Media

Censorship Is A Funny Thing

Mockingbird

There’s been a lot in the academic press lately about the ways in which public-driven censorship is destroying free debate. Although this is currently more of a US talking point, what starts there usually ends here. Currently there are over a dozen books featuring drugs, abortion, race and LGBT issues on the US college libraries’ […]

Getting To Grips With Twitter

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I’m always surprised that so many people who like Facebook don’t use Twitter, and I realise now that some of them have got the wrong idea about it. There are endless tips and hacks about using Twitter, mostly to do with keeping your post at the top of the pile and the right times of […]

Think Literacy Levels Are Fine? Read This

Lit

Ah, England, home of Shakespeare! Also, a land where people apparently can’t string two words together, a country with a literacy rate that places us 44th in the world order, rather a long way behind, say, Latvia and Moldova, not quite as low as Tunisia or Papua New Guinea. The source for literacy rates is here although […]

To Blog Or Not To Blog?

Monkey-typing

When I first thought about starting a blog, there was much that didn’t appeal about the idea. I didn’t want to create great swathes of type about the Brontë sisters or Pushkin. There are too many academics and historical non-fiction writers who are doing a far, far better job than I ever could, and my personal reading […]

The Cruel World Of Comics

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Read by any means possible – that’s pretty much always been my motto, and as a child, the cheapest and earliest form of reading was always comics.  A copy of Action Comics #1 from 1938, featuring the first appearance of Superman, sold for a record $3.2 million dollars in 2014. One in poorer condition was […]

Writers Who Click

Chris art

Recently the Times ran an amusing article on people who remain disinterested in IT, pointing out that 4.8m people in the UK are Neo-Luddites, with no smart phone or access to the internet. Not a very large proportion, and certainly lower than in the US, where 14% of the population doesn’t go online. But as […]

The Second Time Around

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Sometimes you just have to stop buying books and seeing new films and reassess what you already own. This month I’ve been going back to books, movies and shows I didn’t give enough time to first time around. I’ve rediscovered a love for Florida-based crime noir, especially John Dupresne’s series about a therapist dealing with […]

Why Readers Know Best (And Writers Should Listen)

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  After I’ve created something new, it faces two tests; what the critics think and what the public thinks. In the old days, the second was reliant on the first. I thought of this today, because in the US two movies crowned the box office at 26 and 24 million dollars respectively. One garnered almost […]

Shagged Out

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Mrs Lovett (to Sweeney Todd) ‘My, you do like a good story, don’t you?’ Like Sweeney, I do like a good story. I admire depth of characterisation, mise-en-scene, twists and turns in a well-wrought plot. What I don’t much care for is all the f*cking. It’s not a new thing. I always felt like this. […]

Support Your Local Theatre!

Hamlette

Turning out some old boxes the other day (something I do not recommend unless you are in a very good mood) I found an awful lot of old press clippings talking lots of rubbish about me in interviews, some lovely correspondence from writers as diverse as Tanith Lee, JG Ballard and Victoria Wood, and this […]