Summer’s End: The Thames Festival

The Thames has an illustrious history of hosting pageants, and it’s good to see that this is celebrated again with the Thames Festival, although being at another event that night (also on the Thames) somehow I contrived to both be there and miss it, thanks to the convoluted way in which the river folds back […]

Official: Great Britain Now Going Backwards

Over the last few weeks all we’ve heard about in London is The Beatles, as if they’d reformed or Oasis had finally turned into them (they wish). It was all part of a cross-media onslaught to foist remastered CDs, games and other tat on a new generation of purchasers. But in news that will horrify […]

Are Gilbert & Sullivan Finally Dead?

Last night I was at an open-air performance of ‘The Yeomen Of The Guard’ in the moat at the Tower Of London. I thought it might be fun to see a site-specific opera that’s rarely performed now. Opera snobs loathe G&S for its stodginess (and I’ve seen some really bad productions) but the muscular energy […]

Bryant & May: The Hidden References

Planning the Bryant & May novels with a long overview, I carefully bury oblique references across the series. Only a crazy person would sit down with them and start teasing out all the connected strands that I tucked into the stories. Luckily, Ian Alexander Martin is mad as a badger, and seems intent on finding […]

Objects of Desire No.1

I don’t really enjoy shopping but you can’t help doing it in London, and I’m certainly not patriotic (I prefer to take a global view). However, these retro desert boots, spotted in Oxford Street, are pretty cool. Tomorrow night we’re having dinner in the Tower Of London and I have to wear a tie – […]

Real Places That Look Like Places In Books No.2

This is actually behind Monte Carlo – I took it from a boat. But if you were ever writing a country house murder or a thriller about a jewel robbery, isn’t this where you might set it?

Another Theory

I’d forgotten John Cleese’s wonderful Anne Elk. She reminds me of an awful lot of graduates.

The Drama Code

Dan Brown’s new book is approaching in the eye of a media hurricane, and I’ll probably read it despite the lousy writing, because it will be a page turner and will be hugely popular. What was it about The Da Vinci Code that propelled a very ordinary shelf-filler into superstardom? The traditional drama theory goes […]

More Gems From The Weird Shelf

They’re the kind of books Arthur Bryant would choose to collect, although a few are too weird even for him. Possibly in years to come they’ll be joined by ‘The Peter Andre Story’ and other bestsellers of our time. Especially odd when I recall there are some great books written by professional writer friends that […]

Not Forgotten

The Independent On Sunday just restarted my column ‘Forgotten Authors’ on September 6th, and will hopefully continue running regularly again, thanks to new lit. ed. Katy Guest. If there’s a forgotten author you’d like to see featured, let me know. I’m especially short of good popular women authors.