Monthly Archives: August 2018

Med And Buried

  The Mediterranean gets a bad rap from the British these days; too expensive, too crowded, no longer the playground of the those rich young playthings about whom Noel Coward wrote ‘Mentally congealed lilies of the field, they lie in flock along the rocks because they have to get a tan.’ Before then, nobody tanned […]

Moving, Hilarious…And Forgotten

Norman Collins had the prime requirement for a writer; he was naturally interested in the daily lives of others. He was a populist and a bit of an ethnographer, but these days we remember him better for his other career, first running radio’s Light Programme (which had grown out of popular entertainment for the forces), […]

‘I Say, Look Here!’

You have to get past the language first. Then the attitudes of the times; servants are there to be berated, foreigners sniggered at, women to be divided into maiden aunts and popsies, men rated by their class. But once you strip away the ephemeral language you often find diamond-bright tales of deception. Martin Edwards is […]

London With Its Pants Down

There are a number of terrific books about London’s underbelly, but the two I’ve enjoyed most in a very long time are these, ‘Beautiful Idiots and Brilliant Lunatics’ and ‘High Buildings, Low Morals’ by Rob Baker. The former title comes from a quote by Oscar Wilde, the latter from Noel Coward. Rob is a fellow […]

Table of Contents

Short stories are easy to write. Good short stories are tricky. Great ones are all but impossible. They become poems where every word has to carry its weight, and I have yet to write one which satisfies me entirely. When it comes to read, you occasionally find a perfect tale. I own hundreds of short […]

The Ideas That Didn’t Make It

For every plot I come up with that makes it into a book, there are twenty that don’t make the cut. Because I’ve paced technology throughout my career, I’ve changed systems with each new technological development and have no hard copies or online files from the past, so I’ve not been able to save these […]

Fairy Tale Films For Grown-Ups

The granddaddy of fairy tale films remains ‘La Belle et Le Bête’, but lately there has been a resurgence in a genre that Disney demoted to sentimental kiddie fare for so long. When I look through my terrifyingly vast collection of weird movies, I suddenly realise how few Hollywood films there are. From the country […]

Mission: Implausible

I thought the IMF stood for International Monetary Fund. Then I realised it had something to do with Tom Cruise. Somehow I had missed ‘Mission Impossible’ nos 2-5, after being bored witless by the first one, which for me ruined the premise of the TV series by blowing away the entire team except for little […]

Are We There Yet?

No. And we’re not going to be, either. Sometimes don’t you catch yourself thinking ‘If only I could suffer all the pain of airports without having to go through the boring holiday bit in between’? Well, I just did. Yesterday morning I set off for Marseilles from London. Eight hours later I was still in […]

The Friday Song!

I’m heading off with my downstairs neighbours to Marseilles for the weekend – the English add an ‘s’ at the end for some reason – and I’m not taking this laptop with me because I just delivered the final version of the new Bryant & May novel, ‘The Lonely Hour’, to my agents last night […]