Monthly Archives: December 2021

The Man who Wound a Thousand Clocks

It’s time for a story. I wrote this a very long time ago, when I was very enamoured with Persian culture. I’ll drop the second half tomorrow. ————– The Sultan Omar Mehmet Shay-Tarrazin was a ruler much given to statistics, not particularly through his own choice. It was simply that he had so much of […]

A Very Little Christmas

My family was never big on occasions. My parents forgot my 21st birthday (back when it was the ‘key of the door’, the key of the door now being 14), we all regularly forgot or failed to mark each other’s big birthdays. My brother always actively avoided his and my mother decided that it was […]

Reviews: ‘Benediction’ and ‘Eternals’

Terence Davies is one of arthouse-lovers’ more demanding directors, from ‘The House of Mirth’ and ‘The Deep Blue Sea’, films in which literary forms are thrillingly re-interpreted, to ‘The Long Day Closes’, with its infamous minutes-long close-up of a piece of carpet (strangely moving). His films are restrained and nuanced. These days he struggles to find […]

Have A Very Snowy Christmas!

This year, the usual festive Christmas hamper at Fowler Towers is being replaced by a Turkey Meal-For-One, after which Admin will retire to his room with a copy of ‘Bleak House’ (cf. Hancock’s Half Hour: ‘Christmas will be just like any other day in this house – dead miserable.’) I had been wondering what more […]

The Beasts Beneath

Some years ago, I was sitting in a Soho taxi late at night when its driver was violently attacked by two drunk businessmen who walked across his path. I agreed to act as the driver’s witness, but outside the courtroom the police persuaded the plaintiff to drop his case in exchange for cash. The driver […]

The Books That Don’t Exist

These are the books which are hard to find in bookshops, being independently published or self-published. In a way, Amazon has levelled the playing field for us seekers of rarities, as it is now possible to find all manner of strange and highly specific books dedicated to unlikely subjects. Bookshops can’t stock print-on-demand volumes and […]

Yet More Films To Look Out For!

This is the time of the year when I have to see 100+ films to vote in the British Academy. These mini-reviews are merely pointers for viewing purposes and don’t necessarily represent my choices. A Lot of Lustre At the end of the last film column I suggested we have better stories to tell than […]

The Comments: No Comment!

One of the hugely enjoyable benefits of churning out this weekly grab-bag of topics known as a writer’s blog is the Comments Section. Readers are happy to sound off on any subject under the sun. Sadly, we’ve lost quite a few delightfully eccentric and knowledgeable commenters over the years. I’ll have to add some bits […]

More Films To Look Out For

You won’t have to look hard to find ‘West Side Story’ – it will no doubt win big at the Oscars; after last year’s dour ‘Nomadland’ audiences could do with an uplift and this fits the bill. It’s respectful of the original, replaces the white actors with a properly Puerto Rican cast, finds a new […]

This Week’s Page Turners

I haven’t caught up with any graphic novels for a while, so I tried Albert Monteys and Ryan North’s adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Slaughterhouse 5’. It was never a favourite novel of mine, an uneasy and peculiar mix of satire, war memoir, farce and science fiction, but this is a superbly realised project that captures […]