The Arts

The Tuesday Song

I know. I know. But it’s so gloriously hot and luscious outside, and I’m trapped inside with the curtains drawn, trying to finish my MS, so let’s have a song from the underrated Beatles jukebox movie ‘Across the Universe’. There’s something about Beatles songs that defies adaptation, but I enjoyed this tale of two lovers […]

Word-Smashing 3: How To Schedule Your Time

Every day for the past month I’ve been pulling down dawn-to-dusk working hours (often going well past midnight). I’ve been working to finish the second draft of the next Bryant & May novel. I keep very little written down about it, except in a single manuscript file in the Cloud – everything else is in […]

From Medium To Media

Today I went to see ‘Fanny & Alexander’, the (three and a half hour, three act) theatre version of the 1982 Ingmar Bergman film, brought to life at London’s Old Vic. It’s a successful adaptation with a purpose; to realign itself specifically for the theatre. The writer, Simon Beresford, has invented new scenes to suit […]

Should The Bryant & May Novels Contain Swearing?

A blog comment from SteveB a while ago about him not liking clever movies is a good place to start a post. I love clever. It’s what I do and how I have the most fun. Sitting through the painfully flat and dull ‘Murder On The Orient Express’, which brings nothing to the remake other […]

Shakespeare-Phobes, Here’s How To Get The Bard

  Each year I write a short piece on Mr Billy Shakespeare, and this is today’s. It’s not enough to be able to decipher the more complex parts of the Bard’s work (would that we all had enough time to do so), we have to discover it through sometimes appallingly modish stage re-inventions (I’ve sat […]

Box Set Theatre

Box set theatre refers to those plays that run longer than the West End’s normal two-acts-and-out-by-ten plays. In the past Alan Ayckbourn wrote ‘The Norman Conquests’, three plays that ran on consecutive nights, set over one weekend, which each play showing the same disastrous events from a different angle. ‘The Life and Adventures of Nicholas […]

Why We Need Hidden Heroes

  By winning the Oscar for Best Picture, Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape Of Water shifted the status of outsiders to the inside. Its liberal credentials are revealed in a variety of ways, from the fully fleshed out key roles taken by a voiceless woman, a middle-aged gay man and a black cleaning woman to the […]

Happy Birthday Frankenstein

He’s a sprightly 200 years old. Mary Shelley was only 20 when she conceived of a monster created from parts of animals and humans, galvanised to life. Her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley had attended anatomy classes and was fascinated by electrical experiments, which suggests that his ideas may have fed into hers. On that infamous […]

Melodrama: The Unloved Genre

There are only a few categories of film that can be guaranteed to draw fire from critics. Satires, westerns, musicals – and melodramas. This last one has long been out of favour. Historically, a melodrama was a serious play interspersed with  music accompanying the action. Now it means a sensational dramatic piece with exaggerated characters and exciting events […]

Nymphs Begone!

One of my favourite art galleries is the Manchester Art Gallery, with its astonishing collection of Pre-Raphaelites and figurative paintings displayed at ideal heights for close study. It has always amazed me that you could walk in there on a Saturday morning and have the place virtually to yourself while everyone else is creeping around […]