I’m Moving To A Five-Post Week


Thanks to those who offered me advice about social media, and the time it eats up in my job. I think the best way to deal with this is by making a small change. Due to Brexit and rising prices, I shall be switching to a five-post working week online. (Well, that’s what everybody else […]

How Much Time Do You Spend On Social Media?


Last night I spoke with a writer who does no social media at all. Every morning I start my day by doing two hours of social media work. I love writing this site, hate Facebook because there’s simply too much on it to cope with, and enjoy Twitter because I like reading the articles people […]

The Return Of The Political Dispatch


While I was at school I became obsessed with Watergate. I bought every book on the subject and tried to understand how the President of the United States could fall to the level of a common criminal, using the language and behaviour of a criminal. By the time I got around to G Gordon Liddy […]

The Friday Song Returns!


As I was researching the swinging sixties,  I recalled this snippet from the film ‘Head’ directed by Bob Rafaelson. The Monkees copied everything the Beatles did, so when the Beatles made ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, a self-indulgent farrago that nevertheless spawned a staggering number of timeless hits, the Monkees made ‘Head’, which didn’t. Bits of it […]

Where Will An Anti-Trump Film Come From?


Rebuilding Satire Who will be the first to satirise this almost-unsatirisable change in America before Trump – who has already started banning reporters from briefings, so far CNN, the Guardian and the New York Times – starts the kind of censorship that always accompanies rising warmongers? So far Hollywood appears toothless, although they require a […]

Old Wine, Not Very New Bottles


Everything old is new again; I can’t read another novel set in the Blitz unless somebody brings something new to the party, and I’m getting tired of books set in the mid-19th century. And yet there are still many stories to be told. I saw Gurinder Chadha’s ‘Viceroy’s House’ yesterday, about how India’s partition came […]

Unfilmable Tales?


  When I started writing short stories I had no parameters I was aware of, and piled up tales on all sorts of subjects into collections willy-nilly. These are out as e-books now, and I’ve just noticed that many of the editions still have the original illustrations in. I used to commission them from artists […]

The Illustrated London News


It certainly wasn’t ‘Hello’ magazine. ‘Probably no paragraph of the Queen’s speech gave such unalloyed satisfaction to the vast majority of her subjects as that which touched upon her relations with the United States of America.’ This was the news that an agreement to arbitrate in the matter of the Alabama claims had been reached. […]

Arctic Rollercoaster


  That’s right, this column was simply an excuse to hide the name of a seventies dessert in the heading. You know the drill, a TV show model developed in the US; half a dozen characters meet in a single location (or ‘precinct’) and find out what connects them, but it takes seven seasons to unravel […]

Reading Between The Lines Part 2


I like Victoria Beckham. She knows how to play the journos’ game and seems pretty good at weathering its random cruelties, especially when the press periodically decides to gang up on her for no other reason than her being a successful career woman and mother. Ms Beckham grew up with social media and knows what […]