Mike Leigh

Only If You’re Having One

If the British are so obsessed with tea, why are there no hip teashops, only coffee bars? All sorts of theories abound. Coffees can be fancified with complex rituals, from the patterning of froth to the ordering of ‘soy decaf flat white with a side of hot milk and a twist’ variety. (I actually heard […]

12 Things British People Call Each Other

  Tosh 19th cent in the sense of ‘nonsense’, but its derivation as a nickname is less certain, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a diminutive of ‘kosher’, someone who scavenges in the sewers, especially in London during the Victorian era. The word ‘tosher’ was also used to describe the thieves who stripped copper from […]

Re:View – ‘Mr. Turner’

Anyone who has worked extensively with artists will notice a paradox; you can rarely see the art inside of them, for who they are is not what they produce. Mike Leigh makes the case strongly in his biography of William Turner, the Victorian artist who became the master of light on canvas at a time […]

10 Great Movies About The Theatre

  At the moment the theatre world is turning to old films for inspiration, but what about the other direction? Once, a huge number of movies were made from plays. In cinema’s early years there was a rush to shoot the classics and the great historical stories in this country; after all, the nation was steeped […]

London Corners – Keystone Crescent

There are hundreds of books about London, many of them repetitive regurgitations of factoids, but of course there are many gems, including ‘Tired of London, Tired of Life: One Thing A Day To Do In London’ by the excellent Tom Jones, expanded from his hardworking website. (He has also pulled off the same trick for […]

Life, Love & The Pursuit Of Happiness

I’ve been researching for the final draft of the twelfth Bryant & May novel, and this question arose. Which countries work the longest hours? Does the amount you work relate to happiness? The South Koreans put in the most work-time, with a massive annual total of 2,193 hours, followed by Chile at 2,068. In Europe the […]

Must Fiction Accurately Reflect The Past? Part One

It’s a problem besetting any writer working in a period setting. How far do you go to recreate the past? Only a decade or two has to pass before the past becomes almost unrecognisable. Go a little further back and it becomes almost impossible to render accurately. This problem is particularly pronounced in film. The […]

Repeat After Me

The Independent reports that scientists at Cornell University have created a computer program to break down the formula behind some of cinema catchphrases. Computer scientist Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil (possibly bothered by the fact that his name will never become a catchphrase) wanted to check political speeches and news bulletins to pick out the best lines, but […]