Another London Walk Part 1

The last few days of fine late summer weather have lured me out to look around at the streets. One walk sends me through half a dozen surprising London churches, another gets me along the Thames and a third passes through the alleyways of Clerkenwell and the Square Mile. I started wondering: How can a […]

Fancy Words & Plain English

This is the latest in an occasional round-up on readers and writers, books and their readability or unreadability, general discussion points for us all. First up; Are you a book snob? Recent reports suggest that one reason for not buying e-books is that others don’t know what you’re reading. Women find men who carry books […]

A Proud History Of Corrupting Youth: The Last Word On EC

I’ve looked at strange old comics a few times over the years (follow the hotlinks below), but thought I’d have one last look, precipitated by a new publication.  Comic books, that is the bound free-standing comic periodicals, were born in 1933 when Bill Gaines’s father looked at comic strips in newspapers and wondered if they’d […]

London Bridge Isn’t The Only One Falling Down

Google ‘London Bridge’ and see what comes up. When I was researching the 19th Bryant & May book ‘Oranges & Lemons’, I started branching off on my hunt for unusual corners of the city’s history, and realised that I was storing ideas for another book which would become the next novel, ‘London Bridge Is Falling […]

Death Under Lock And Key

Meet the king of the keys… He was the bard of the barred, the lord of the locked-up, the king of the keys. Robert Adey worked what I could only call an extreme niche of the murder mystery writing trade. Throughout his life (he died in 2015) he had collected notes on his particular area […]

The Friday Song Sunday Pop-Up!

Even disguised as an adiposally-challenged lady, John Travolta can still remind us that he started out as a terrific song-and-dance man on the stage. Also, check out the Actors’ Fund Charity Hairspray finale on Youtube, featuring just about everyone who was ever in the show in a self-isolating finale. The link’s for a good cause, […]

Random Weekend Thoughts

Could Less Be More? I’ve been thinking about posting longer articles with less frequency. A piece every day, in days which are sometimes fraught with meetings and a tight writing schedule, plus the everyday bore of household chores, is manageable but tends to take the edge off my regular word count. Also, I’d like to […]

Criminally Different (A Baker’s Dozen Of Underrated Crime Films)

What makes a good crime film? Well, there has to be an innocent whose eyes are opened and a criminal on a mission, and there’s usually someone trapped between the two, creating a moral problem. But the usual suspects, like ‘The Usual Suspects’, are absent here. In any top ten list you’ll find ‘Bonnie & […]

Bermondsey Market: The Last Of The Lawless

For 700 years, Bermondsey Market, just south of Tower Bridge, operated under a law that became known as ‘the thieves’ charter’. The market was a marché ouvert. The ancient allowed that if an item was sold between sunset and sunrise its provenance couldn’t be questioned. The law only changed its status in 1995. Bermondsey Market was the […]

Call Me By My Name

In the new baby name polls of 2020 for the UK, parents have gone traditional with Oliver, Harry, George, Edward, Noah and Arthur (hurrah!) back in vogue. Of course, the Victorians were prepared to experiment with names like Isambard and Brilliant, but in times of uncertainty we move back into our comfort zones. However, last […]