Title

Why I Published This Piece

Christopher Fowler
I was very touched to see the comments to this column. I’m lucky to have some of the very kindest readers. I had written the piece out of necessity. When I sat down to look at the jumble of short stories, articles and novels I’d left on my laptop I had an epiphany;  Ie. ‘This lot is going to continue rolling onwards whether or not I’m around. Shit.’ I had publishers working out their future timings, editors planning dates into next year, events for summer 2023. But earlier I had received my cancer prognosis, which showed that my rogue cells had spread a further 20% through my organs. The treatment was halted and I’d been discharged like a disruptive influence being kicked out of school and sent home. Clearly I needed to inform those directly affected of what was going on. But I also had to tell colleagues and anyone planning future events for me. This was the best place to do it. I needed to commence a handover of my outstanding work, which is already prepping into next year. I still plan to do a reading next month here, with the proviso that the organiser will understand if I'm too sick to attend. You can imagine this venue has limited space. Now I’m having a cheeky six days in Turkey - actually I could have come here for a month but there’s stuff to do in London. As soon as I’m back I’ll be signing the new book. PS Below in Comments - The Husband’s first post ever! Out Of The Limelight Dept: I got to spend some time with Sally, my PA and one of my oldest friends. She doesn't get much of a mention here because she's painfully publicity-shy but she's been the organising force around this joint for many years, and before that at my old company. Plus, she has an encyclopaedic knowledge of old British films. We sat on the terrace and had rosé and summer fruits and set the world to rights. Sally is smart and funny and in ridiculously fine health for a lady in her sixties. When difficult times hit you care about not hurting your friends and family the most, so it was great for us to spend some quality time together. I've always been very lucky to find kind, good people around me. Life is too brief to be unhappy in your work or your choice of friends. Enough Of That Dept: I'm planning to stop the blog when it reaches renewal time, as it's reaching the end of its shelf-life. I'm aware that the Comments have shifted from readers with direct experience of topics under discussion to something that feels more like random chatroom static. This is partly my fault for not spending more time on curation, but over the last three years my hours have been forcibly divided. The need for the blog is not as great as it was, but while I can I'll continue on Twitter, which I still find useful. I still have several finished books to be published, which places me in an appropriately peculiar position with publishers, agents etc. I recall the fuss over 'Virginia Andrews' continuing to flog a comatose horse long after she had departed this realm, leading the IRS to charge her for earning too much as a dead person. For the full story, see 'The Book of Forgotten Authors'. Turkish Delight Dept: It seems perverse to be leaving London on the hottest day of the year but tomorrow is my last day here for a week. Today I'll be stock signing at Goldsboro Books, then dining with friends at Guy Ritchie's pub in Fitzrovia. The following morning I'll be heading to the Turkish coast to track down The Husband, who is on a boat somewhere (he's happiest on water). He'll be coming back to earth so that we can grab a few days together - we've a lot to discuss. While I'm away London is set to break all heat records, so I'll actually be visiting a cooler country. When I return I'll hopefully be well-read and well-rested. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?  

Comments

Susan (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 08:31

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I’m so sorry to hear that, but glad to see your pleasure in life is undimmed.
I have loved your writing since a friend recommended Roofworld back in about 1990 and I’ve been thrilled by the books, your humour and especially the depictions of London ever since

Martin+Tolley (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 09:38

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

So sorry to hear your bad news. Have a good holiday. We must all of us make the most of every day. Peculiar London arrived a minute past midnight, made my day. Thanks for another great read. Bit tearful now. Keep cool.

Sully (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 11:52

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Please know that if ever, whenever, & wherever you go, you'll take a little piece of each of us with you, and leave a bit of you with us. And we'll always have London.

Wayne (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 12:25

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

So it's with a slightly melancholic note that the B&M book arrives, I'm so sorry to hear that the prognoses is not good. I wish you every possible happiness for whatever comes along. Enjoy your holiday, and meeting up with your Husband. I've been enjoying your books for years. Thank you for the happiness you've bought to my life through the words you've written. I've been with you since Spanky grabbed my attention while perusing audio books (on cassette) in HMV way back when....

All the best and long may you grace the bookshelves of the world.

Stu-I-Am (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 12:58

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Deeply, deeply saddened. 'Ars longa, vita brevis,' is all I can choke out right now.

linda+ayres (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 13:16

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Saddened to hear the news, am on my way to collect Peculiar London. What is there to say but " Thank you" for the joy you have given so many of us. Enjoy your break with your other half, do what feels right for you.

Stu-I-Am (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 13:24

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Once again. For CF with gratitude.

I Knew Him Then

There’s no ending while the memory’s there,
Though haze may others dull, it’s always fair.
And as the years and pages go flitting by,
I reach for the books with a happy sigh.
And read once more, and then again,
Smile and say, I knew him then.

Paul C (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 13:27

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Terrible news - there are no words. Profound thanks for your dazzling books which will certainly endure. Bless you - you're a fine man with many admirers here.

John Griffin (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 13:29

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you for years of genuine reader enjoyment and a connection to one of the most entertaining and whimsical literary minds I've encountered.

Lorraine (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 13:46

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Oh no Chris. :( so sorry to hear that news. Your books have always been top of my reading list - even before the glorious Bryant and May years and they always give me joy and laughter when I revisit them. Many of my friends have also become fans after recommending they visit the wonderful, bizarre world of the PCU. Enjoy your holiday and I'll look forward to reading anything else you write. My very best wishes....

Jo W (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 14:26

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Oh Chris, I cannot find any words to really express what I am feeling now. Just enjoy yourselves now, you and Pete and leave happy memories behind you. See you on twitter, much love as always, Jo and Alan xx

Joan (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 14:27

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Gosh, that is sad news Chris. I wish you all the best. I guess I’ll have to open a Twitter account now to follow your doings. Take care and enjoy your holiday!

Peter T (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 14:55

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

As everyone above has written better than I can. The waves of joy you have generated will spread and live on forever. And, finally, my apologies for being one of the worst for random chatting.

Cornelia Appleyard (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 14:59

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

So sorry to hear this.
Adding to the best wishes to both of you.

Phil Babbs (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 15:44

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I am really sorry to hear your news. I am no good with words, specially the right ones so I will just say thank you for enriching my life with your books and this blog. Journey well.

Stu-I-Am (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 15:47

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

If this is to be the last post --- good-bye to friends (and others). It has been grand. May you find the same joy in the rest of your lives as you do from reading Christopher Fowler. Pāx vōbīscum.

Mira (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 16:58

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Even though you had warned us, this is still shocking news. Thank you for years of reading pleasure, both your books and your blog. Even though I comment rarely, I feel as though I know you and have tears in my eyes as I type. Please have fun meeting up with your husband, and get some rest. Thank you again, more than I can say.

mike (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 17:33

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

A sad day for you and us.

Judith Bassett (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 19:52

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I am so sorry the news is not good, but heartened by your take on the situation. I have been a fan since I stumbled across Bryant and May purely by accident and I’m totally hooked. Peculiar London arrived today and I’m just about to dip into it. I have all the books and I cried when Arthur died. I have learnt so much about London from the books, and I thank you with all my heart for the joy you’ve given me. Enjoy every day.x

Helen+Martin (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 20:44

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

We always hoped for a positive result and join with everyone above in wishing you and Pete the best of whatever there is. Thank you for all you've given us.
Helen and Ken

Richard (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 21:04

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I quit reading the comments a couple of years ago, Chris, but I've never stopped reading you. Thank you, many times over, for all the fine words.

BarbaraBoucke (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 22:25

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Bryant and May just crossed the Atlantic and made it all the way across the States to the West Coast and my house. If what I say seems simplistic - so be it. We - none of us - knows what lies ahead. You go to Turkey and meet up with Pete and sort out whatever you need to sort out, and enjoy your time together there. Then you come back to London - Egyptian geese, hot weather, and all - and take things one day at a time. I wish you the best, and I thank Arthur - once again - for boiled sweets and Cumberland sausage.

Debra Matheney (not verified) Fri, 15/07/2022 - 23:37

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I have so loved the B and M series. They are unique, and I have loved every minute reading them. Peculiar London is on its way to California as I write this. May you find some comfort in all pleasure you have brought to others. Now is the time to enjoy your time with those you love. I am deeply saddened by your news and will miss the pleasure of looking forward to your next book. It is all so very sad.

H (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 04:42

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

What Paul C and John Griffin and Alan R said plus: CRAP.

With thanks and gratitude to you for sharing your unique quirky creativity with the world. I have loved reading every word.

Renzo (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 08:36

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Hi Chris. I read your news yesterday with great sadness. I have waited until today to post this message as I didn’t know what to say. I still don’t, so please forgive me if the words are not as eloquent as the other contributors here. I have been a B&M fan since Full Dark House and have looked forward to every book. I have enjoyed every book immensely- I have loved to learn about London from your books and this blog, to the extent that I have used many of your London facts in “homework” quizzes I used to give to American interns who worked with me from time to time! There are very few authors who have the ability to make me laugh out loud; you are one of the few. I am a child of the sixties, and I recognised so much of your memories in Paper Boy. I await Peculiar London with great anticipation. So, thank you. Simple words, but heartfelt. Thank you for B&M, your books, this blog. Thank you for all of the fascinating London facts you have given us. Thank you for the laughs, thrills and joy you have given to us through your work. Stay strong Chris in the knowledge that you are in my thoughts and the thoughts of all of your friends here on this blog and elsewhere.

davem (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 08:37

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I'm shit with words so all I can say is stay comfortable

Auntie Jellyfish (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 09:47

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Bugger and bravo

Tim Lees (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 09:55

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I've wanted to say this for a while, but you did something which (along with your writing) I will always remember. Though we wrote for the same magazine, I've never met you, and know you only through your work and this website. Nonetheless, a few years ago, I happened to tweet that I was trying to research the rules of exclusive gentleman's clubs in London. You quickly wrote back, "What do you need?" As it turned out, I'd actually found what I wanted, but this simple act of kindness was deeply touching. Thank you. Enjoy Turkey! Your generosity and love of life is an example to us all.

LRS (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 10:16

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I am so sorry to hear this news. You will be missed. Enjoy your holiday. It sounds lovely. (Virtual hug from a stranger).

Jan (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 10:17

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Apologies from another random chatterboxer.

I'm so sorry Chris but enjoy the next bit like you've enjoyed all of it , have a good time visiting Turkey and have a great time with Peter.
Best Jan

Joel Meadows (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 11:24

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Dear Chris
this is awful news. I really don't know what to say. I hope you enjoy your trip out to Turkey and I hope I get to see you again at some point because it's been too long

Andrea (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 11:44

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you for the wonderful books and the joy your blog and tweets have brought me, I wish you a wonderful time in Turkey and more,

Lorraine Buck (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 11:48

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I am gutted at your news. The absolute joy you have given me & countless others through your writing cannot be underestimated. I wish you joy, good health & the live you deserve. Love always xxx

Alison Craig (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 12:08

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Dear Chris
Thankyou for all your wonderful Bryant and May books. As a proud Londoner of many generations they have totally chimed with my love of London, its history and its people.
I was introduced to Bryant and May by an amazing and lovely woman called Sally Alderman. She too loves the city and its people.
I thank her for introducing me to B&M . She too is very sick with cancer at the moment. Thinking of you both . You are the heartbeat of this city.

Janet (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 12:23

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Oh no that's awful news, I'm so sorry. I love your books and have enjoyed the many topics and comments encountered on your blog, thank you for giving me so much pleasure. Have a wonderful time in Turkey

Chris McCall (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 12:23

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I haven't posted for some time. Thank you for all of the joy you and your books have given to myself and my family. No matter what happens in the future please remember that you have enriched so many lives .....I'll stop now as I'm getting a bit emotional.

Gary Locke (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 12:59

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

"I read the news today. Oh, boy..."

Please be good to yourself, as I'm sure you will. You're a wonderful writer, Chris.

Anna-Maria Covich (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 13:07

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Well that's just not ok.
<3

Paul+Waller (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 13:46

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Sorry to hear your news Chris. You’ll probably never know how many thousands of people’s lives you’ve touched through your books. ( Personally I’ve loved finding the Hancock references.)

Penelope Keith (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 13:54

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you for your brilliant books. They have changed my life. And bless you for your honesty, grit and humour over your cancer journey.

A class act all the way…

Stephen Groves (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 14:49

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

So Sorry to hear the latest news ,I’m lost for words.You continue to bring a lot of excitement ,happiness and enjoyment to my reading life.I have even increased my Christopher Fowler collection with original art work from some of your early books front covers .No matter what life throws your way Chris,there will always be a corner of Essex, Forever Fowler.For now I wish you only the very best
STALKY

Stephen Groves (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 14:52

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

So Sorry to hear the latest news ,I’m lost for words.You continue to bring a lot of excitement ,happiness and enjoyment to my reading life.I have even increased my Christopher Fowler collection with original art work from some of your early books front covers .No matter what life throws your way Chris,I thank you for your amazing writing.For now I wish you only the very best
STALKY

Xanthe (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 14:55

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Chris I'm a reader, not a writer and your books have deepened my knowledge of London whilst entertaining me more than any other series of books, except perhaps those of Wodehouse. I also grew up in the same part of Grenwich as you and at the same time. Those librarians have got a lot to answer for. Thank you for your brilliant imagination, hard work and generosity. And your courage.

Roger (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 14:57

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

“Men must endure
Their going hence, even as their coming hither.
Ripeness is all.”

You have entertained and taught me and many others.
Thank you.

Pete (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 15:36

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I don’t normally read this blog as I’m lucky enough to speak to Chris every day. However, I now have after my mum told me about The Last Post. I want to say how kind all your words are and how touched I am as I read through all your comments. I know that writing this blog and this community has always meant a lot to Chris.

I’m looking forward to seeing him in a few hours and I promise to make sure he has a superbly good time!

Thank you all for being there over the years!

The Husband

H (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 15:44

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

What can we do for you, to help, to cheer you up and cheer you on, other than buy copious quantities of Peculiar London and give them to friends for Christmas and birthdays?

Love the photo of you holding a copy of B & M’s PL.

Frances (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 15:58

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I am saddened to hear your news. There aren't really any appropriate words. I can only say thank you for your many enjoyable books. During some very tough times they opened a door which let me escape to a much better place and I am very grateful to you for that. You have probably touched more people's lives than you imagine.

Hazel Jackson (not verified) Sat, 16/07/2022 - 16:32

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Sad news. But you have created a wonderful legacy in your work which will continue to give us great pleasure when you are no longer around. Thank you.