Monthly Archives: August 2010

London’s Least-Known Major Art Gallery

It used to be called the Museum of Mankind, and featuring everything from Aztec crystal skulls (yes, like the one in the Indiana Jones movie) to an entire African village. But nobody ever went there. Sometimes I went to their Arab souk, which was filled with the smell of spices, just to eat my lunch. […]

Is There Anywhere In London You Can’t See It From?

The South Bank Silly Fountain (you stand inside it and wait for the jets to ascertain whether or not you’ll get soaked) seems to have become permanent now – let’s have more silly things in London! I personally like the leaning slab statue on the South Bank – I love watching people trying to work […]

Speaking Up For Horror

You’ll find me giving a new interview in this excellent magazine, and you can read it here.

Re:View – ‘Mr Nobody’

Who Needs To Know The Ending Of ‘The Mousetrap’?

Wikipedia is getting grief at the moment for revealing the identity of the murderer in Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’ on its site. The Christie estate is said to be outraged. But let’s put this in perspective. ‘The Mousetrap’ has been running for much of the time at the same theatre for 58 years, longer than […]

Re:View – ‘Sans Laissez De Traces’

Such is the terrible state of Hollywood now that it’s virtually impossible to find a mainstream film aimed at sophisticated adults. On the rare occasions that the studios decide to make something without talking dogs, superheroes or fart jokes, they turn preachy and sentimental. If only they faithfully filmed some of the USA’s excellent crime […]

Unfortunate Words

When I have a book coming out in America, my editor skims through it to see if there’s any language that won’t translate, and adjusts words accordingly. But it doesn’t seem to work the other way. America’s ‘Where’s Waldo?’ became ‘Where’s Wally?’, but to us a wally is English for a plonker, an idiot. Years […]

Central London’s Secret Alleyways

The next time you’re ploughing up Oxford Street against the tide of human traffic and wishing everyone would just get the hell out of your way, remember that there’s a network of tiny alleyways just behind the main thoroughfare on the North side that hardly anyone ever uses. In summer, these alleys look like country […]

England’s Strangest Town

I’ve long thought of Blackpool as the most peculiar town in Britain, so trapped in a between-the-wars era that it constitutes some kind of grotesque living museum, and now I’ve had those fears/hopes confirmed. In what feels like a publicity stunt, Blackpool is trying to get itself listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. The […]

Defining British

Let’s get a few things clear; I don’t like national definitions because by nature they fall into cliche. For decades our idea of an American was a loud bloke in a ten-gallow hat. Now Americans think we’re all like Russell Brand. My US book jackets all feature a Union Jack, a bowler hat (ever seen […]