Monthly Archives: June 2017

Into The Unknown: A Fun But Frustrating Look At SF

I like the quirkiness of exhibitions at the Barbican; the toothpaste-tube space at the Curve gallery is awkward, being too high and too narrow, and simply not big enough, with the result that shows are often divided into three parts on different floors – yet part of the fun can be trying to find where […]

London, Underground Part 2

  Collecting books on London is a lethal habit; you start with a couple of photographic albums and end up building extra-strong shelves for large-format esoteric handbooks on vanished railway stations. So many volumes have been written that one would think every possible area and subject had been covered – some while back I made […]

London, Underground, Part 1

  The touchstone volume for collectors of books about what’s under our capital city is the lavishly illustrated and somewhat mechanically obsessed ‘London Under London’ (1984), but Stephen Smith’s book ‘Underground London’ has become a classic on the subject. It goes several stages deeper by broadening the brief, taking in rivers, conduits, sepulchres, subways, arches, […]

Favourite Bryant & May Book: The Verdict

  Thank you everyone who responded to my call, which asked you for a favourite Bryant & May novel to help me determine where I’m taking the series next. I’m very grateful for the help, and although the results were very varied they did point in a certain direction – and were not at all […]


Something a little less London-centric today. So much has been written about the Manhattan Project, Los Alamos and the creation of ‘Fat Man’ and ‘Little Boy’ that you’d be forgiven for imagining there was little more to explore, but some extraordinary information was declassified by NASA telling the story of Project Orion. America in the […]

Vote For Your Favourite Bryant & May Book

Believe me, this is not an exercise in self-aggrandisement, but an attempt to discover where I should take the characters next. I will shortly be presenting ideas to my publisher that will bring the old boys’ adventures up to a neat and full twenty volumes. Although you currently have ‘Strange Tide’ in paperback and ‘Wild […]

The Time Of Your Life

Look at the above photograph. Try to put a date on it. Clue: Drury Lane. Incredibly, this was taken just 19 years before I was born, in 1934. So, just up the road from this, the huge modern department store Selfridges had already been open for 25 years. Historical juxtapositions are always a shock, and something […]

The BFI Screen Guides

Never trust a man who puts ‘Pretty Woman’ in his top ten movies; it tells you too much about him. Making a list of your favourite films always risks exposing your personality. While they create a satisfying sense of order, they also reveal your age, class, intellect, sexual orientation and whether you have any symptoms […]

The Return Of London Books

Having just had the in-laws to stay, one of the questions that always comes up is where to send them in London. Having narrowly missed packing them off to Borough on the night of the latest attack, one has to think about this carefully. Many friends have children who only want to go to M&M […]

Why Can’t We Make Films Like This?

I stopped reviewing for a while because I was seeing too many movies with date embargoes, but I’ve decided to occasionally mention items I think may be of interest. Here’s one you may not have heard of… It’s hard to make a mainstream comedy with a bit of depth. Hollywood and the UK rarely make […]