Monthly Archives: April 2019

Arthur Bryant, Tour Guide

In ‘Bryant & May: The Lonely Hour’ I’ve punctuated the chapters with chunks of the speeches Arthur Bryant gives as a London tour guide, and it made me wonder if I should write a ‘Bryant & May Guide to London’ at some point. It would have to include lots of pointless, peculiar and abstruse information […]

My Mother’s Puzzle

My mother loved puzzles of every kind. As children we were encouraged to investigate clues and understand paradoxes, and the house was covered in puzzle books. She could crack most cryptic crossword puzzles in minutes and often wrote shopping notes in code, a mixture of Pitman shorthand and her own weird abbreviations. This love of […]

The British System Of Unreliable Measurement

Helen of Troy’s face launched a thousand ships. As a unit of measurement I find this unreliable. How many ships could a king launch? We know Nigel Farage is the face that launched a thousand lunches, so perhaps we should adopt the Farage as a measurement of failure and shallow thinking. On the rare occasions […]

The Author As Lighthouse Keeper

Last week our London flat was besieged; there was drilling from the gutted apartment below, hammering from the roofers above and steeplejacks were clambering past all the windows. The once-every-7-years building renovation had coincided with neighbours’ makeovers. Electric saws were operating at variable pitches, sounding like bassoons on feedback. I’m not normally sensitive to such […]

Je Suis Arthur Bryant

When I started the Bryant & May series, somewhat by accident, I was still a ‘cult’ author (ie. popular in a tiny number of bookshops near universities or within a three mile radius of the wrong side of Leicester Square) known for my dark and saucy ‘edge’, whatever that is. I was photographed against gothic […]

Scoured Silk

Bob Low recommended this surprising story by Margery Bowen in yesterday’s comments section, so I tracked it down for you (legally!)  This is a tale that might be told in many ways and from various points of view; it has to be gathered from here and there — a letter, a report, a diary, a […]

The ‘Tragedy’ Of Marjorie Bowen

We look back on authors’ lives and judge them according to popularity and success, but the picture is of course more complicated than that. Bowen is an author whose life was as fascinating as her output. She was born Margaret Gabrielle Vere Campbell Long in 1885 on Hayling Island, Hampshire (that picture above looks surprisingly […]

Re:View – ‘US’

Horror films don’t have to make sense; in fact, it’s better if they don’t. Writer-directorJordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’ was at its best while it was making everyone uncomfortable about racism and did so in an unexpected way, by making the white liberals appear to be trying hard to say the right thing. Those awkward exchanges […]

Let’s Go To The Pictures!

Let’s go to my local, the Everyman Cinema. It’s small and cosy and has just three screens, not 75. It has a snazzy bar. The staff are terrific. A waitress brings you food and wine in the cinema. You have little sofas and cushions. And it costs a fricken’ arm and a leg, transforming a […]

Stream Of Unconsciousness

Saudi Arabia is going online with an unlicensed nuclear reactor created from private business documents in the US. Labour and Tory are uniting to destroy both their parties. Things getting a bit too crazy for you out there? You don’t know crazy. We haven’t had an update from Maggie Armitage lately, so here’s a batch of […]