There’s Always A Dan Brown

Visitors who stay in my house always leave behind books and sun oil, and there’s always a Dan Brown. The little buggers breed – I have to keep throwing them out. But there has always been a Dan Brown. Recently I read ‘Judas!’ by Peter Van Greenaway, in which the discovery of a Dead Sea […]

3D HE Not OK

Another rash of articles today about 3D films, largely due to the imminent (well, December) arrival of James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’. Journalists are keen to point out that the ‘new 3D’ uses polarised lenses, although actually they’re not that new – they were used for ‘Andy’s Warhol’s Frankenstein’ back in the seventies. But digitised images mean […]

Summer Night Debates

I am here on a starry coastline having dinner with eight old friends, and we should probably be discussing favourite books, but instead the subject turns to the unique peculiarities that separate men and women – and it’s suggested that only men would ever produce a poo so big they would want to proudly show […]

Rocky’s Other Shows

Tea: Opiate Of The English

In a related revelation, Malcolm Cross, a psychologist at City University, London, tested the anxiety levels of a group of people after a stressful situation and found that even a single cup has a significant calming effect. His team gave 42 volunteers a mental arithmetic exam and afterward offered half of them a cup of […]

Autumn Highlights: The IgNobel Prize

The IgNobel Prizes are coming in October. Last years winners for less-than-entirely-enlightening scientific studies included: NUTRITION PRIZE. Massimiliano Zampini of the University of Trento, Italy and Charles Spence of Oxford University, UK, for electronically modifying the sound of a potato chip to make the person chewing the chip believe it to be crisper and fresher […]

The Horror Of Houseguests

My friend Jennifer writes to tell me of a NYT article concerning the biggest problem in August; houseguests from Hell. God forbid you live near the sea, because you’ll suddenly find yourself with friends you’ve never even met. I’ve invited a friend or two to my house in France, only to find there are about […]

Bookshops: The Taboo Subject

When it comes to making criticisms about bookshops, authors must tread very carefully. If they speak out, there’s a good chance that someone will be stung into making the most obvious threat; ‘Well, we won’t stock your books, then.’ We all love bookshops, so it seems churlish to complain as we might in any other […]

Guy Sings

A bit of free association today. I tried to post a clip from ‘Black Books’ (see piece on bookshops further down) but they’ve all been disabled. Then I remembered the glory that was ‘Green Wing’, a series that managed to be surreal, rude, beautifully written and sweet all at once. The series was also a […]

No Sex Please – We’re Englishwomen

A new magazine purporting to be aimed at intelligent women seeking erotica has been the subject of cockblocking by its printers. ‘Filament’ launched in the UK with pretty tame coverage of men, and its female readers demanded edgier nudity. But the law is vague concerned states of male arousal in mainstream magazines. Filament attempted a […]