Observatory

We’re All Going On A…

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…or are we? Going Where The Sun Shines Brightly?* Londoners traditionally holiday abroad, as they don’t care to wander around Bexhill-On-Sea going ‘I can’t believe they still don’t have olive focaccia’, although a few do tiptoe off into the countryside where locals make fun of them and hotels rip them off by charging for two-night […]

Livin’ La Vida Folle

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Language – so long as you get the gist of it, that’s OK. And now that Farridge, Johnson & Gove have joined Lord Haw-Haw, Vidkun Quisling and Abu Hamza in the list of most hated males, I’m walking around London realising that almost everyone who touches my life is from somewhere else. My barber is […]

Peculiar Crimes 1

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A new semi-regular feature that reports the really odd stories you may have missed, but which may inspire ideas for fictional stories… In 1986, charity organisation United Way of Cleveland arranged a spectacular stunt for fundraising publicity: an attempt to set a new world record for simultaneously released balloons. On Public Square, a structure as large […]

Raymond Kirkpatrick Takes A Summer Holiday

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Raymond Kirkpatrick is a colleague of Arthur Bryant’s. The bear-like heavy metal-loving Professor of English is currently working at the British Library and is our occasional guest speaker. His opinions are extremely  his own. Day One. I thought as there’s usually not much going on around now I’d take a week off and head for Southern […]

The Age Of Idiocracy: A Brief Guide

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It now looks entirely possible that we may have a future with President Trump building walls around his country while Prime Minister Boris Johnson half-finishes corporate monuments and Nigel Farage’s police check under beds for black people. The pound is plunging. The Brexit camp is racing ahead. Gove, Farage & Johnson say they want to […]

A Writer’s Life: In Flux

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You’ll notice that there are fewer London articles and film reviews on the site at the moment. There’s a simple reason for this. While my flat is being renovated I’m living in a small converted light industrial unit, and had to store my thousand+ London books in a barn in Suffolk, then ferry between the […]

Places That Should Be Used In SF Movies

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I’m back in London after completing another trip to dig out research material for a book, although some of what I found may never be used. Take my visit to Science City in Valencia. The complex was only recently finished, but has been dogged with scandal throughout its construction. It has sadly become a symbol […]

Spain’s Awe-Inspiring Hotel Chain

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We’re currently driving across Spain via paradores. Paradores can be found in most Latin countries, para meaning to stay or stop. In Spain, the paradores are a network of over 90 state-run hotels consisting of restored castles, monasteries, convents, fortresses, manor houses and palaces, and are found in some of the most beautiful corners of the Iberian Peninsula. […]

Lost In Europe

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I’m in that happiest state – between books. I finished one last week and am not planning to start another for two weeks. In this lacuna it’s time for a break, and Europe is England’s garden, just a short hop to a thousand interesting destinations. But one of the problems I have about European travel […]

Why Outsiders Make The Best Writers

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I recently got into an argument about tattoos. We have our first Prime Minister with a tattooed wife, and I agree somewhat with the Joan Collins quote; ‘Once if you wanted to see the fat lady and the tattooed man you had to go the circus.’ The Times just ran an article about the rise […]