay? Incredibly, 1,500 people have been murdered in anti-LGBT hate attacks over the last four years. The actual count is likely to be a lot higher because these are just the figures officially held by police. Likewise rising crime figures in Uganda, Russia, […]

One Night In Vauxhall

It’s a piece of London apocrypha that’s been circulating for years, a story unverified by the press at the time but which turned out to be true. Supposedly one night a bored Princess Diana left the Palace to hang out with her pals Freddie Mercury and Kenny Everett. Complaining she never got to go anywhere […]

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

    It’s not hard to understand why half the country voted Brexit. It was the half outside London, and they did it with good reason. London is now in a bubble, divorced from the rest of the country and running away with itself, a strange anglo-Switzerland where soup and a sandwich tops £8 (Pret […]

Inside The Peculiar Crimes Unit

The very Christmassy paperback featuring Bryant & May’s first collection of missing cases, ‘London’s Glory’, is out now, a snip at £8.99. It contains this Eagle-style cutaway by Keith Page, age 14, Upper 4B, along with an introductory essay on crime fiction and all kinds of surprises. Buy it for a relative you wish to […]

Arthur & Alma At Breakfast

Sometimes when I’m writing the Bryant & May mysteries I forget the sheer amount of conversational detail that has gone before in earlier novels, so today I selected a chapter at random and read it back, to see if the characters had shifted away from where I intended them to be – I’m delighted to […]

One Weekend, Three Entertainments

It’s the season for indoor fun, so this weekend I checked out some popular entertainment; one play, one movie and a TV series. ‘Westworld’ was the show, and the first surprise is that we follow the robot hosts, not the guests. Not sure I’m entirely buying into the idea that they conduct normal lives away […]