London Pubs No. 5: The Seven Stars, Carey St

Hidden away behind the Royal Courts of Justice (High Court) this odd little pub is about as quaint as the courts are grand. It was one of a handful of local buildings to survive the Great Fire (1666) and in 2002 celebrated its 400th anniversary with a street party. Proprietor Roxy Beaujolais is presumably still […]

Above The Fire

My friend Simon has been art-directing shoots around the rooftops of London, and discovered that you can actually get to the very top of The Monument. Above the ball of fire there’s room for just one person to stand…

London Pubs No. 4: The Tipperary Fleet St

The Tipperary in Fleet Street used to be called The Boar’s Head. It was built in 1605 with stones taken from the Whitefriars Monastery, stones that allowed it to survive unharmed in the raging inferno of the Great Fire of London. The Tipperary claims to be the first Irish pub outside Ireland and the first […]

Sex, Death & Sharp Objects

In Paris at the weekend, I was reminded once more that France does not operate in the same kind of ‘Nanny State’ atmosphere as England. After creeping about the deserted (and partially flooded) Paris Catacombs, I went to a modern art exhibition where the French families in front of me happily took their toddlers around […]

Falling In Love With Books

A bookshop should hold the promise of what you might find inside – a hint of mystery and excitement. In England we’ve fallen under the dominance of chain stores, but it’s not the same elsewhere. Here’s a shop I found in Paris that looks like Harry Potter would shop here, although they wouldn’t stock him. […]

Lost Cinemas

I once read an interview with the editor of the Daily Mail, in which he said that the ideal article in his paper was one that left the reader feeling bitter, angry or scared. Its feature on before-and-after shots of cinema sites don’t quite do that, but they make you wonder about the direction of […]

Great Covers Of Our Time

Well, I’ve not always added to the roster of cool covers. This alarming illustration by the rather wonderful artist Les Edwards was my very first book cover, and is enough to send a child under a table. The original artwork was taken down by a relative who felt too disturbed to look at it, and […]

Non-Local News

I had to post this because it’s awesome – the shuttle Atlantis en route to repair the Hubble telescope, photographed against the sun. It’s how I think space should look, not cluttered with Sith lasers and stormtroopers. To boldly go, indeed.

London Pubs No.3: The Viaduct Tavern

This impressive corner pub faces its famous namesake, Holborn Viaduct. Queen Victoria opened it in 1869, the Viaduct not the pub, although they were both opened in the same year. Holborn Viaduct connected Holborn with Newgate Street, avoiding the River Fleet below. The pub has a large curved frontage, but the interior is surprisingly small. […]

Arthur Bryant’s Beliefs

My detective Arthur Bryant is opinionated about a great many things, and particularly vexes his devout landlady on the subject of religion. In the next book, ‘Bryant & May On The Loose’, he lays out his argument. I was surprised to find a graphic representation of this argument on a website recently.