Monthly Archives: December 2018

Auschwitz: Beyond Hope

Beyond belief, but not beyond understanding The bus to Auschwitz was playing Christmas songs. An hour and a quarter out of Krakow the driver switched from Perry Como to Cliff Richard just as we passed the dark birch forest surrounding the site of the camps. It appeared like an image from old war films; the […]

‘The Lonely Hour’ Full Cover

One of the happiest experiences in my publishing life has been watching the Bryant & May covers mature and remain remarkably consistent. This is now my favourite cover of them all. If we could just repaint No.2, ‘The Water Room’ and get rid of the Simpsons I’d be even happier. Semiotically, the covers send out […]

Mary Poppins Returns With A Vengeance

What is it about the woman’s name that causes Londoners to mangle their vowels and virtually decapitate themselves with their tongues? First we had Dick Van Dyke inventing a new language, and now we have Lin-Manuel Miranda strangling the life out of the OED in his role as cockney lamplighter. Only Don Cheadle ever attempted […]

What The Author Did Next

    NB. The photos: I was on the South Bank last night after seeing Ralph Fiennes in ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ and took these shots, sitting by the Thames with friends and beers. Despite the fact that London now looks like Singapore, you can still find a pub with an upturned flowerpot for an ashtray. […]

When I Hated Being A Writer

  You might fill a church hall but you’re not Beyoncé I was once in a European bookshop when the bookseller asked; ‘Are you famous?’ I turned to my friend. ‘Am I famous?’ She considered the question for a moment. ‘Well,’ she told the bookseller, ‘he’s known.’ There was a time when I became known […]

London In Their Words 1

Today, as heavy grey veils of rain drape London, sinking us into a semi-darkness that acts as a reminder that we are a Northern and virtually Nordic capital, here are some views of the metropolis from residents in their own words…   I am the city whose fog will fall like a finger gently Erasing […]

Start Your Own Shitstorm!

I did a bad thing. I upset a Milennial. He’s some guy with a narrow jacket and a children’s TV show haircut who was swanking off online about his latest article in a pointless freesheet known mainly for publishing recycled press releases about trainers and beard gel. After I made a joke about the rag […]

What The Author Did Next

  Christmas is approaching – it’s the time from which writers theoretically derive most of their earnings. This isn’t usually the case for me because my books tend to be published in spring and autumn. I don’t have the weight to punch through the scrum of summer holiday/ Christmas publications. This year and next year, […]

The Writers’ Secret Weapon

It’s a beverage whose trade was used to build a workforce of drug addicts Last night at the Crime Writers Association Christmas Party someone reminded me that I wrote a couple of pieces about the ritual of tea, and asked if I could find them, so I’ve combined the main points into a single article. […]

Writers & ‘Imposter Syndrome’

The book is the book is the book. As used by Michelle Obama, the term ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is, I suppose, what used to be called ‘low self-esteem’, in that it refers to the feeling that you don’t have the right to be here. ‘It doesn’t go away, the feeling that you shouldn’t take me that […]