Monthly Archives: May 2020

No Posts This Weekend

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Bingewatching: ‘Veep’

While I loved the political spin comedy series ‘The Thick Of It’ I always suspected that the show was built around a single repeating plot; confirm, reverse, panic, deny, lacing the events with Malcolm Tucker’s potty-mouth asides. The US reboot ‘Veep’ began the same way with Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) failing to understand the basic principles […]

The Lockdown Diaries 14: The Rock & The Hard Place

When you go to hospital you fantasise that it will look like this. A cross between ‘2001’ and ‘Gattacca’. This was the view in my hospital at 9:00am today. A cross between an Alan Bennett play and Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’. It has no external windows (because of radiation). The suites have the unlikely names […]

This Is Not A Test: Questions About Crime Novels

While I cleared all of the second-rate crime novels from the shelves that I have hung onto for sentimental reasons, I was thinking about what crime novels could or should be. Here are a few questions I have about crime fiction in general. Crime accounts for over a third of all fiction published in the […]

The Lockdown Diaries 13: Priti Patel Wants Me To Die

Two days ago text messages suddenly poured in from privately-partnered medical companies who are ambulance-chasing unnecessary services. I started to get an inkling of just how far the government was selling the NHS down the river before the virus kicked in. These have been followed by a sudden flurry of government letters warning me about […]

The Lockdown Diaries 12: The Absence Of An Umbrella

Doctors and nurses have no time to mess about; you listen carefully, you obey and if complications ensue it’s probably because you haven’t followed their instructions properly. I found myself in this situation after discovering I had been given 10 ampoules of salt water and some rubber grommets I didn’t know what to do with. […]

Typical, Nothing But Repeats

Today I’m in and out of hospital so I wasn’t going to post, but nosing through the staggeringly long sidebar of past entries I’ve collected on this site I thought it would be fun to post a paragraph from the first few that I opened in a kind of bran tub of snippets. If you […]

London In The Tropics

The brutality of tropical life shocked the unprepared British I’m not sure I can sustain the image of a rainswept London for much longer in my fiction. It’s rapidly ceasing to exist. This year London has been hotter than Ibiza; nearly three months of blazing sun so far, crystal skies, birdsong and emerald fecundity. The […]

If There Was Ever A Time To Fall In Love With Books It’s Now

Readers wouldn’t dream of standing near each other. Lockdown began on March 23rd. It is now May 20th. We have learned a lot by staying at home and pressing the reset button. We can connect instead of avoiding each other and more focussed thinking can replace replace speed-skimming through our days. We’re reprioritising who is […]

The Lockdown Diaries 11: Chemo-Lad VS Fear

As the ultimate nerdy child who could end up in A&E after tripping off a kerb with a book in one hand, I sensed I would enjoy a lifetime peppered with doctors’ visits. The annual vaccines were a staple, of course; polio, dypyheria and others that left giant permanent scorch patterns on the upper arm. […]