Monthly Archives: February 2018

The Friday Song…

…is arriving late owing to a signal failure at Waterloo. Your song will now appear as the Sunday Song, several versus shorter than the scheduled song, on Saturday afternoon. This is because I’m going to visit friends for the weekend, and it would be rude to take my laptop. There are plenty of reasons to […]

What’s The Time, London?

For a city that’s psychologically dominated by a very big grandfather clock* it’s appropriate that clocks and time feature so heavily in the city’s past and present. After all, London is the home of time itself, with the Greenwich Observatory setting Greenwich Mean Time. But there are many other London clocks of note. Big Ben […]

A Week In Esoteric London

Behind the hollowing-out of London, the glass-and-steel boxes of the Square Mile and the architectural uproar of the new railway line Crossrail which has resulted in entire city blocks vanishing overnight, quirky London clings on by its fingertips, surviving in the halls and pubs that haven’t been turned into luxury loft living. This week I […]

Ten Writing Tips That Work

If you’re coming in a few pages short in your manuscript, switch your typeface to Helvetica – it will add around 6 pages to every 100. Sometimes you can streamline and improve your story by imagining it in a different format, a comic book, a play, a piece of art even. A story is malleable; […]

Forgotten Authors: The Addiction That Can’t Be Cured

Readers sometimes ask, ‘Do your characters live with you 24 hours a day?’ to which I (and I suspect most regularly published authors) answer, ‘No, they live in my computer.’ When I turn my mind to stories I do so seated at a desk, although ideas sometimes run in the background if I’m particularly stuck […]

Bits Of London That Moved: Temple Bar

  Quite a few bits of London aren’t how they once looked and are in the wrong place. We do it to confuse visitors. One that I’m glad is back is Temple Bar. It was one of the original ceremonial gateways to the City of London, used for grand parades into the city; there had […]

The Men Are Being Eclipsed? Fine By Me.

Women, eh? They kept their mouths shut for ooh, centuries and then suddenly they’re all over the place demanding stuff. When an empire declines, when a group feels threatened, the aggression comes out – but in these times it takes new, slyly passive-aggressive forms. Opening the papers yesterday I find a new, subtly appalled article […]

Aspects Of London: The Centre Of Magic

It wasn’t until I started researching magic (with or without the ‘k’) in London for ‘Bryant & May: The Lonely Hour’ (2019) that I realised how central to the world of magic is London. The main problem is that real tangible evidence about magic is highly elusive and often unconvincing – but there’s no denying […]

The Pleasure Of Past Horrors

This weekend sees the return of London’s paperback fair, an event which has seen growing numbers of fans and collectors discovering the delights of the humble MMP. The desire to fetishise old analogue items continues apace, with vinyl, reel-to-reel tape recorders, board games and the mass market paperbacks all undergoing big revivals. This doesn’t mean […]

The Friday Song!

Still grounded and feeling kinda low tonight, so Sufjan suits the mood. He’s usually a bit weedy for me, but I like this melancholy track, used in ‘Call Me By Your Name’, the soundtrack of which is nothing if not eclectic. The first time I heard it, I thought he was saying, ‘Is it a […]