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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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An author bullied out of print by the arrogance of the intelligentsia. When I asked if my mother wanted something to read, she instantly requested JB Priestley. 'The plays?' I asked. 'Of course not,' she replied testily, 'the novels.' John Boynton Priestley is mainly known for his theatre work, but Priestley was remembered to an older generation for some 26 novels that contained an astonishingly…
22 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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This endless talk of disease provides all sorts of ways to frighten yourself. I'm now avoiding bar charts inaccurately comparing countries and infection rates. I foolishly thought the balm of fiction would help. Stephen Soderberg's 'Contagion' is back topping the charts at Netflix. The kaleidoscopic star-filled biography of a virus told in passing days from Day 2 onwards has a group of…
10 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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Seventy five years ago, my mother Kath was working as a secretary in Clerkenwell when the nation celebrated the unconditional surrender of the Nazis. Winston Churchill tempered the celebrations by pointing out that Japan had not surrendered - a situation that was to change three months later with the horrific war crimes perpetrated on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Like everything else from that time…
21 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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Real or imaginary? In my head there's another London where every fictional character from every London book and film lives. In this London the Droogs still maraud through Thamesmead, Mr Sloane strokes his tanned torso beside the Oasis pool, the sinister Professor Marcus knocks on a door in King's Cross, Henry Earlforward destroys his marriage in the little bookshop on Riceyman Steps, Netta is…
25 comments
Christopher Fowler
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This is the conclusion of my little talk on London writing. Let's move on 250 years. At the start of 'Bleak House', Charles Dickens famously points out that there is so much mud in the streets that it would not be surprising to meet a forty-foot Megalosaurus 'waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn-Hill', and that even the snowflakes are covered in soot, 'gone into mourning for the death of…
16 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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The last time I appeared at London's South Bank Literary Festival I went on after a young slam-poet who not only thrilled me; he left me wondering if I had anything relevant to say. There I was making obscure jokes while someone came on and spoke eloquently from the heart about his life today. This is a talk about the inspirations for London writing. It's London because that's what I know best…
15 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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Selfish joggers are now the target of national hatred. It's not all intellectual wordplay and learning new juggling skills up here in Fowler Towers, you know. I've decided that supine entertainment is far more enjoyable than going for a walk. Preferably curled up with as many cushions as one owns. We're British, we're thinking; who needs to go out ever again? Besides, around the centre of the city…
40 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Bryant & May & London
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Today I fell back with relief into the fictional world of Bryant & May, staging a scene that involves an argument between Dan Banbury and John May over paint, an African parrot and a murder on a restaurant staircase. I don't know if it will reach the second draft yet, it's a bit mad. The restaurant is in a real location, and as usual there's a background chatter of what's happening to us all in…
27 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London & Observatory
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Excerpted from 'Paperboy: A Memoir' 'My formative years were filled with orderly lassitude, like those of a soldier posted to a peaceful backwater. They were days of strawberry jam on white bread, the squeak of chalk in hushed classrooms, Hancock's Half-Hour, cold mutton on Mondays, back-fence arguments, kicking about in the garden and walking alone through empty, silent streets. The most exciting…
28 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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I was about to wrap up my potato peelings in a copy of the Financial Times when I caught sight of an article about the former London village of Marylebone. Reading it made me feel genuinely revolted. Marylebone is an ancient area that gets its name from a church dedicated to St Mary, built on the bank of a small stream or bourne called the Tybourne, which became Tyburn. Its received pronunciation…
11 comments

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