Monthly Archives: October 2019

Bombage To Catalonia

Only one thing could mess up my travel plans. Summer dies. Autumn storms sweep in. It’s still around 24C in Barcelona, but it’s wild and wet, with the kind of thunderstorms that usually only occur in horror films. The local ladies are now wearing their autumn outfits, which involve padded jackets and layers of scarves. […]

Bryant & May Go Mad & Take Me With Them

And so to our most recent batch of readers’ comments on where to send Bryant & May next. (This still makes me think of my mother saying ‘I think you’ve mined out that particular seam, dear,’ after volume 5). Monuments; When the British build a monument, they first have dinner inside it, cf. Crystal Palace, […]

Bryant & May And The Exhausted Writer

Thanks everyone for some interesting suggestions about what to do with Bryant & May for their twentieth excursion. Some of these ideas have already been covered. I’ve written about the Blackheath plague pits twice before in short stories. The stories appeared in the shared-world ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ anthologies. When I was small much of the heath […]

Bryant & May And…What?

‘I see your lips moving but only nonsense comes out,’ said Bryant. ‘You might as well be French.’ Update: In three weeks’ time ‘Bryant & May: England’s Finest’ comes out in the UK featuring 12 new missing cases from the files of the Peculiar Crimes Unit and exploring the mysteries of the Covent Garden diva […]

Writer’s Rules: Not Everything Needs Explaining

Not everything needs spelling out. During America’s Great Depression, MGM and Warner Brothers made a fortune from relentlessly upbeat musicals. After Watergate came a slew of films that explored and explained how things became so broken. And now, when the young are facing the kind of crises they really shouldn’t have to worry about until […]

The Illustrated Man

It was rather like a smart wake. I had missed the news of the illustrator Vic Fair’s passing some while back, so this week I attended an exhibition of his work, held in Lauderdale House, a Tudor mansion built in 1582, visited by Charles II and lived in by Nell Gwynn, set in Waterlow Park, Highgate. […]

How This Blog Ended Up As It Is

Books. It’s meant to be about books. Specifically my books. At least, that was the plan at the start – in 2008 my publisher wanted me to start a book blog and dedicate one side of it to direct selling. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I’m the world’s worst networker. At a party […]

When The Jokes Stop

How did we get from there to here? In 1940, comic book villain the Joker was introduced as a lunatic criminal with a warped sense of humour. The DC Comics universe was rich in superheroes but was never so good with villains. Superman had Lex Luther and Brainiac but Batman’s Joker stood out. In the 1950s […]

The Future Isn’t That Much Fun

Remember when you first did something that felt like genuinely being in the future and how excited you were? It might have been getting in a new car, or seeing a movie in 3D, or trying a new kind of computer for the first time. For me, it was a trip on Concorde. I went […]

Out Of Control: US & UK Attitudes To Firearms

Here’s a subject I came across in the online Nature magazine (the academic periodical of British sciences). Today many Americans see the gun as a symbol of freedom from state control, and credit 1791’s Second Amendment for having saved the newly freed US from the fate of Britain’s other colonies. But in the UK guns were […]