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Christopher Fowler
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My mother came from an age when there were still unspoken family secrets. It took me years to realise that her mother was not her natural mother but a relative who had raised her. That was when I heard about my purported uncle Jeffrey. There were two many surnames floating around on my mother's side of the family, one of which was, rather incredibly, 'Flowers Dell'. We were a typically British…
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Christopher Fowler
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Hardly anyone remembers his name now, but William Connor was once such a beloved figure and national treasure that he was knighted. He was a columnist for the Daily Mirror who wrote under a more familiar name: Cassandra. Known for concision and clarity, he wrote for the everyman. Famously his articles were cancelled during WWII, and after the conflict ended and his column was reinstated he began…
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Christopher Fowler
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I've often wondered, when seeing a particularly raunchy film, a daring play or an exhibition, 'Where can things go from here?' It's not a question of censorship; more one of taste. We live in tasteless times. Trump looks like a bright orange clown, UK politicians run from an albino clown, Lord Snooty, Catweazle and Farridge, a man who looks like one of those rotating Victorian open-mouthed funfair…
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Christopher Fowler
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An interesting piece in the London Times this morning. Shane Allen, Head of BBC comedy, has declared old comedy dead and says that shows like Monty Python which feature 'six white Oxbridge males' wouldn't be commissioned now, and that in future there will be more diversity, with the all-black show 'Famalam' proving popular. Now, there are several contradictory things about this. Aside from the…
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Christopher Fowler
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No Spoilers Netflix's new documentary series isn't new or theirs; it was made by a man with the Frenchest name in the world, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, over many years and has been screened in parts before on the BBC and in France. It has also been the subject of numerous true-crime TV shows, books and podcasts. The barest bones; in 2001 novelist Michael Peterson's wife died after apparently falling…
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Christopher Fowler
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Morecambe & Wise got me fit. I know Joe Wicks is the current go-to fitness instructor (apart from the man carved from orange plastic on 'Love Island') but I had Britain's beloved comedy duo help me on the road to fitness. I was working with Morecambe & Wise on a shoot and Eric, who could be quite annoying because he was hyperactive and exhausting to be around, warned me that I was getting fat. I…
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Christopher Fowler
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This piece stems from a compliment the author Katherine Stansfield paid to me last week. She said; 'You manage to write crime novels without meanness.' We grew up with unthinking sexism as the norm, often benign, sometimes pernicious. From the James Bond novels to the Carry On films we laughed as ugly men were surrounded by sexualised young women. In the nation's companies, women were mainly…
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Christopher Fowler
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Happy Royal Wedding Day...the sun is glorious, the pubs are covered in flags and the Windsor wedding has a gospel choir - what's not to enjoy? To add to it, here's Madeline Kahn, Stephen Sondheim, a live show, an impeccable performance, great lyrics (especially that list) and the final bouquet catch!
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Christopher Fowler
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Of course some pleasures are universal. I'm a Shakespeare obsessive because you know, words, and after you trim away all the fat (who needs the second appearance of the ghost in Hamlet?) you have stories filled with emotions that everyone has felt and can therefore understand. I love Game of Thrones because it's basically the History Plays without the boring bits and sodding Falstaff, plus dragons…
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Christopher Fowler
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The best piece of advice I was ever given was; 'If 5 million people all love the same thing, you at least need to know about it and understand why'. The writer who stops caring what the mass of the public likes makes himself irrelevant.' But these are the things I struggle with. All books that have an amusing society in their title Calling a book 'The Ukranian Pie Hotel' doesn't make it quirky…
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