Monthly Archives: April 2019

The Invisible Novel

People don’t care where quotes come from. Does a book exist if nobody reads it? To the author, certainly. The profoundly innovative, ill-fated Ronald Firbank, who hid entire literary worlds in half-sentences, self-published in ever-shrinking quantities to no acclaim whatsoever. And that was in a time when the writer word was the sole media, so […]

Happy 5000th Anniversary!

What did I want to create? A place of ideas. This shot is from my very first blog post, taken on the South Bank. Actually it’s 5002 now – articles, that is. I passed the milestone this week, having written and illustrated an article for this blog nearly every day for eleven years. When I […]

On Being Ill

  The beacon of shining health you see before you when I attend readings is a misleading image. Like most other writers I’ve met I was a sickly child who became a physically delicate young man. Over the years you become inured to the role you have been assigned; the one who gets cancers along […]

Fun With Inanimate Objects

Choosing a children’s book these days is a complicated matter. First there’s the question of age-appropriate levels, and if it’s an old book, the matter of political correctness. If it’s classed as Young Adult you’ll find yourself surrounded by fiction featuring teens in nightmarish dystopias facing the kind of moral challenges that would reduce an […]

Gomorrah Never Dies

So, finishing up our Italian week, there’s this. For over two decades I watched no TV at all. I was running a company , working late, writing during every second of spare time. Working at home restored my TV habit a little, thanks to the relaxed structure and better writing of US streamer shows. I […]

Burke’s Law

Good popular writers are hired to be chameleons. The downside is that they go unnoticed. They write short films, books and stage plays sponsored by products, or performance pieces to show off actors’ ranges. One such fellow was John Burke, who had the oddest of all writers’ jobs – he’d take an original film and return […]

Saw Naples, Didn’t Die

Heading home, crazy week ahead, so if you’re thinking of visiting Naples these are my bullet-point observations. Go if you want to get the sights and smells of a rough working port that feels like a mash-up of Marseilles, Havana and Istanbul. Visit the National Archeological Museum and the Modern Art gallery. Visit Herculaneum over […]

See Naples Without Dying

The Easter break arrived in time for a cheeky trip to Naples. I’d not been, it’s not far away and it’s weekend friendly. Cultural overload, I imagined, too much to see in a short break. Except that it’s now Saturday and I haven’t even started, because Naples misled me; instead of hitting the National Architectural […]

Let’s Have Something Italian

I’m off, you lot. It’s Easter, London is going to be ‘hotter than Morocco’ (another unit of measurement) and I’m heading to Herculaneum with some friends, to eat pasta and look at mosaics and watch another series of Gommorah on the way there to put me in the mood. So, here’s Fergie being Italian, from […]

Not So Stupid

When Mad magazine grew too tame for me I ended up reading National Lampoon, which grew out of the Harvard Lampoon and became a powerhouse of intelligent satire at a time when the USA needed an opposing voice. NatLamp parodied the presidencies through Vietnam, Kent State, Spiro Agnew, Watergate and every other social/ political disaster […]