Britain’s Maddest Event

‘Burn him in a tub of tar Burn him like a blazing star Burn his body from his head Then we’ll say old Pope is dead.’ It’s almost time for the most bonkers event in the country…no, not the newly adopted US-style Hallowe’en but Guy Fawkes’ Night, and although there are no urchins on street […]

Opinion: Why Is An Idea Worth Less Than A Brand?

There’s much hand-wringing about expenses and salaries in the press at the moment. The BBC seems to be suffering such a desperate dearth of ideas that all they can think of doing is throwing money at existing ‘faces’, but the idea-generators, the writers, are still on a pittance. This is highlighted when you consider that […]

Comics: Not A Wise Move

As a new show about Eric Morecambe opens at the Duchess Theatre,it was revealed this week that the beloved British comedy duo almost ended before it really began. A letter from Ernie Wise surfaced stating “I want to get straight to the point. I want us to break up the act. I feel it would […]

The London That Was & Wasn’t

More on those books below – ‘London As It Might Have Been’ is an in-depth look at all of the palaces, towers, mausoleums, archways and vast ridiculous constructions architects have planned for the city over the centuries – and there have been a lot of them, idealistic, breathtaking and plain wrong. It’s a fun book […]

A London Puzzle

Around about now I’d normally be running a competition to win some books, but as we are still witnessing the death-throes of the Royal Mail, all I can offer for getting this right is a mention in this column and the knowledge of a job well done. Here is the K6 by Sir Giles Gilbert […]

Did Reading Just Evolve Further?

Probably not,according to Nicholson Baker in the New Yorker. ‘Here’s what you buy when you buy a Kindle book,’ he says. ‘You buy the right to display a grouping of words in front of your eyes for your private use with the aid of an electronic display device approved by Amazon.’ The edited version of […]

London Books

New books on London are hardly news; dozens are published each year. But I’m excited about Terry Farrell’s look at how cities are shaped by landscape. It should be of interest to anyone who wonders why London’s streets are so unfathomably awkward to get around. Three further volumes I’d recommend are here in my own […]

Forgotten Authors No. 40: Francis Durbridge

My ‘Forgotten Authors’ column has sort-of restarted in the Independent On Sunday, but like good programmes on the BBC schedules, has a habit of disappearing at short notice because it’s not time-sensitive. Here’s the last one if you missed it. 40. Francis Durbridge I suspect there are readers who not only remember Durbridge’s work but […]

Covent Garden Turns Into Warren Street

This is the 53-foot long giant helium-filled rabbit that has appeared in Covent garden today. It’s an advertisement for the new Tate Modern show ‘Pop Life: Life In A Material World’ and is modelled on the stainless-steel Rabbit by pop artist Jeff Koons.

Coming Back To London

Summer’s end saw me selling my house in France and moving back to London. I’ll miss many things, but one of them won’t be the culture shock of arriving back in King’s Cross. On my last return I bade farewell to my happy, healthy summer pals and dressed in grey once more. I spent several […]