Pleasing The Crowds

In 2015 Public Policy Polling asked voters in the US primary elections whether they favoured the bombing of Agrabah. A third of Republicans said they did, with 13% opposed, the figures reversing for Democrats. Agrabah is a fictional town from Disney’s ‘Aladdin’. It’s now known that people ignore science that doesn’t fit with their currently […]

Madness From Nowhere: ‘Killing Eve’

Autumn is a viewing-and-reading time for many people connected with media and the arts. October has ‘Super Thursday’, the day when over 500 books are published, more than on any other day of the year. The London Film Festival is on, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts is running all of its […]

Predicting The Future From The Past

The science fiction author JG Ballard predicted that writers would soon become obsolete. They would be like Victorian stock characters, with no discernible purpose in the world. He suggested that given external reality is now a fiction, you don’t need to invent it anymore. It’s an idea echoed by Adam Curtis, a Ballardian documentary-maker, here; […]

Could Box Sets Kill The Crime Novel?

At this time of the year crime books metaphorically hit my doormat in increased numbers, and a lot of them look the same; blocky white sans-serif typeface on moody landscape shot, a copy line that reads something like ‘She awoke from a coma to find her daughter dead…but what if she’s still alive?’ Inside the […]

The Mystery Of My ‘Uncle’

My mother came from an age when there were still unspoken family secrets. It took me years to realise that her mother was not her natural mother but a relative who had raised her. That was when I heard about my purported uncle Jeffrey. There were two many surnames floating around on my mother’s side […]

As Cassandra Was Saying…

Hardly anyone remembers his name now, but William Connor was once such a beloved figure and national treasure that he was knighted. He was a columnist for the Daily Mirror who wrote under a more familiar name: Cassandra. Known for concision and clarity, he wrote for the everyman. Famously his articles were cancelled during WWII, […]

Lurid: The New Way Of Looking At Things

I’ve often wondered, when seeing a particularly raunchy film, a daring play or an exhibition, ‘Where can things go from here?’ It’s not a question of censorship; more one of taste. We live in tasteless times. Trump looks like a bright orange clown, UK politicians run from an albino clown, Lord Snooty, Catweazle and Farridge, […]

Comedy Not Funny: Official

An interesting piece in the London Times this morning. Shane Allen, Head of BBC comedy, has declared old comedy dead and says that shows like Monty Python which feature ‘six white Oxbridge males’ wouldn’t be commissioned now, and that in future there will be more diversity, with the all-black show ‘Famalam’ proving popular. Now, there […]

‘The Staircase’ Isn’t A Whodunnit

No Spoilers Netflix’s new documentary series isn’t new or theirs; it was made by a man with the Frenchest name in the world, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, over many years and has been screened in parts before on the BBC and in France. It has also been the subject of numerous true-crime TV shows, books and podcasts. […]

True Bits That Didn’t Make My Memoir No.1

Morecambe & Wise got me fit. I know Joe Wicks is the current go-to fitness instructor (apart from the man carved from orange plastic on ‘Love Island’) but I had Britain’s beloved comedy duo help me on the road to fitness. I was working with Morecambe & Wise on a shoot and Eric, who could […]