Monthly Archives: December 2019

The British Bee Hive

I first became properly aware of this image when I saw it used as an enormous front-cloth in ‘Sweeney Todd’ on Broadway. George Cruikshank’s etching was designed in 1840 and was brought up to date by him in 1867. I’d like to have included a much larger image but it’s readily available online. The political […]

The Friday Song

To commemorate Mr Trump visiting London with a thousand armed minders making sure that protesters couldn’t reach him, I thought we’d have a little number dedicated to the NRA. NB Not intended as a comment on US foreign policy.    

How Popular Cinema Could Be Popular Again

Cinema was always called the populist medium. Generations of young audiences grew up with Bambi and Batman, Tarzan and Terminator, then went on to the world of Marvel superheroes, cheerfully unaware that these stories stemmed from comics dating back to the 1960s. Hollywood is going through one of its periodic growing pains. Its domestic revenue […]

The Obsession That Wrecks Writers

My English teacher told me: ‘Specialise. Nobody likes a good all-rounder.’ Of course I was filled with youthful stupidity and ignored him, wasting years trying to please everyone instead of myself.  During this time I had ample opportunity to study other writers and quickly identified an odd group. Instead of talking about the craft they obsessed […]

What I’m Reading In December 2

The rest of my bedside table stack comprises; ‘Crime Fiction: A Reader’s Guide’ by the ever-dependable Barry Forshaw. From anyone else a book that’s essentially a collection of suggestions for crime readers might not pass muster, but in Mr Forshaw’s hands it becomes an expert’s check-list of essential must-reads. ‘Operation Mincemeat’ by Ben Macintyre delves […]

What I’m Reading In December

As the papers fill with ‘Best Of’ lists we’re being presented with all sorts of interesting books for the winter months, plus some not-very-well-hidden PR promotions. Bookshops charge for table space and listings magazine charge for entries, so to counteract these here’s a selection from my current reading pile, my only agenda being enjoyment and/or […]

The Finest Christmas Views

Yesterday morning London was filled with dense violet fog. Only later in the day did the dome of St Paul’s loom out, followed by the spire of the Shard. There are always a few days in November when London feels correctly autumnal, just as Christmas in the capital tends to arrive in January. Every year […]