Monthly Archives: January 2019

Looking Back At The Movies

So how were the movies for you this year? It was the year of the Issue Picture, from the delightful ‘Black Panther’, although based on a sixties comic, to ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’, a moving family drama – the link here being people of colour getting out of the sidelights and into front-centre. There […]

Fake Facts, Real Imagination

In a time of fake news, the story couldn’t be more timely. In America, an article written for a magazine spawned a play and an essay about the negotiability of facts in non-fiction. In 2003 John D’Agata, a writer from the American school of factual overload had an essay spiked for inaccuracies. The piece ostensibly […]

The Perfect Essay

‘There are some questions in life, the very speaking of which are their undoing’ – David Rakoff First, a definition. An article is a piece of writing that is included with others in a newspaper, magazine or other publication. An essay is a short piece of writing on a particular subject. An article is written […]

Reasons To Love The British Library

It’s not the grandest of buildings. It’s designed to be low-profile, to keep open views to the gothic St Pancras, a building that was almost torn down. The BL is friendly and usable, a bit municipal but oddly cosy. And it is home to…deep breath…60,000,000 patents, 13,950,000 books, 8,000,000 stamps, 6,000,000 audio recordings, 4,347,505 maps, 1,607,885 music scores, 824,101 serial titles, 351,116 manuscripts […]

Au Revoir, Michel Legrand

On a rainy night in King’s Cross, London about eight years ago I wandered past the Shaw Theatre, a backstreet venue mostly used for corporate presentations, and saw that Michel Legrand and his orchestra were appearing there. In his eighties then, he was onstage for at least three hours and worked his way through an […]

Those English Films: Your Comments

Some excellent choices came out of the ‘Most English Films’ list, and prompted me to further thoughts. ‘Seance on a Wet Afternoon’ and ‘The Whisperers’ would make a great (if dismal) double bill, and make me suspect we could include any English film with a John Barry score. ‘Little Malcolm’ is a trudge, although I […]

The Most English Films Ever Made

Last night I finished the second draft of my thriller ‘The Villa’, and to relax watched ‘The Little Stranger’, based on the Sarah Waters novel of class and ghosts. Stripped of her fine writing, what’s left is a beautifully photographed, inert British film of mannequin poses, cut-glass accents, falling rain and damp rooms. The book […]

Why We Need To Start Slow Reading

It’s the fault of that bloody woman, Marie Kondo, forcing us all to chuck out our stuff and live with the things that give us joy. ‘Nobody needs more than 30 books,’ she says. Hey Marie, I have news for you. I ‘need’ at least a couple of thousand books, okay? It used to be […]

My Oscar Predictions

    Best Picture: “Black Panther” Marvel enters the Oscars race with a clever ‘woke’ film “BlacKkKlansman” Spike Lee back on form and funny with it. “Bohemian Rhapsody” Cheesy crowd-pleaser even has a ‘Beethoven composing’ moment and shouldn’t be here. “The Favourite” History, fact or deranged fan-fiction? It took me a minute to figure out […]

Well, That Struck A Chord…

Concerning yesterday’s piece, it was indeed the big hair version of the Robinson Crusoe story, made for French television in the sixties, which survives largely because of its delightful George van Parys soundtrack (there’s a full album available). I collect obscure soundtracks because everything comes around again, and you never know when such music may come […]