London One Decade Later

A decade ago, in 2010, I was asked by the Daily Telegraph to answer a few questions about London. Here’s what I told them. I’ve annotated those answers for the present day. I thought it would be interesting to compare! Why London? A city is made by its people. My friends and family are all […]

Bryant & May Are Back in 13 Days (New Citrus Flavour)

  In the history of the Bryant & May books one thing stands out; the author has always known how to throw a party. In fact, there has never been a new Bryant & May without a launch bash of some kind. My editor Simon Taylor makes a delightfully pertinent and mercifully short speech, and […]

What Will Happen Next?

Who knew that cutting hair was so easy? What will happen next? Plague of frogs. Death of the first born. A third Dr Phibes film. You name it, lockdown’s ending, we’re off-road and anything can happen now. Beach chairs are selling out in Siberia. The virus-denying Brazilian president is sick, and the rest of the […]

Film Review: ‘Bacurau’

What a great couple of years it’s been for Latin cinema. It feels as if South American, Hispanic and Chicano films have taken a forgotten page from the Hollywood playbook and reapplied it to cinema. Forgetting fancy effects, stars and hype, they’ve put story back front and central, so much so that the sinister political […]

London Is People: When Will They Return?

‘I’ve got my eye on you,’ says landlady Irene Handl suspiciously. ‘You’re always going out.’ ‘I was out and came in again, I don’t call that always going in and out,’ replies Hancock indignantly. There has always been a Traditional British suspicion that people who go out a lot are a bit ‘fast’ and not […]

Sunday In The Pub With…

It appears Britain survived the easing of the Lockdown over the weekend without drunken gangs terrorising the nation. Sky News and the Daily Mail decided to run with their pre-prepared headlines of ‘brawls in Soho’ in spite of the fact that there were none and police said people generally behaved themselves. Sunday, then, a time […]

My Favourite Books About Dickens

Writing about Charles Dickens is almost as big an industry as books venerating the Brontë sisters. Every age takes an appropriate critical view that chimes with current obsessions, but where, say, Jane Austen unites critics in worship, Dickens divides for the simple reason that he is so profligate with contrary opinions that it’s possible to […]

London Life

I have quite a few London books, a couple going back to the middle of the 19th century. Via these volumes you can see the coverage of our fair city reduce from lengthy chapters to key points – the more obscure legends and stories disappear just as the streets themselves vanish, and we are left […]

Are Bryant & May Books Hard To Read?

A chance remark from a friend has thrown me. Through him I gave a middle-aged Australian lady a copy of ‘Bryant & May: The Lonely Hour’. She had complained that she’d used up her Lockdown books and was looking for something new. My friend later explained that she hadn’t got on with it, and had […]

Lights! Camera! Euro-Action!

Because of my connections to various organisations I’ve always been able to see a lot of the world cinema that doesn’t open in local overseas arthouses. These are the bread-and-butter indigenous movies that fill Saturday night screens and are likely to be regional, certainly not intended for international exhibition. A few years back, ‘Welcome To […]