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Christopher Fowler
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Concerning yesterday's piece, it was indeed the big hair version of the Robinson Crusoe story, made for French television in the sixties, which survives largely because of its delightful George van Parys soundtrack (there's a full album available). I collect obscure soundtracks because everything comes around again, and you never know when such music may come in useful. On TV at the moment is a…
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Christopher Fowler
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Think back to a time before your laptop screen, perhaps at a point during your childhood, when you discovered the joy of cutting and folding paper. The most primitive of hobbies is also the most sophisticated of arts. When I was small you could buy paper cut-out activity books, now not allowed because they involve scissors (yet somehow I managed to traverse a whole childhood armed with glue…
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Christopher Fowler
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You might fill a church hall but you're not Beyoncé I was once in a European bookshop when the bookseller asked; 'Are you famous?' I turned to my friend. 'Am I famous?' She considered the question for a moment. 'Well,' she told the bookseller, 'he's known.' There was a time when I became known in a way I hated, to the point where I nearly stopped writing. Here's what happened. I never planned my…
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Christopher Fowler
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I was once on a tube train sitting opposite a young punk who was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan; 'Mother Theresa Is A C*nt'. I was shocked, but also had to stop myself from laughing. It had been a long time since I had been surprised by someone insulting an untouchable treasure. When someone becomes very famous indeed, certain elements of their history are plucked from the publicity…
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Christopher Fowler
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Fake news. Massaged press releases. Omissions of fact. Inaccuracies. Hidden agendas. Prejudice. And in Trump's case, outright, instantly disprovable lies. How do you negotiate your way through this minefield to get to what's actually happening? There was an old tabloid trick that still stands today; print the lie, retract it tomorrow - because nobody reads retractions. If the absence of hard news…
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Christopher Fowler
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In these newly extreme times, the one area in which extremism hasn't triumphed is in the arts. As we approach Hallowe'en I wonder how long it will be before the spectre of horror censorship rises again, and art that shocks is banned. If any serious film dares to address, on any level, the problems of the world and learning from the past, it is examined in isolation and often condemned, especially…
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Christopher Fowler
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In 2015 Public Policy Polling asked voters in the US primary elections whether they favoured the bombing of Agrabah. A third of Republicans said they did, with 13% opposed, the figures reversing for Democrats. Agrabah is a fictional town from Disney's 'Aladdin'. It's now known that people ignore science that doesn't fit with their currently held views, a triumph of feeling over data. When faced…
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Christopher Fowler
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Autumn is a viewing-and-reading time for many people connected with media and the arts. October has 'Super Thursday', the day when over 500 books are published, more than on any other day of the year. The London Film Festival is on, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts is running all of its Oscar-contenders. Theatre puts away its musicals (some of them really deserve to be buried…
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Christopher Fowler
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The science fiction author JG Ballard predicted that writers would soon become obsolete. They would be like Victorian stock characters, with no discernible purpose in the world. He suggested that given external reality is now a fiction, you don't need to invent it anymore. It's an idea echoed by Adam Curtis, a Ballardian documentary-maker, here; More and more I find…
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Christopher Fowler
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At this time of the year crime books metaphorically hit my doormat in increased numbers, and a lot of them look the same; blocky white sans-serif typeface on moody landscape shot, a copy line that reads something like 'She awoke from a coma to find her daughter dead...but what if she's still alive?' Inside the text is present tense and inelegantly written. I ask myself, why would anyone read this…
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