Ornate wooden library filled with books and readers
Title

The Last Post

Christopher Fowler

A book is forever.

In August 2008, I set up a blog with Simon Moore, the London creative art director I hugely respect, to cover books, films, the arts and - it turns out - to spark impromptu discussions about Britain's collapsing social fabric. OK, that part hadn't been planned but you could hardly avoid it. It was a bit like setting out to interview Melvyn Bragg and finding yourself stuck with Hannibal Lecter.

But the unexpected articles often produced surprising and delightful results. I met one commenter whose mother brought her husband to London to see a model railway constructed in a King's Cross backstreet, and another who was revealed to be one of my favourite missing authors.

We put together experimental writers and unknown artists, republishing their work or getting them started in the first place. Pete Townsend became a fan and offered to give me his old vinyl. I had to admit to him that I didn't own anything to play them on. Many commenters started casually using the message boards, although it went a little far when members of the same household started using it as a bulletin board to look for missing household objects.

Some of us went exploring London's secrets (and pub-crawling along the way) or attended literary events together. We helped move a library via a human chain in Estonia, and I travelled the length of our own country seeking out the arcane and the under-appreciated. We drove to Dracula's castle in Transylvania to check out a book. As you can see, the background fabric to Vlad the Impaler's portrait was dralon, or possibly brushed nylon.

Our final event took place aboard Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hinde in London in August 2022:

Somehow everything always returned us to London...

Necrotic

It was when I realised I could not handle short staircases that my future became apparent. My muscles had wasted away. I suddenly looked like my grandfather. Physical deterioration, accompanied by mental fog. As the illness increased its invasive speed I could no longer keep my head clear enough to work. I needed the time I had left to try and finish a short story, but even that is now in danger of remaining unfinished. Arabic architects are supposed to leave a corner of their work unfinished for Allah.

I had a book I had taken from a hotel. Bookworms had left curlicues through its pages, adding to its beauty. Below, a bookworm cast earlier today.

There is something magical about an unopened novel. There are all those shelves filled with luscious unread books...and now I can't even reach them.

So this is my last post. The blog will remain but be dormant. In the meantime I'm planning to leave thousands of blog pieces and let the the books speak for themselves.

A Book Is A Living Object

Its life can be be infinitely extended or strangled at birth.

It may start lifelong love affairs or wars.

It may simply fail to to ignite with wealthy members of the public and penniless poets alike.

It is a weapon and a companion. Once the words are written down they become real.

The blog is ephemeral, like most newspaper articles. Books are not, because they are physical artefacts. That's my two-penneth, and now it's spenteth.

Hard To Write

It's very hard to write now without falling asleep or forgetting what I was going to say. If there's something I really need to get out I'll put it on Twitter. So you might want to check your old @peculiar feed once in a while. All fun things have to come to an end. I love you all. Except for that horrible old troll - are there any other kind?

There, now you have a smidgen of extra time on your hands, go have fun.

...and read a book.

Comments

muninnhuginn (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 15:07

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

What more to add to all the lovely comments?! I've been saving and savouring your books--and enjoying catching up on the blog having found it quite recently--but the new posts will be missed.

Take care!

Lew (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 15:27

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you for all the many gifts of insight and humor. All the very best to you and your husband.

Stephen Gallagher (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 15:59

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

See you down the line, mate.

Paul c (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 16:29

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

There is an obvious imperative to set up a Christopher Fowler Apprecistion Society website / fan club website ASAP. Does anyone have the necessary IT skills ?

We absolutely must keep these exceptional books in print !

Roger (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 16:33

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Chris I cannot thank you enough for the pleasure we have had in listening and reading your work, books and blogs. Your humour, knowledge and inspiration have been a God send over the last few years. You are brilliant, Bryant and May will always remain our favourite detectives, I have never been able to work out if they are fictional or real, but what is real is your portrayal of London. The city has never been researched and described so well as in the B and M stories.

Thank you so, so much.

Mish (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 16:38

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Sending love and warm thoughts to you and Pete and everyone who cares about you!
Thank you for many things.
:)

Tim Lees (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 16:56

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Some writers are admired. Some are loved. You've managed to be both. Thank you, Chris. Wishing you the best.

Christine (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 17:08

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Our side will dearly miss you but I guess all the wonderful people who left us already too soon look forward to welcoming you. And I know you will have a beer and a long chat with Dan.

Des Burkinshaw (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 17:28

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Just to add, was thinking back to the first time we met, when I interviewed you for the Strange Tide launch. For newer fans who haven't seen it...from 2016.
https://youtu.be/gyBzb4X82JQ

Kelly Duncan (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 18:01

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you so much for books, blog, and everything. And most especially, for me, B&M. I have read them all and will keep them forever.

Farewell Mr. Fowler.

Stephen (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 18:25

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Hi Chris, I'm sorry to see this.Thank you for the highly entertaining Short stories and novels particularly the Byrant and May novels which I will be reading again from the start some time.

Graeme (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 18:39

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

All the best to you and yours.
Thanks for all the arcane information, opinions, songs, and book and film suggestions on this blog; but most of all your own wonderrful novels and short stories.

Janet (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 18:47

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

So sorry to read this. I have taken so much pleasure from your books and your blog and been introduced to so many things, thank you so much. Do take care

Chris Erickson (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 19:18

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I will truly miss this blog, the only one I read, but am happy to know I have not made it through your entire catalog! Bryant and May have been constant friends and I have enjoyed the memoirs immensely too. Roofworld, Plastic and Hell Train were quite fun and I now look forward to seeking out all the rest!! Thanks for all you've given us and God Bless!

Ben M (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 19:23

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

You're writing skills have left a legacy of books which many more will enjoy, I suspect you've had fun writing them too. I've enjoyed your books and those you've discusses and recommended. I hope you enjoy your time reading many more.

Lorraine (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 19:23

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Sending best wishes Chris. Your books and blog have given me so much enjoyment and delight over the past few decades. I have recommended your stories and novels to many of my friends who have eagerly added them to their reading list. What a fabulous gift you will have made to present and future readers with Bryant & May and the PCU. Thank you Chris for sharing your wonderful imagination and making reading time so much fun! Take care and much love. x

keith page (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 19:55

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I'll always remember our lively chats in 'The Fellow' pub and also playing a small part in the story of our old friends
John and Arthur.

Tim Goodman (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 19:56

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

We never met- although the intention was there. And yet I feel I know you. As the voice of Bryant and May, I have spent 20 years in your company, and delighted in every book. I felt so in tune with the old boys - only a little older than me- and I do hope I did them justice , and satisfied you when you finally listened to them ! ( I entirely understand your initial reluctance ). I have now, more or less, retired. It seems timely. The books remain ; they- and you - will always be a happy memory. Thank you.

A Holme (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 20:13

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

This has been the most beautiful place to visit. Thank you.

Rupert Stubbs (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 20:16

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you for the joy you’ve given us all. It’s a hell of a legacy.

Robert Low (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 21:06

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I've not much to add - other than another thank you.

JB (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 22:07

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you for all your marvellous writing.
We are so lucky to have you.
I am glad that I was able to say thank you, in person, a few years ago in Huddersfield.
All the best.
Take care.

Mcannon (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 22:16

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Chris - though I’m a long-time fan of your work, and have greatly enjoyed this blog for several years, I’ve never posted here until now.

Thank you so very much for all that you’ve given us.

Ruzz (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 22:18

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I have enjoyed your blog so much (and learnt from it too). Very best wishes - and I'll look forward to those occasions when you can tweet. Thank you.

Lisa (not verified) Thu, 19/01/2023 - 22:59

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you so much for Bryant and May and for this blog. You’re one of my all time favorite authors. I’m excited that I managed to score a copy of The Casebook of Bryant and May today, but so sad to see you’re feeling worse. I’ll be on the lookout for you on twitter. Peace be with you.

Chris Adams (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 00:13

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Don't quite know what to say. I hope you realize the joy you have brought to so many people with your writing. Please take great care.Love to you and Pete. Thank you so muchx

Porl (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 00:25

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

How much joy have we received in everything that you have shared, here and elsewhere. Your knowledge and generosity running through everything. And it goes on. Forever. A massive body of work in print. A massive body of work within this blog. I know I and others will revisit it often. You always took the time. And we thank you for that. X

Martin Tolley (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 00:38

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

What others have said far better than I. It's difficult to write anything sensible with tears in my eyes. We will miss you so much. Thank you for all you have given us, the books, the stories, the recommendations and the inspirations, and thank you for this wonderful blog space where so many of us have met, laughed and learned, and talked among ourselves about things trivial and about things of great moment. You have changed so many lives.
Goodbye Mr F. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Best wishes to you and to Pete.

Mike Stafford (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 00:38

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I wouldn't be human if I didn't shed a tear after reading this. A tear of sadness, but also a tear of gratitude. I will be forever grateful I had the pleasure of reading your works. Bryant & May are first in the pantheon of detective duos. Thank you for everything you gave those of us lucky enough to read your books, blogs, and tweets.

Anne Patrick (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 01:27

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

So sad to read this. Thank you for all of your wonderful novels & witticisms. I shall miss reading your updates.
Peace & love be with you.

Heather Isaacs (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 02:50

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I don’t know exactly what to say but thank you for the Bryant and May books. I kept a running notebook of all the words I had to look up while reading the books ( thank you for adding definitions into the last ones). Sadly I’ve misplaced that notebook and now I’m motivated to find it and remember how you’ve enhanced my vocabulary. Much love from Minnesota!

Anu (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 03:27

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you for all the insight, inspiration, joy and laughter your writing brings, here in this blog--and especially in the Bryant and May books. My husband and I own every book in the series, and we have always eagerly been on the lookout for the next. You will be deeply missed here.

Helen Turnage (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 04:29

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I love you too, Christopher

Mary Horrocks (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 04:34

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you for the Bryant and May - I think of you every time the train goes past the splendid Bryant and May match factory in Melbourne. "Full Dark House" was the first book I bought after I moved to Australia, and I finished the last this Christmas.

Just that.

Thank you.

Kim T (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 04:56

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

We won’t forget you Mr Chris. May love surround you as you continue your journey. You are beautiful!

Auntie Jellyfish (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 07:48

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

The blog, the memoirs, the fiction... we have been so very lucky to have you. You have added 'Quality Adjusted Years' to my life. Thank you and sending my very best wishes for expert and loving care.

Tufty (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 10:18

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I've bought books because of you, I've watched movies because of you - I'll use the time to catch up with Bryant & May. Thank you- It's been a pleasure. Twitter added.

Mark (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 11:59

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

thank you for both the books and the blog my life has been richer from reading them

Matt Evenden (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 12:12

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Dear Christopher,

Thank you for all your wonderful work, particularly Paperboy which has stayed with me.

Our world is richer for your words.

Granny (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 12:37

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you for bringing Bryant and May into my life,I am on my 3rd reading of them, thankyou for the blogs, thankyou for sharing, much love to you and those around you

Tanya Morton (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 15:01

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

You have had more impact on our lives in many countries than you might realise. Thank you for the memories and entertainment and escapism. Lots of love from Australia xxx

Jamie (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 16:12

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Just another of many voices thanking you for the creativity and talent you shared with us through your work. Your humor and fascination with the odd, little known details of history are always a delight to read. Hoping your time matches the joy you've brought into the world.

Rob C (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 16:54

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

And now I am struck dumb, the end of an era, and of a large part of my life. God Speed Chris, in the words of Douglas Adam’s ‘So long, and thanks for all the fish’

Peter T (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 17:11

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you for your books, your blog, and for making the world a much better place. The waves you have made will travel on for ever. We all love you.

diana (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 18:40

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

With gratitude and good wishes for the next adventure

J. Folgard (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 19:26

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you for your books, which I've been reading for decades (and will reread for more to come). They opened up a lot of interests for me, beginning with Spanky and Roofworld, and Menz Insana when I got into comics, and all the following works. You're a great writer, the kind that remains a dear friend whatever happens, even if we never met.

Sarah Bolmarcich (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 20:38

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I was in London over the holidays for the first time in 15 years (and the first time since I started reading your work) and as I passed places featured in your novels I kept thinking “this is where Bryant and May…”

Thank for the education and fun your books provide.

Marty Terrier (not verified) Fri, 20/01/2023 - 21:10

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Chris, I have been savoring your books since a friend introduced me to the Bryant and May stories in 2007. I immersed myself in each book, reading, rereading and enhancing the experience with Google Earth maps, Wikipedia lookups, and trips to the Oxford English Dictionary. What gifts they have been, and will continue to be for many years to come. Peace and love to you.