Blog

Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Observatory
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It's been a long winter so far; a combination of workload, never-ending flu and not enough down time left me feeling wiped out, so I've gone away for one week. I'm in Hispaniola for a few days of whale-watching, rum drinking and tropical doodadery, back Saturday, unforch. As someone who saw Barbados transform itself from a quiet old-world Caribbean island into a guffawing, ghastly Cotswolds-On-Sea…
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Hispaniola
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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'If you're woke, you dig it.' Well, that answers the question; the word 'woke' first appeared in 1962, after William Melvin Kelley said it in a New York Times article that suggested beatniks had appropriated slang from African-Americans. Kelley was 24 at the time and lived 'uptown, way uptown.' He was interested in idiomatic language, and said his grandmother had told him that 'ofay', meaning a…
10 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Bryant & May
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I now have a publication date for 'Oranges & Lemons', the next Bryant & May mystery. It'll be out on July 23rd in time for your summer holiday reading. That's a tad later than usual because last year there were two new B&Ms, so the paperback versions of both 'The Lonely Hour' and 'England's Finest' precede it. Most writers are wary of producing too frequently in case reader fatigue sets in. I know…
17 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Observatory
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This occasional series about fine places of refreshment starts off with a nod to secret drinking. London is particularly fond of hiding its more interesting establishments away from casual eyes, with cocktail bars protected by passcodes and hidden messages and odd names for speakeasys like The Mayor Of Scaredy Cat Town. Even a few pubs do it; The Somers Town Coffee House is not a coffee house but…
8 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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Olivier, National Theatre, London 'The Visit, or The Old Lady Comes To Call' has the feeling of a timeless fable that has always existed. That's why Swiss-German playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt's 1956 play gets revised and globally performed - adaptors have seen in it a vehicle for different messages. Songwriters Kander & Ebb had the audacity to create a musical version that unsurprisingly…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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If you've ever been hypnotised, you'll know that you're told to imagine a place where you feel calm and safe and happy. I would pick London's South Bank complex, home of the National Theatre and the Royal Festival Hall. This is what was written about the formation of a national theatre in 1904 by William Archer and Harley Granville Barker. 'The National Theatre must be its own advertisement — must…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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I canot beleev it. Nigel Molesworth, the curse of St Custards, is to becom the star of a feetur film! How can Peason, Grabber and Fotherington-Thomas make the jump to the big screen? Will Headmaster Grimes (BA, Stoke-on-Trent) still be feersum? The producers behind the animated feature 'Ethel & Ernest' are teaming up with Uli Meyer Studios (who have form; they did the very attractive Ronald Searle…
18 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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Look at the picture - is it in central London, or Wales? Here in the Decaf-Soy-Flat-White hell of London N1, home of the 'liberal intelligencia', people love to help their fellow neighbours. When we run out of raclette and have no alpine-based dairy product to substitute just before a wine and cheese party, someone will always pop over with an emergency cheeseboard. We're in and out of each other…
31 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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This month's reads have to be fitted around research books, and I certainly won't finish them quickly, especially not William Dalrymple's epic examination of the East India Company in The Anarchy. I've read a lot about the plundering corporation who carried out the ultimate form of aggressive privatisation (and relished Jonathan Pryce's foul-mouthed managing director in 'Taboo') but this is a…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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How much confidence do BAME authors need to start writing? What chance was there that BAME authors were going to sell a book in the UK before the arrival of Monica Ali and the new wave? We now think that about 120 such writers were working in Britain. I knew of Francis Barber, the Jamaican manservant of Samuel Johnson who assisted in compiling his dictionary, and Andrea Levy, born to Jamaican…
8 comments

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