Told To Be Old

Clearly there comes a day when a team from the government comes to your home or office and holds a meeting with you via a Powerpoint presentation, wherein they explain that you’ve been reclassified as an Old. They then reveal their plan for your future, which will involve becoming invisible, being ignored, sidelined and patronised. […]

A Wednesday Song Because…

It’s raining. I have a lot of work to get through before I head for Berlin tomorrow. I can’t find the piece I was going to post. So. What do you get if you cross the Argentinian Hollywood composer Lalo ‘Bullitt’ Schifrin with James Bond at his peak, hire Shirley Bassey to belt out the […]

Why We Need Hidden Heroes

  By winning the Oscar for Best Picture, Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape Of Water shifted the status of outsiders to the inside. Its liberal credentials are revealed in a variety of ways, from the fully fleshed out key roles taken by a voiceless woman, a middle-aged gay man and a black cleaning woman to the […]

Happy Birthday Frankenstein

He’s a sprightly 200 years old. Mary Shelley was only 20 when she conceived of a monster created from parts of animals and humans, galvanised to life. Her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley had attended anatomy classes and was fascinated by electrical experiments, which suggests that his ideas may have fed into hers. On that infamous […]

When Writing Becomes Teamwork

‘Nobody admires a good all-rounder.’ This was the motto of my earliest teacher/mentor Mr Scholar (really). It was advice I took to heart, by concentrating all my efforts on the subjects in which I excelled and dumping the vast majority I was lousy at. But it left me deficient in a number of skills, so […]

As I Was Saying…

The site is back up! This is entirely down to the uniquely talented creative director Simon Moore, who created the site in its first, most elegant incarnation (I’ve found the pictures we used for that one and I’ll post them next week). Next we’ll pick a new look for the site and get a few […]

The Friday Song…

…is arriving late owing to a signal failure at Waterloo. Your song will now appear as the Sunday Song, several versus shorter than the scheduled song, on Saturday afternoon. This is because I’m going to visit friends for the weekend, and it would be rude to take my laptop. There are plenty of reasons to […]

What’s The Time, London?

For a city that’s psychologically dominated by a very big grandfather clock* it’s appropriate that clocks and time feature so heavily in the city’s past and present. After all, London is the home of time itself, with the Greenwich Observatory setting Greenwich Mean Time. But there are many other London clocks of note. Big Ben […]

A Week In Esoteric London

Behind the hollowing-out of London, the glass-and-steel boxes of the Square Mile and the architectural uproar of the new railway line Crossrail which has resulted in entire city blocks vanishing overnight, quirky London clings on by its fingertips, surviving in the halls and pubs that haven’t been turned into luxury loft living. This week I […]

Ten Writing Tips That Work

If you’re coming in a few pages short in your manuscript, switch your typeface to Helvetica – it will add around 6 pages to every 100. Sometimes you can streamline and improve your story by imagining it in a different format, a comic book, a play, a piece of art even. A story is malleable; […]