London

Central London’s Last Quiet Neighbourhood

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  After my Halloween reading at the National Liberal Club, we took a stroll in the only remaining  part of Central London that’s truly under-visited. Mist had rolled in from the river and it was drizzling softly, creating aureoles of light around the street lamps. There were no cars and hardly any people, and it […]

Why Is London So Scruffy?

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When the spectacular Victorian Gothic edifice of the St Pancras Grand Hotel decided to open a bar called the Gilbert Scott, its restored interior exceeded all expectations. From the vast painted ceiling hang immense golden bells, and the space is outrageously opulent, although it lacks the personality of the great hotel bars and is consequently […]

Is Holborn Becoming The New Shoreditch?

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My mother and father both worked in High Holborn, the odd no-man’s-land between New Oxford Street and Gray’s Inn Road (roughly speaking; the boundaries were changed in 1994). It was filled with sturdy, wealthy insurance offices, law firms, accountancy, marine and travel companies, and the head offices of the Empire’s manufacturing outlets. It’s a pretty […]

No Tide? No Problem!

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A lot of Londoners forget that we live on a network of canals (not me; my flat is surrounded by them) but it’s nice to be reminded by this, which comes via the lovely Londonist and YouTube – it was produced by, ahem, a ‘well-known drinks company’. He’s clearly mad, although I’m assuming the stunts […]

Visit London, But Avoid This Trap

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The play is set in a fantasy world of mock-tudor wood-paneling, an England that I’ve never seen. Each of the eight actors in it have to sign up for a minimum of 47 weeks. One says that during quiet performances you can hear the play creak. That’s hardly surprising; ‘The Mousetrap’ opened in the West End […]

The Link Between Bram Stoker, Henry James & Enid Blyton

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It’s time to rediscover more parts of London I’ve forgotten; Some north London towns have changed very little because they’re awkward to reach by public transport, like Crouch End, Stoke Newington and Muswell Hill, where the land was too hilly for underground trains. But there’s a good change that if you live there, or in […]

My Secret London Isn’t Secret At All

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In my rediscovery of London, I’m learning something new every day. A visit to the beautiful new Foyles bookshop yesterday revealed a vast new raft of London books on their way for Christmas, with looks at the river, new buildings, gardens, parks, art galleries,  different areas, culture, fashion, a couple of books on underground photography […]

Tricks & Treats @ Forbidden Planet

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Just a reminder that this Saturday (Oct 11th) at 3pm in Forbidden Planet I’ll be signing copies of ‘Nyctophobia’, and on Sat Oct 25th there’ll be a mass/mess signing of horror and genre literature at the same venue with the following authors confirmed. It’ll be a nightmare but we’ll probably all go to the pub […]

Re:View – ‘Mr. Turner’

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Anyone who has worked extensively with artists will notice a paradox; you can rarely see the art inside of them, for who they are is not what they produce. Mike Leigh makes the case strongly in his biography of William Turner, the Victorian artist who became the master of light on canvas at a time […]

Rediscovering London 1: Soho

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Recently I mentioned that the more I traveled the less I found comparably pleasing in London, from obvious complaints (litter and dirt, public advertising, poor pedestrianisation) to larger, less solvable problems (endless privatisation, sky-high rents, overcharging and overcrowding). I’ve been bugged most of all by the half-hearted approach to problem solving; for example an initiative […]