Monthly Archives: February 2017

Script Ends: Goodbye Alan, And Thank You

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It’s pretty clear to me now that without Alan Simpson and his writing partner Ray Galton I would not have started writing. I first found them listed on the back of an LP (that’s cool vinyl, kids – oh, you’re interested now aren’t you?). It was Tony Hancock’s first album, ‘This Is Hancock’ (I should […]

Meet The Neo-Victorians

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In order to research my next novel, I’m having to recall a time I don’t remember. It’s set in September 1969 at the end of flower power and freedom, when Charles Manson was stealing headlines from the first man on the moon. I was at school and out of the loop for the whole Swinging […]

A Letter From Barcelona

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It’s 9 am. I’m on the balcony in my dressing gown, doing my ‘tired face’. Got a cup of tea and a cuerno in my hands. Clear blue sky, empty street, but there’s something in the air. I can hear distant shouting and then – singing. Some children run past at full pelt carrying flags. […]

Today’s Challenge: Share A Writers’ Secret

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    Recently someone challenged me to offer up a writer’s secret, something we don’t even talk about with other. So here’s one. Many of the writers I’ve met are addicted to covetously measuring the success of others. We don’t mean to, but the yardsticks of style, intellect and erudition can prove obsessive. We don’t […]

Arctic Rollercoaster

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  That’s right, this column was simply an excuse to hide the name of a seventies dessert in the heading. You know the drill, a TV show model developed in the US; half a dozen characters meet in a single location (or ‘precinct’) and find out what connects them, but it takes seven seasons to unravel […]

Bryant & May Covers – You Choose

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Do books (and book covers) have to reflect our lives as they’re lived right now? I never really intended my detectives to become topical avatars, but it’s hard not to mirror the times in which we live. In a future book I’ll be looking at the state of the nation, but for 2018’s novel I’ll […]

Reading Between The Lines Part 2

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I like Victoria Beckham. She knows how to play the journos’ game and seems pretty good at weathering its random cruelties, especially when the press periodically decides to gang up on her for no other reason than her being a successful career woman and mother. Ms Beckham grew up with social media and knows what […]

Reading Between The Lines Part 1

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This comes in answer to a request from Elisabeth Rose, to give tips on spotting fake journalism. In the UK we downgraded the quality of journalism in the late ’80s by allowing Rupert Murdoch to trample over reporters’ rights. Traditionally stories are fully sourced within the first two paragraphs. That is, at least two names are […]

Latest Train Delay Excuse: Tudors On The Line

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On February 10th, 500 exhibits are to be on show in the Museum of London in an exhibition called Tunnel: the Archaeology of Crossrail. Crossrail is the biggest London redevelopment I’ve seen in my lifetime. It started in 2012 and won’t finish until 2020.  The 118-kilometre railway line crosses London and reaches the home counties of Berkshire, […]

Leave London’s Parks Alone

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Next month sees the UK arrival of the new Bryant & May novel, ‘Wild Chamber’. One part of the storyline has just become highly topical, as Westminster Council seeks to privatise part of a London park  in order to squeeze some more cash from tourists, and Camden Council, who destroyed its local markets to cater […]