Are Pretty People More Successful?

Made of rubber

How we see an author on a book jacket is how we tend to remember them. We view Agatha Christie as what they used to call a ‘maiden aunt’, more Miss Marple than the tall, glamorous young woman who travelled the world and was probably the first English writer ever to go surfing in Hawaii. […]

‘Every Joke Is A Tiny Revolution’ – Orwell


Further to my recent article on satirical magazines, a piece by Zoe Williams in The Guardian yesterday prompts this thought, viz. you cannot be satirical now and get away with it. It’s a complicated tale, going back over 30 years. The CIA destabilised nations by putting in new leaders, and to cut a long (and […]



It means we live in a time when anything can happen at any given moment, and what’s more we’re so used to it that we cope by turning away from the world’s issues, knowing we can do nothing about them, and look inward instead to body and mind. It’s also the title of Adam Curtis’s […]

Ink Is Ammunition!


Humour magazines once proliferated throughout the western world, from Le Canard Enchaine to Punch, Lilliput and Spy, they scored points with erudition, wit and yes, cruelty. There has pretty much always been a ‘journal bête et méchant‘ in France, and the same in the UK. I’ve written before about America’s National Lampoon, which had grown out […]

Storage: The New Moneyspinner

Overloaded Shelf_JPG

Remember the shelf? Wooden thing, long and flat, held all your records, then your videos, then your DVDs and CDs. Streaming made the shelf redundant. But unless you live in the country with freshly installed Broadband your speed may be too slow to watch a movie. That’s why internet speeds are faster in Latvia and […]

Stepping Into Dreams


What’s it like to be on a film set? Disappointing, mostly. Today’s sets are largely green-screened so that CGI can be added, but occasionally sets are built or locations are dressed. Today I was in Gerona, where a great many films have been shot – so many in fact that a museum is hosting an […]

Why I’ve Come Off Facebook


Today I finally came off a horrible addictive drug – Facebook. In the past week four of my friends pulled their accounts, and I’ve now joined them. I’m free. Ten years ago Facebook was cutting-edge technology. But the experience felt increasingly clunky compared to modern sites, and the cross-tangle of live chat and posts is […]

Tech: Why We’re Not Always Keen To Change


We live in a world where everything, even buildings, now has a limited shelf-life (average lifespan of a post-2002 apartment building; 13 years, apparently). I think all creative people are collectors (well, it sounds nicer than ‘hoarder’) and we expect certain things to last. So it comes as a shock to read this about our […]

Forum: Should Writers Write For The Market?

Trotter did it

  In film industry terms the summer’s over, and it was another year of disappointments in Hollywood. Only one studio did well; Disney had four of the five biggest hits. What’s noticeable is how super-safe everything became this year. The top five films were ‘The Jungle Book’ (remake of cartoon), ‘Finding Dory’ (kiddie sequel), ‘Zootopia’ […]

Writers: Still Holding Out Against Electronic Books?


I’m surprised by how many writers I meet who dismiss e-readers without a second thought. I’ve now owned them for several years, and thought I should run a quick evaluation. Sales of e-readers are plateauing, paper book sales are up. I can see why; the publishing industry didn’t want to suffer the same fate as […]