The Arts

Where London Began

It must unfold like a half-remembered legend When you’re denied interactive activity with others and have no face-to-face conversations or see no new sights, how do you keep ideas fresh?  Perhaps by looking into the London of the imagination, of China Miéville, Ben Aaronovitch, LaVie Tidar and Kim Newman. London is a springboard for myths. […]

At Year’s End, Some Trickery & Whimsy

Rowland Emett was an inventor who found fame in the 1950s. He said, ‘The first principle in science is to invent something nice to look at and then decide what it can do.’ His fussy, whimsical automata were exhibited at the Festival of Britain and became hugely popular. He designed clocks and trams, trains and […]

In Conversation With Tim Goodman: The Voice Of Bryant & May

It seems extraordinary, but in all the time that Tim Goodman has been the voice of the Bryant & May audiobooks we’ve never talked about it, he and I. Now seemed a great time to chat a bit about his ‘double career’. Christopher: You began in rep, Tim. Thinking about life on tour, how difficult […]

The Surreal Thing

There are subjects I return to again and again for a final word. This is one of them. It started, as so many things do, with art. Magritte and Duchamp, Buñuel and Dali, ‘Un Chien Andalou’ and ‘L’Age D’Or’ and ‘Dr Caligari’. Many critics wrote off Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech because of his […]

Something Very Creepy For Hallowe’en

I had a complaint from a reader about the following story, which appeared in the e-collection ‘Frightening’. She said it had kept her awake at night. I said that was the point of writing it. Happy Hallowe’en! The Baby The dingy Edwardian pub was called The Grand Duke, but there was nothing grand about the […]

A Proud History Of Corrupting Youth: The Last Word On EC

I’ve looked at strange old comics a few times over the years (follow the hotlinks below), but thought I’d have one last look, precipitated by a new publication.  Comic books, that is the bound free-standing comic periodicals, were born in 1933 when Bill Gaines’s father looked at comic strips in newspapers and wondered if they’d […]

The Friday Song Sunday Pop-Up!

Even disguised as an adiposally-challenged lady, John Travolta can still remind us that he started out as a terrific song-and-dance man on the stage. Also, check out the Actors’ Fund Charity Hairspray finale on Youtube, featuring just about everyone who was ever in the show in a self-isolating finale. The link’s for a good cause, […]

Criminally Different (A Baker’s Dozen Of Underrated Crime Films)

What makes a good crime film? Well, there has to be an innocent whose eyes are opened and a criminal on a mission, and there’s usually someone trapped between the two, creating a moral problem. But the usual suspects, like ‘The Usual Suspects’, are absent here. In any top ten list you’ll find ‘Bonnie & […]

The Kind Of Stuff That Sells

My old pal Joanne Harris is in the press again, this time for revealing what she was paid for the rights to have her excellent novel ‘Chocolat’ made into a mediocre film – £5,000 apparently. I have never been paid a figure remotely as high as that for the rights to anything. The standard fee […]

Short Stories: The Complete List

For those completists out there, this is the definitive list of all my published short story titles, now reaching Joyce Carol Oatesian (Oatsean?) proportions, if not her consistent quality. This is the order in which I wrote them, but there are still around five missing that I haven’t been able to track down. (That’s not […]