Me And Mr S: A Sondheim Appreciation

I’ll never list my favourite Stephen Sondheim songs. The composer-lyricist suggested that writers should never turn out lists because once the idea is established everything else is repetition. His dictums, rules and ideas were set out in two huge volumes of works, ‘Finishing The Hat’ and ‘Look, I Made A Hat’. I’ve trusted many of […]

Seeking Strangeness

Genre fiction can be a good friend to new authors because ultimately it’s a meritocracy. It does not discriminate between young or old, rich or poor, North or South. If you’re keen enough you can join one of the many societies that exist for young SFF writers around the country and get something you’ve written […]

Films To Watch Out For

With the British and US Academy Awards approaching, we’re awash with screenings. It’s a strange year as many movies had to be made during the lockdown in extremely trying circumstances. In a way it was easier for independents to film and just as importantly, to find the space to be seen. It’s unsurprising that nearly […]

Between Genres At The Moment

I’m in hospital again today with a tube hanging out of my arm so I’m typing this with one hand. The nurse isn’t coming around for an hour so I’ve time to bang this out. I’m writing a third volume of my award-winning memoirs (my agent insists on me adding that phrase). For those of […]

Who Do I Fink I Am?

The provenance of Cockneys isn’t as clearly defined as you’d expect. In order to be a Cockney you must have been born within the sound of Bow Bells. But many people don’t realise that the church isn’t in Bow, and has nothing to do with the East End. The church of St Mary-le-Bow was destroyed […]

Bryant & May Are Coming Back

  Hopefully this will put a smile on your faces. Some of them, anyway. The next book from me will be ‘Hot Water’ from Titan in March 2022. However, in July it will be followed by a new Bryant & May book – although not a novel. ‘Bryant & May’s Peculiar London’ is a rather […]

Fountains & Tulips

‘I want to talk to you about ducts’ – Brazil The fountains in Trafalgar Square are spurting again instead of dribbling. Well, we’re all getting old. They now reach 35 feet high. The three 50-year-old engines underground – which also houses a fridge-sized plastic tub filled with a year’s worth of coins scooped out of […]

Evan Help Us: How Good Intentions Can Go Wrong

Why a post about a film that flopped? Because it illustrates how badly any creative project can go wrong because of one key mistake. Two months before the pandemic started, I posted a piece about ‘Dear Evan Hansen’. The melancholy tale by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul spoke in a relatable way to middle-class teens and their families, and […]

Good Morning From Madrid

  I love mornings in Madrid – there’s no-one about until relatively late, then the city slowly comes to life; the owners of market stalls, cafés, fruit and vegetable stores commence the ritual washing of pavements, and awnings are put up against the sun. The fierce invading light washes over everything, but can’t reach far […]

It’s Going To Be A Trilogy

I’ve been granted leave of absence by my doctors so I’m off to Madrid for the weekend to see my oldest friend, who has been restricted for a very long time by one of the toughest lockdowns in the world. The thought of fresh sights thrills me to the core. As much as I love […]