What Are Authors Meant To Look Like?

I once did a gig at Chiswick Library. It was raining hard, and the librarians had very sweetly pinned my picture onto a blackboard, surrounding it with Christmas tinsel. Just before I went on, two old dears stood up and made their way over to the photograph, which showed me sitting on a London pavement […]

A City Of Darkness Part 1

I’m away from London at the moment, and darting across scorching streets from shadow to shadow, avoiding the blazing continental sunlight. All around me, people are doing what Londoners only dream about – rollerblading, dancing, lounging about in bright light. The guarantee of outdoor light encourages group activities. It’s the light you notice most of […]

Northern Humour

This year I’m collecting and rewriting my ‘Invisible Ink’ columns into a book about once-popular authors who are now being forgotten (the weekly column continues in the Independent on Sunday). One noticeable group of writers is vanishing more quickly than others; the Northern comic authors. The Northern comic sensibility is dark and dry. The above […]

A US State Of Mind

When I was a kid I was incredibly influenced by the American mindset. It wasn’t that I saw many Hollywood movies – I saw a few, but largely grew up with English comedies starring annoying idiots like Charlie Drake and Norman Wisdom, who seemed to have a new film out every week. Rather it was […]

Why People Deny Geniuses

An interesting piece in the Independent today here about historical revisionism. The history books were grew up with were short on detail and followed a clear through-line, but as everyone except Creationists improve their understanding of the world, certain things become clear; slavery was a bad thing, many regimes and wars have proven disastrous, capitalism […]

How To Become Invisible

I get a bit depressed when I’m writing my forgotten authors column in the Independent On Sunday – the weekly column is now called ‘Invisible Ink’ , which allows me more scope to cover authors who are still alive – I don’t want to offend them by calling them ‘forgotten’ (as I managed to with […]

The Answer To Writer’s Block

I believe there doesn’t have to be any such thing as writer’s block. It’s all in our heads, but we’re sensitive folk and a depressed attitude is enough to stop the writing process. There are days when creativity is simply at a low ebb. The best thing to do then is start ‘sponging’, This is […]

The Lives Of Writers

A shameless plug for the Independent On Sunday today – I write each week about the easily lost works of writers, and this is part of this week’s column. Eventually I hope to gather them altogether into a book under the column’s new title, ‘Invisible Ink’. For the rest of it, see the Indie. Few […]

So, What Are You Working On?

It’s the question every writer dreads. It’s like actors who are forced to explain they’re ‘resting’ or currently working in bookshops. Writers are often between jobs. This week, I am in that unenviable state, and as a Worker Ant I don’t take kindly to twiddling my thumbs. My preparations for the World Horror Con later […]