The Arts

Southern Forgotten

When we trimmed down authors for ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’, two thirds were back-burnered because of information overload; there was a general feeling that we’d have turned off readers. I reluctantly removed Terry Southern even though he was such an interesting candidate. Few people now recall the name of Terry Southern, but he was […]

Wish I Was There: Why We Love Exotic Fiction

The first time I went to Greece, I was in my early twenties and working insane hours. We covered four islands a day via ferries and cargo planes, and everywhere we went the locals would come out of their houses and give us flowers or offer coffee. As most islands had no hotels we were […]

Serious Music To Amuse

For some peculiar reason the British are very fond of being silly around classical music. This dates back to the artist and musician Gerard Hoffnung (I posted a little about him four years ago). In 1956 Hoffnung mounted the first of his Hoffnung Festivals in London, during which classical music was spoofed for comic effect, with […]

Goodbye, Neil Simon

Writers fade from fashion, nowhere more than in the field of playwriting. Neil Simon was one of the first playwrights I read from the printed page because the wonderful Samuel French bookshop, late of Fitzrovia and Covent Garden, stocked their own editions of play scripts (and still do, here). Simon delighted in putting his characters […]

Off Topic: The Weekly Round-Up

A new feature – often after a week of chatting to y’all there’s a little more that emerges from the conversation, so in the interests of keeping open the lines of communication I’m going to look back at the weekly subjects tackled. I’ll try to do it always on a Sunday. Middle Of The Road […]

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 […]