Monthly Archives: April 2018

London Off The Tourist Map: No.3 – Belgravia

Who now lives in Belgravia, long the home of dodgy Russians and old-school Tories? Near Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace Gardens, the upscale streets of Belgravia are defined by elegant townhouse residences, foreign embassies and fancy hotels. But it was once well dodgy. Known as Five Fields, it was a place to cross at your peril, […]

The Dragons Of London

The weather is delightful at the moment so I decided to stroll down to Smithfield Meat Market, as you do, in a combination of research and nosiness. After blogging about the place recently I wanted to see if the work on the Museum of London had started. Something big has begun because the entire area […]

Our Friends In The North

You know the North, it’s where all the bad people live. ‘Winter is Coming’. France is stuck with Brittany, Spain with the Basques. But whisper the heresy…in England it’s not actually very grim up North. The weather yes, obviously, but it seems to me that many Northern writers got stuck with a hometown tag they […]

London Off The Tourist Map: No. 2 – St James’s

St James’s is part of Westminster, and is not an area one naturally strolls through, but it’s used in a lot of films. It’s an odd spot, though, formerly residential (albeit built for the aristocracy), now entirely corporate and the home of embassies. St James’s Palace is the most senior royal palace in the land, […]

When Tomfoolery Gets Tired

There has always been a big market for very silly books, and the best are treasurable. ‘Squire Haggard’s Journal’,  ‘The Ascent of the Rum Doodle’, ‘Modern Types’, ‘My Uncle Harry’, ‘How To Be Topp’ and the whole raft of W Heath Robinson volumess like ‘How To Live In A Flat’ are all delightful, but one […]

Chapter One: ‘Plastic’

  I had such fun writing this novel, at least the first time. Then came rewrites – and more rewrites. The market was changing and publishers’ readers were nervous. Was it a comedy, a thriller, a horror story? In my head it was a female empowerment fable; housewife turns vigilante, like Doris Day with guns […]

From Medium To Media

Today I went to see ‘Fanny & Alexander’, the (three and a half hour, three act) theatre version of the 1982 Ingmar Bergman film, brought to life at London’s Old Vic. It’s a successful adaptation with a purpose; to realign itself specifically for the theatre. The writer, Simon Beresford, has invented new scenes to suit […]

Should The Bryant & May Novels Contain Swearing?

A blog comment from SteveB a while ago about him not liking clever movies is a good place to start a post. I love clever. It’s what I do and how I have the most fun. Sitting through the painfully flat and dull ‘Murder On The Orient Express’, which brings nothing to the remake other […]

Desert Island Books

It’s impossible to choose what you’d take to a desert island – where do you start? I’ve picked a starter-pack of ten terrific books, but the moment I jotted them down I wanted completely different novels. One day I must sort out all my books into ‘read’ and ‘yet to read’. King Dido Alexander Baron […]

London’s Buildings On Film

London buildings were once all about class, from the grand homes of Mayfair and Brixton (!) to the sturdy banks and insurance companies of Holborn. Apparently there’s now even less social mobility here than there was in Victorian times. Want proof? I accidentally discovered this while leafing through old books (yes, I have finally become […]