Monthly Archives: January 2017

Your Questions Answered: Taking It Apart

In ‘Sunday In The Park With George’ we see an artist gradually assembling the component parts for what will become his most famous painting, ‘Un dimanche après-midi à l’ÃŽle de la Grande Jatte’, by Georges Seurat. We’re fascinated by how things are created. Yesterday, reader Anchovee says it’s a shame that I should pick apart a successful film […]

Why The Year’s Most Awarded Movie Will Be A One-Off

No Spoilers I liked ‘La La Land’ but I can understand why there’s a back(whip)lash going on in this most hated and moribund of genres. It looks as if the film is set to sweep Baftas and Oscars this year (with ‘Moonlight’, I hope), which in the last couple of months has meant a green […]

A Greylisted Writer

Much is now known about the blacklisting of writers in the 1950s and how many were forced into exile in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. But there was also ‘greylisting’, the strong-arming of writers to deny their pasts under threat of prosecution. With President Trump’s current tactics with journalists in mind, here’s the story […]

Black Humour Is A Sign Of Intelligence

  That’s what a new study in the journal Cognitive Processing has found; intelligence plays a key role in the appreciation of black humour. A team of Viennese researchers discovered that a group with the highest sick humour appreciation and comprehension scored top marks in verbal and non-verbal IQ tests. They were better educated, and scored lower for aggression and […]

When Readers Meet Writers

As our careers progress writers should stay in touch with readers more. It’s common sense to find out what people like or dislike. But what’s the best way? Well of course there’s social media, but you don’t really get beyond the formal politeness of writing a letter online (unless you’re on this site or you […]

Stretching Credibility

A comment from Robin yesterday prompts this consideration; when does a book stretch credibility too far for you? On TV that moment is known as Jumping the Shark, after the Fonz in ‘Happy Days’. On film it’s called Nuking the Fridge, after the fourth Indiana Jones film. What is it in books? Personally, I find […]

The Truth About Q&As

It’s always surprised me that the first question I get asked when someone mets me is; ‘Do you write under your own name?’ It seems a peculiar choice over ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ or ‘What do you most like writing about?’ (which I never get asked). I attend a lot of media events […]

Guilty Pleasures

An article in the London Times asking their writers to name their guilty pleasures prompts me to consider my own. I like to think that over time I have become entirely immune to passing trends and fashionability (which explains my T-shirts). It means that such pleasures are no longer even ‘guilty’ but pleasures, period. These […]

‘Open The Fridge Door, Hal.’

How did this happen? My home is now sentient. I feel like Julie Christie in ‘Demon Seed’. My bathroom scale calls me up to nag me for not having done enough steps. My oven, fridge, dishwasher and microwave all beep at different times to warn me about over/under-heating. My TV and sound system are only […]

Is The Arthouse Film Dead?

London has opened more arthouse film venues in the last two years than it has for decades. There’s the excellent Piccadilly Picturehouse, the Curzon chain, the Everyman chain, the Electric, the wonderful Regent Street Cinema and many others are now screening live theatre events – so why would arthouse be in any danger? Because we’ve […]