London

On A Dawn Journey Across London

As my next mystery novel is partly about nightwalking, that peculiar habit which evolved over centuries in London, I’ve been seizing opportunities to see the city at unusual times. The other morning I rose before dawn and headed for the airport. London to Barcelona covers just 32% of my daily steps, thanks to my habit […]

A Man Walks Into A Bar

After posting a piece complaining that London is hardly a 24-hour city, there were a lot of comments, one from Emma at 24HourLondon pointing out that their app would locate around-the-clock London hotspots. A neat idea – except that the first three places I picked were all shut. ‘Round the clock’ appears to mean ‘Open […]

London Myths No.3 – Londoners Are Unfriendly

Americans in London, always friendly, always effusive, make me feel ashamed of our perceived stand-offishness. Once again we have the war to blame for a massive change in social interaction. The class barriers were ironclad before 1939, and if they didn’t exactly disappear after 1945 a new informal friendliness certainly came in. The land-owning gentry […]

London Myths No.2 – London Is A War Zone

Do we really need to go here? Yes, because when a corrupt dictator tries to turn the USA into a banana republic everyone else suffers, and the offensive, ignorant nonsense he spouted about London was parroted by Fox News, stoking the flames of racism. So, some facts. Terrorist attacks; London is a multicultural democracy of […]

London Myths No.1 – The 24 Hour City

In the next Bryant & May novel, ‘The Lonely Hour’, the Peculiar Crimes Unit switches to night shifts for a week, and utter chaos ensues. To write the novel I stayed up until dawn and watched what goes on around town. Answer; nothing pretty. But there are a lot of people working very hard to […]

London With Its Pants Down

There are a number of terrific books about London’s underbelly, but the two I’ve enjoyed most in a very long time are these, ‘Beautiful Idiots and Brilliant Lunatics’ and ‘High Buildings, Low Morals’ by Rob Baker. The former title comes from a quote by Oscar Wilde, the latter from Noel Coward. Rob is a fellow […]

The Friday Song!

I’m heading off with my downstairs neighbours to Marseilles for the weekend – the English add an ‘s’ at the end for some reason – and I’m not taking this laptop with me because I just delivered the final version of the new Bryant & May novel, ‘The Lonely Hour’, to my agents last night […]

London In Six Pictures No.1

This is going to be a regular feature, because I now have such a vast fund of London photographs that it seems a pity to just leave them inside an electronic folder, never to be seen. I’m going to choose shots from time to time to illustrate different aspects of the city. Today, Englishness. 1. […]

More London Snippets

In 1900 the oldest man in London arrived. He was the mummy of King Mycerinus of the fourth dynasty, and having survived intact since 3633 BC he now lost a finger over the weekend – somebody nicked it. The British Museum has its darker side, and the flaneurs of London were happy to document the […]

London Snippets

Just as you sometimes watch old films for glimpses of a city as it was before, so I love reading old books about flaneurs in London, watching the city’s people and institutions and jotting down their thoughts. There are hundreds of these books and they’re very undervalued by sellers, probably because they can’t imagine who’d […]