Home Technology: We’re In Control Now

Apple Watch

A few months ago, Google Glass opened a very snazzy store in my neighbourhood. It looked like an opticians run by supermodels. Each time I went in I found a few people trying out Google Glass then beating a hasty retreat. They didn’t even stay for the free coffee. I tried them and found them […]

Why Holmes Always Gets Reinvented, And Other Puzzles


  Last week I had lunch in an Argentinian restaurant in Barcelona with the Sherlockian society. That may sound rather an esoteric thing to do, but within the context of the city’s ‘Freak Zone’ it seemed a rather wonderful way to spend the afternoon, munching empanadas and wondering what Holmes got up to Europe. It […]

Should You Put Comedy In Your Drama?


Publishers see writers’ work falling into distinct categories. Unfortunately real life isn’t subdivided into genres, so we create false constructs – drama, comedy, romance, horror.  The recent Channel 4 police series ‘Babylon’ only found its feet once it had decided whether it was funny or serious. It was billed as a comedy about the police […]

Dark-Adapted Eyes


With the death of Ruth Rendell, we have lost a giant of the literary crime world. Rendell got her first publishing deal with Hutchinson after after working as a journalist on a local paper, the Chigwell Times. She apparently left the job after writing up a local tennis club dinner  without attending the event; she’d missed […]

Does World Cinema Have To Be Arthouse?


Arthouse cinema is, in its own modest way, doing well in the UK. New branches of Picturehouse and Curzon are opening, new lifelines have come from screenings of live events including sport, opera and theatre, and even museum exhibitions. My local cinema is now a multiplex arthouse with a dedicated documentaries screen. But what exactly […]

Publicising Your Work

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When you’ve sold a book, your publishing house will traditionally appoint a PR for you. Sometimes they’re terrific, sometimes they’re overworked looking after a bigger author and you don’t see them. When I first started you used to have a meeting to discuss your publicity campaign. Looking back, this seems like a fantastical thing to […]

After ‘Breaking Bad’

Breaking Bad

The English-speaking world clearly falls into two groups; those who finished ‘Breaking Bad’ and those who didn’t get beyond the first episode. It takes a while to catch up with ended shows. I’ve yet to watch ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Game of Thrones’. I never saw a frame of ‘The Sopranos’ or ‘The Wire’, but […]

Mysteries and Thrillers Are Opposites


As always it took the excellent Val McDermid to point out what should have been obvious; that crime and mystery novels are left wing and thrillers are right wing. Writing in the Guardian, she points out that the crime novel gives a voice to characters who are not comfortably established in the world, while thrillers play […]

Something Strange Is Happening To What You Watch


In the century since the major film studios first settled in Hollywood, audiences have never demanded more video than they do today. In 2014, we watched an average of 163 hours of video content per month (17 hours more than in 2007). But despite the proliferation of content, consumption and access, the value of the home […]

Mind The Doors!


Remembered when they carved up London’s grand old cinemas into nasty little boxes and stuck Michael Bay films in all of them? There’s a bit of a reverse trend going on around the country at the moment. The Curzon Group is expanding its empire of high quality screens across the nation, and has reopened London’s […]