The Future? Is That It Then?


In 1967 I read a magazine listing the top things consumers wanted right now, not in the future. They included flat TV screens and legalised marijuana. Well, those things came, just fifty years later. Today I opened my paper (I’m using that term metaphorically. I hit a Google tab) and found myself looking at a Victorian […]

Discovering Rituals & Ceremonies


The Pahlevani and Zoorkhanei rituals in Iran are a peculiar mixture of weight-lifting, dancing, gymnastics and music which have been around for 2,000 years, and now it’s possible for outsiders to experience them. Iran is opening up to travel (although it’s a massive country and there are no internal flights due to a lack of […]

The Collectors


That’s it for me; it’s the end of summer and I’m returning to the UK this weekend with two new stand-alone novels and a non-fiction book under my belt. It’s been a great period of intensely hard work. Having finished, I was strolling about yesterday and thinking about the strange habits of collectors when I […]

The Other Arthur Bryants


Over two decades ago I invented a pair of detectives, Arthur Bryant and John May. But it turned out, to my surprise, that Arthur Bryant already existed. This namesake came to light because a reader pointed out the similarity, but when I discovered that Sir Arthur Wynn Morgan Bryant also spoke at my alma mater, […]

The (Un)Fashionable Author


I’ve always been a bit of a clothes-horse; at a time when most authors were exploring the world of corduroy I was wearing Dirk Bikkenberg. It helps that I’m a boring off-the-peg size and usually find the fit I want. It becomes particularly hard for older men to find anything that doesn’t make them look […]

More Fast Food For Writers!


Steaming into the final furlong of my new (non-Bryant & May) novel, I’m working and eating (and occasionally sleeping) at my table, and as there were a lot of Guess-The-Ingredients comments about my 3-minute salad, here are some more very fast meals you can do wherever you have access to fresh ingredients. Tuna, mint, basil, […]

There’s A Hole In My Bucket List


You know those books, ‘101 things you should do before you die’? I never get through them. I get bored halfway. That’s the equivalent of taking a gap year and getting stuck doing bar-work in Australia in Month 4 (so I’m told; I left school on a Friday and started work on the Monday, as we […]

A Message To Millennials

Multiethnic Group of People Social Networking at Cafe

According to a series of major US surveys, teens are increasingly swearing off alcohol, cigarettes, dope and prescription painkillers. Millennials are taking their cues from their Baby Boomer folks, those born between 1946 and 1964 who are veterans of the sexual and psychedelic revolutions of the 1960s and 70s. Apparently this is to do with the new […]

Why Does Wealth Work Against Creativity?

Gracia 2016

Latvia is not a rich country. When the city of Riga needed to move its books from the old library to the new one, on the other side of its central river, the Daugava, it came up with a novel idea. The city’s residents formed a human chain over the bridge from one library to […]

Why A Tie?


Watching the trailer for ‘Rogue One’, the Star Wars prequel, you can’t help but be struck by the way it hits this decade’s most popular trope – the rebel girl. ‘On your own from the age of 15,’ says the commander, ‘reckless, aggressive and undisciplined,’ as if these are adequate job qualifications. ‘I rebel,’ says […]