Film

10 Great Movies About The Theatre

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  At the moment the theatre world is turning to old films for inspiration, but what about the other direction? Once, a huge number of movies were made from plays. In cinema’s early years there was a rush to shoot the classics and the great historical stories in this country; after all, the nation was steeped […]

The Flintstones of Brunei

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  I’m currently researching a thriller about ex-pats, set in a country that operates under strict Sharia law. It will appear after ‘Nyctophobia’, from the name publishing house, Solaris, as part of my two-book deal. I’ve been to such places, and usually there’s a hypocritical system in place that protects the rich. But this takes […]

Walken Back To Happiness

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http://youtu.be/sNaau2uPFqI The genius of Christopher Walken belongs to the world. Here’s the wonderful mash-up of Christopher ‘Happy Feet’ Walken, that’s only missing his brilliant gravity-defying Moby dance, presumably because of copyright reasons. There are some films in here that I’m unfamiliar with – the pastry-chef thing? The Ming parody?

Dude, Where’s My Countries?

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At first I thought this was another ‘Look how dumb students are’ article – US teachers gave blank maps to a class and asked them to fill in the countries – but what surprised me in some cases was just how well these kids did do. They got the big countries right, and it was […]

On The Move

No proper post today as I’m in Saigon airport looking for a wi-fi spot among a lot of people shipping TVs and microwaves to Kuala Lumpar. The only place to sit down is outside in a Burger King (ugh) which has the unappealing-sounding ‘shrimp-balls’ on the menu. Eek – the family on the next table […]

Vietnam 4: Last Stop

I have now left Hoi-An and have headed further south across Vietnam, finally reaching the spectacular Nui Chua National Park, an area of dry tropical woodlands and Arizona-type rocks which is home to around 1,500 species of plants, 160 species of birds and 60 species of mammals (including a few poisonous but shy snakes). At […]

Vietnam 3: Heading South

We’ve now reached Central Vietnam, and it’s still hard to equate the reality with the image I grew up with from American newsreels, especially as I’m reading Vietnamese literature.The jungles have been hacked back to more than 70 kilometres from the towns, so we look out at flat fields, rice paddies and the odd slash […]

Crossing The Road At Night in Vietnam

Two skills learned in London come in useful here. One is ordering Vietnamese food, the other is staring down traffic.

Vietnam 2: State Of The Art

‘Those are the hidden police,’ says Tung. ‘Everyone knows them.’ They’re really not very hidden, and nor is the Communist propaganda, but seeing Communism from this side takes the bogeyman status out of it a little. Yes, there are probably too many ‘improving’  workers’ statues around, but since 2005’s Open Door policy things have changed, […]

Vietnam 1: Hanoi

The curse of travel lies in selection; what do you fit in, what to leave out? I always want to shout at tourists in London; ‘Leave that, it’s not the real London, this is!’ And so, as I did in Delhi, I fall victim to bleary-eyed first impressions and mistake-making. Time is limited; my partner’s […]