People Have Been Asking Me…

…yes, but what was your father really like? Here are a couple of photos we wanted to use in the hardback of ‘Paperboy’ but I couldn’t find in time for publication. The first is me at Brighton, the other captures my father perfectly – aloof, alone, and the only time I ever saw him photographed […]

London’s Most Secluded Spots

Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington always comes as such a surprise after walking up the high street. The gravestones seemed incongruous in their setting, surrounded by the shops and houses of a North London town. Here, Isaac Newton had once sat composing hymns. Now, only those whose families once held plots from the private […]

Childhood Horrors

It used to be called the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, and everyone loved it. Now Mile End’s famous museum is owned by the V&A and – it’s horrible. What went wrong? Clearly, there’s been some confusion. Someone has assumed that ‘Museum of Childhood’ means ‘Museum For Children’ – not the same thing. Instead of […]

London Means Never Having To Say You’re Silly

London Fashion Week finished with a day of menswear. Yes, the current London style of wearing a skin-tight grey cardigan over a check shirt is over. You no longer have to look like an emaciated version of your grand-dad. Instead, choose one of these outfits and be the talk of certain parts of the town […]

Sleepless In London

When I was a kid, one of the first films I ever saw was ‘tom thumb’, which always played on the lower half of a double bill with ‘The Wizard Of Oz’, and I much preferred it to the main feature. For years, I was haunted by the creepy, charming Yawning Man. The film seems […]

Speaking Of Clowns…

Richard Williamson is the Bishop whose excommunication was lifted by the Pope in spite of him being a Holocaust denier. The ultraconservative Man Of God (or ‘nutcase’) is coming to Britain to stay with an anti-Semite former beauty queen and socialite (or ”Dimwit’).

Clowning Around In London

Joseph Grimaldi was the greatest British clown. Every year on the first Sunday in February, clowns from across the country meet in Dalston, East London, for the church service in his memory. This has been an annual tradition since 1946. In 1967 permission was given for clowns to attend in costume. Joey was born in […]

More Tube Weirdness

I’m researching tales of the tube at the moment, and have long heard stories about pigeons riding the tube to come in from city’s outskirts for the junk-food-horror that is Leicester Square. It seems a highly risible idea, but I’ve spoken to a few tube guards who swear this is true, and one of them […]

The Case Of The Singing Subway

Martin Sorensen from Kepler’s Books in the US sends me a great story about New York subway trains ‘singing’ the opening of the song ‘Somewhere’ from West Side Story. It’s to do with alternating current, and how this ended up sounding like a Sondheim song is explained here

This Week In London

…The Monument reopened. Wren’s commemorative 202 ft Doric column to the Great Fire of London had been planned and built very soon after the event, and has now been restored to its former glory. Its height is the distance to the fire’s starting point. A rather smart 3-D poster for jeans in the style of […]