Monthly Archives: August 2018

Rewatch: ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’

Today I’m in Somerset. There’s a crisp blue sky. I’m not starting the thriller for a week. I’m going for lunch with friends. What could make the day more perfect? How about a song? I rewatched ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ last night and it’s changed. Here’s how. 1. It’s very slow and a bit hammy. […]

Incoming!

Sally, my PA, says it’s now officially autumn in London. I’m not buying this, as I’ve yet to have my summer holiday (I go next week, off to try some refreshing wines in the delightful vineyards of the Spanish countryside). London is glorious at the moment, fecund and lush and warm, but soon will come […]

Lurid: The New Way Of Looking At Things

I’ve often wondered, when seeing a particularly raunchy film, a daring play or an exhibition, ‘Where can things go from here?’ It’s not a question of censorship; more one of taste. We live in tasteless times. Trump looks like a bright orange clown, UK politicians run from an albino clown, Lord Snooty, Catweazle and Farridge, […]

Goodbye, Neil Simon

Writers fade from fashion, nowhere more than in the field of playwriting. Neil Simon was one of the first playwrights I read from the printed page because the wonderful Samuel French bookshop, late of Fitzrovia and Covent Garden, stocked their own editions of play scripts (and still do, here). Simon delighted in putting his characters […]

A Man Walks Into A Bar

After posting a piece complaining that London is hardly a 24-hour city, there were a lot of comments, one from Emma at 24HourLondon pointing out that their app would locate around-the-clock London hotspots. A neat idea – except that the first three places I picked were all shut. ‘Round the clock’ appears to mean ‘Open […]

Have Your Say On Bryant & May No.19

Much to my surprise, the Bryant & May books are only up to their sixteenth volume. The hardback graphic novel isn’t part of the canon, and at any given time I’m two years ahead of you lot, so I sometimes lose my place. With the seventeenth volume currently going through the editing process and a […]

London Myths No.3 – Londoners Are Unfriendly

Americans in London, always friendly, always effusive, make me feel ashamed of our perceived stand-offishness. Once again we have the war to blame for a massive change in social interaction. The class barriers were ironclad before 1939, and if they didn’t exactly disappear after 1945 a new informal friendliness certainly came in. The land-owning gentry […]

London Myths No.2 – London Is A War Zone

Do we really need to go here? Yes, because when a corrupt dictator tries to turn the USA into a banana republic everyone else suffers, and the offensive, ignorant nonsense he spouted about London was parroted by Fox News, stoking the flames of racism. So, some facts. Terrorist attacks; London is a multicultural democracy of […]

London Myths No.1 – The 24 Hour City

In the next Bryant & May novel, ‘The Lonely Hour’, the Peculiar Crimes Unit switches to night shifts for a week, and utter chaos ensues. To write the novel I stayed up until dawn and watched what goes on around town. Answer; nothing pretty. But there are a lot of people working very hard to […]

Med And Alive

On the Cote D’Azur, Marseille was always the odd destination out. France’s second city is the sunniest, driest coastal area thanks to both the Mistral and the Sirocco. It’s a complex port town with a working class multi-ethnic population, hard to traverse, confusingly filled with hilly streets and back alleys. Founded in 600 BC, it […]