Monthly Archives: October 2019

The Echo Of Wormwood

America’s prime serious documentarian is Errol Morris, a man who does not merely recount events to a timeline but who brings a profound artistic sensibility to the gradual unfolding of truth. From ‘The Thin Blue Line’ and ‘The Fog of War’ to ‘Standard Operating Procedure’, the story of Abu Ghraib, Morris’s films are mood pieces […]

Books! Books! Books!

  Do non-readers ever truly understand readers? I suspect not. Last night we happy few were ensconced in Heffers, one of the nation’s most delightful bookshops, talking about the crime genre. But newly returned from Cambridge, my head is still filled with Harry Potter. I did not personally enjoy the two volumes I read but […]

Living In A Box

You can have your genetic code analysed to find out where you’re from, but it can’t tell you who you are. I recently had dinner with some very nice social-data analysts, who told me that statistically I was an outlier who didn’t fit their paradigms. The press is full of data telling us about how we […]

We’re Going Where The Sun Shines Brightly: Travel Horror Stories

Today I’m slipping through the eye of the hurricane between the Catalan protests and the General Strike planned for Friday. The road to the airport has been unblocked and I’m outta here. Oddly, despite my bad experiences in seven years of owning a flat in Barcelona (mugged, robbed, insulted, caught up in terrorist attack etc) […]

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. […]