Observatory

The Men Are Being Eclipsed? Fine By Me.

Women, eh? They kept their mouths shut for ooh, centuries and then suddenly they’re all over the place demanding stuff. When an empire declines, when a group feels threatened, the aggression comes out – but in these times it takes new, slyly passive-aggressive forms. Opening the papers yesterday I find a new, subtly appalled article […]

How Technology Is Killing Fiction

I love modern technology. I’m an early adopter so connected that it requires a masters’ degree in electronics to run my life and even Apple geniuses give a low whistle when I have to explain my set-up. But there’s no question that it’s damaging fiction. That’s the thesis for today. First and most obviously, it’s […]

London In A New Light

The play ‘The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time’ by Mark Haddon contained a delightful Easter egg. After the curtain came down and the audience had risen and was putting on coats, the lead actor came back on stage and delivered the speech he could not perform in the play due to his […]

Finding Light In Darkness

How do you tell the story of a disaster without being accused of cheapening a tragedy or overwhelming visitors? More and more, buildings are opening that reveal terrible histories in an intelligent new way of curating. Budapest’s House of Terror, contains exhibits related to the equally disastrous fascist and communist regimes in 20th-century Hungary and is […]

New York VS London

It’s my first trip back tp NYC is a long while. Customs has finally been sorted out, even with newly added forms, scans, questions and access that reminds you of attempting to get into an oversubscribed new restaurant. It’s not bad at all. Heathrow is overcrowded, Gatwick sometimes sends you through tunnels  and underpasses  that look […]

Addicted To Travel

For a quarter of a century I went nowhere. I worked, ate, slept and saw millions of movies. The movie-viewing was part of my job and took up all my available free time. While others had gap years,  unpaid travel leave and sabbaticals I was in Curzons, Odeons and my own full-size office cinema. My […]

Overcoming Prejudice One Contact At A Time

At the end of this weekend I’m heading for New York on a very brief stopover. I haven’t been back in years, and for too long my main contact with the US has come from the UK and US press. Consequently, I’ve heard far too much about the extremes of American society, either the super-rich […]

Havana Laugh

Don’t worry – the shot above is not mine; I can’t access my photo cache (or much else) from here. It’s stormy in Havana. There’s a restless buzz in the air; dogs are fighting, the rains have brought torrential waterfalls from gutters and flooding in the streets but the bands, sheltering in the corners of […]

Vacaciones!

It’s been a hectic year. First, thanks to all the well-wishers who contacted me about my eye surgery. I’m OK, although I may not be illuminating any medieval manuscripts for a while. The timing was fortuitous, as I’m between books and need to recharge the batteries, ready to take a run at three new novels, […]

Trolls, There Are Some Things We Need To Discuss

Dear Trolls, Yesterday the president of America introduced yet another layer of check-ups on all arriving overseas passengers, effective immediately. When I politely mentioned this on Twitter I got a tsunami of poisonous racist mail back. You called me ‘Bitch’ and told that London was in fact ‘Londonstan’. You mailed me hate-photos of British Muslims. […]