Monthly Archives: June 2020

Alien Territory Part 1

In a month of dire warnings about Russian spies, Chinese viruses, American fascism, global heating (six months left to fix it, apparently, which means the planet is doomed before I can get tickets for the National Theatre again) watching say, ‘The Salisbury Poisonings’ or reading Cormac McCarthy seems like a little light entertainment. Meanwhile, scientists […]

Splitters!

Are authors allowed to talk about anything other than their creations? JK Rowling was absolutely right to make public her argument that untransitioned males should not have full female rights. In time-honoured fashion she laid out her thoughts clearly, humanely and fairly in an essay which has now made her the target of ill-informed criticism […]

Trouble At The Home Office

  This week’s challenge is to create two separate offices in one open-plan flat without damaging the way either of us work. We don’t want to wreck the design integrity or leave cables and peripherals all over the place. The first idea was to fit a desk where those two sofa units at the front […]

Shop ‘Til You Drop?

The command has come down from on high, against the advice of scientists. We must all rush back to Oxford Street, hurdling the partitions, one-way systems, guards and staff armed with antiseptic sprays to…er, browse for knick-knacks. My mother-in-law in Australia tells me they had near-riots when the shops reopened there, people fighting to get […]

We Need To Talk About Context

The removal of the Fawlty Towers episode ‘The Germans’ for a racial slur was the standard reaction one would expect about now, while the BLM movement gets up to speed, no problem there, although I’m sure a lot of sclerotic shires folk exploded with rage about it. The action provided a talking point. Ultimately Black […]

Nurse! The Screens!

This column is going to be like the comments section; all over the place. But it probably reflects my fractured mindset at the moment. Morphine, I thought, having instant thoughts of Sax Rohmer and Anna May Wong, does it have a place in the modern medicine cabinet? I checked the bottle. A liquid with a […]

Back In The Jug Agane

The healing process is not quite as linear as I’d hoped it would be. Not to sound too Blanche Dubois, but there are good days and ones where the mirrors must be turned… So let’s look at the good news. I’ve been nominated for several awards. The Last Laugh for Best Comic Novel, for ‘The […]

The Voice Behind The Prose

I finally understand what I like about her most. She was cruelly funny. Cynical. Erudite. Surreal. Succinct. A blunt-spoken woman with a chaotic love life, two suicide attempts, twenty novels and a love of Liverpool pubs, and she wrote less like an angel than a demon. There were plenty of attempts to nail down Beryl Bainbridge’s writing […]

Ouch!

I used to be quite good friends with Clive Barker. The next time I see him, remind me to kick his teeth down his throat. Clive knew quite a bit about pain. He wrote about it in the most visceral, extraordinary way, as if no-one had ever written about it before, as a living thing, […]

The Lockdown Diaries: It’s The Final Lockdown

Wellness is a right, not a privilege. This is the last post covering my fairly unusual journey of the last ten weeks. I’ve reached the so-called 3 day pain peak of my cancer in a time of pandemic (uncomfortable and exhausting but not without moments of hilarity). After the weekend I’ll emerge having learned a few […]