The Missing Musician

There are a handful of modern composers whose identity can be clearly established across a crowded room. Obviously Phillip Glass is one, and Shostakovich perhaps. A recognisable style is presumably formed when a musician is compelled to reproduce their mental rhythms. Such a musician was Basil Kirchin. I had heard his music a very long […]

Film Week: Not Two Knights, Darling

Last film under discussion this week…   Both Gawain (which is here pronounced Ga-warn) and the Green Knight are Knights of the Round Table. ‘The Green Knight’ is the latest retelling of one of Britain’s oldest tales. There’s only one copy of it in the world, in the British Library, right around the corner from me, […]

Time Past: The Other Bond Review

I found another review written under the one I posted; a side effect of having a partially working brain, I suspect. I must have knocked it out in the dead of night and forgotten about it, so I include it here as passing interest. Here’s how you write a film script: Get commissioned. Have everyone tell […]

Film Week: 007’s Endgame

You feel treated by the whole enterprise. October sees the start of the season for those interested in the arts (and if you’re not, what are you doing here?). BAFTA begins its screening schedule, art exhibitions and new plays all appear after the summer doldrums and apparently the opera season roughly corresponds to the football, […]

Back On The Job

Oh, for fuck’s sake. I admit I get a bit minty occasionally, especially when I think about upcoming scans, which usually reveal C cells creeping over yet more internal organs like London mildew. But yesterday I was in hospital (lovely intubation, ladies, I’ve not a mark showing on me today) and read close to a […]

Genesis Of A Blog

In August 2008 I started this blog with a post about the neighbour in ‘Bewitched’. The posts were short and funny. They were not often about books. Sometimes we had songs or musical numbers. We had competitions, crosswords and treasure hunts, as if we were big children. Most author websites discussed literature, but I didn’t […]

The Moment My Country Left Me

My mother once gave me her explanation of the Union Jack. ‘It represents unity. We are four countries, not one, although we should be three.’ She never told me which one she would take out, but I assumed it was Ireland. As a child I formed a very clear idea of what my country was. […]

Urgent Hair Update

  When I was, oh I don’t know, about three (see above) I had a mop of blond hair, was forced into cardigans at the seaside and was the size of a large duck. When I was 7 years-old my father proudly introduced me to ‘Old Morris’ who would take tonsorial control of me now […]

A Sheffield Talk 2

(This article is continued) Arthur Upfield inspired a killer to copy his fictional perfect murder. Kathleen Winsor became the subject of a sex scandal. Other authors like Simon Raven never learned how to deal with sudden success and succumbed to a variety of hideous fates. Some were simply unlucky, some shied from the spotlight and […]

A Sheffield Talk

Some while back I gave a talk about forgotten authors in Sheffield. I’m not sure I’ve published it before, probably not in this form. It may be of passing interest only, but here it is; Once there were popular novels almost everyone owned. Mum had Georgette Heyer, Dad had Eric Ambler, kids had Billy Bunter […]