Monthly Archives: March 2018

Bookshops VS Amazon

A Kindle is like a toaster; it only does one thing. And its sales seem to have hit the buffers. This is not because readers don’t like onscreen reading, but because multipurpose devices have taken over; we now read on phones and tablets too, and we listen on audio. The Kindle did what the iPod […]

Night At The Cinema Museum 2

I think my taste has always been a bit suspect; I’ll quite happily watched terribly flawed films if they have an odd sensibility, but I cannot forgive poor writing. So my trash-aesthetic is a lower-set bar for films than books. Here are there remaining choices I made for the poor devils at the Cinema Museum, […]

Night At The Cinema Museum 1

I started to write this piece some time ago but never finished it – so I’ve concluded it now, and am running it over two days. ‘British film’ has always been a bit of a tautology, the punchline to a national joke on a par with ‘British car industry’. When I was in my early […]

London’s Secret Call To Arms

In March 1941, there occurred one of those odd little footnotes in history that most people have now forgotten about. Winston Churchill needed to prevent public morale from sinking. He knew the Germans were about to retaliate by hitting London and they did – on May 10 the city suffered its worst raid, with 2,500 […]

‘It’s All Getting A Bit French’

…So said a character in a British movie when everyone started getting aggressive. I thought of it because recently, a waiter who worked at a Vancouver restaurant was sacked for being ‘rude and disrespectful’, and has filed a complaint against his former employer, insisting his approach to the job was simply down to him being French. […]

A Song Puzzle & News Update

In the new Bryant & May novel ‘Hall of Mirrors’, the chapter headings feature song titles (this graphic courtesy of Twitter’s delightful @maliceafore) which are evocative of the nineteen sixties – the book is set at the end of that tumultuous decade as it overdoses on itself and declines. To amuse myself I sometimes hide […]

I Live In Trafalgar Square

I was looking through books on the English music hall when I stumbled across this once-popular song. It was recorded numerous times and proved a great hit on the stage. I’m interested in the peculiar cadences that instantly define this song as ‘music hall’ – it could hardly be anything else with those chords. Of […]

Patriotism & Me

Recently a good friend of this site asked if I was too Londoncentric, and thinking about this led to a bigger question about patriotism. We live in divisively patriotic times. Putin is attempting wholesale western disruption in the name of Mother Russia. The US President’s risky me-first strategy will either start a trade war that […]

Shakespeare-Phobes, Here’s How To Get The Bard

  Each year I write a short piece on Mr Billy Shakespeare, and this is today’s. It’s not enough to be able to decipher the more complex parts of the Bard’s work (would that we all had enough time to do so), we have to discover it through sometimes appallingly modish stage re-inventions (I’ve sat […]

Today’s The Day! ‘Hall Of Mirrors’ Is Launched

Okay, I’m a newcomer to crime & mystery genre, unless you count The Girl On The Train. Nobody counts The Girl on the Train. So you want to know what to read? Something less remedial, perhaps? Yes, I’d like a good murder mystery with memorable characters. You’ve come to the right place, squire. I’m your […]