Monthly Archives: August 2010

Failing Upwards

Writing ‘Celebrity’ has made me think a lot about fame. It’s odd that Jennifer Aniston’s films all fail horribly, and yet she remains a highly recognisable star (partly because her appearance seems to have become frozen around the time of ‘Friends’). This is presumably due to her turbulent private life, which fans find more interesting […]

The Celebrity Blog Three: Casting

I should never have used the word ‘covet’ – it seemed none of our 19 year-old auditionees could say it in the script. Indeed, none of them seemed to have ever heard of it. Casting calls had been booked for the two leads and two supports – with one surprise role to be cast afterwards, […]

Alternative Shopping

Forget Abercrombie & Fitch, with its nakedly bogus ‘You Suburban Nobodies Can Pretend You’re At A Premiere’ store design and naff T-shirts – ‘Drink Shop & Do’ might just be providing a genuine alternative to traditional shopping. It’s the latest in a line of sophisticated London pop-up shops that test the water before opening permanently […]

Where Did The News Go?

I know it’s the silly season (or ‘the Barbecue Summer’ as the Met Office had it), ie the three days in August when the temperature rises above 14 degrees, but have you noticed how especially stupid the newspapers are at the moment? Even the broadsheets are running WAG-friendly style pieces that would test the patience […]

Comic Book Action Euro-Style

With Steven Spielberg about to massacre ‘Tintin’ in the dead-eyed motion-capture style used for Robert Zemeckis’s awful ‘Christmas Carol’ and ‘Polar Express’, it’s worth remembering that alhough comic books (or bande-dessinees) have a richer, subtler life in Europe, so far attempts to film them have proven spotty. Critic Anne Billson points out that ‘Asterix and […]

London’s New Maps

Click on the above to see how someone – presumably a kid – sees my neighbourhood. I can’t remember where I found this but I think it’s a great idea – now that we can all access satellite photography of our streets, why not make our own maps of the hood, featuring our personal places […]

Secret Street Symbols

In ‘London Old & New’ (see earlier entry) a friend complains that there are no mysteries left in modern London streets, a sentiment I strongly disagree with. Today I offer a case in point. For no reason I know of, seemingly random metal symbols have appeared set into the pavements of Marchmont Street. These range […]

Pope In The Park

When Martin Luther nailed up his 95 theses in 1517 and we began the long trip toward the separation of the Church of England from Rome, who thought it would one day lead to the arrival of His Royal Popeness in London’s Hyde Park amid a flurry of merchandising? The Vatican has issued a list […]

‘Do You Want Better Grammar With That?’

This story reaches me from OUPBlog via Mike Cane. Apparently an English professor was ejected from a Starbucks on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for not deploying Starbucks’ mandatory corporate-speak. The story immediately lit up the internet, turning her into an instant celebrity. Lynne Rosenthal cared so much about good English that she finally stood up […]

London Old & New

My picture shows one of those lovely juxtapositions you see in London all the time. So here’s an extract from a piece I wrote about the city for a US website a while back… It’s a tourist FAQ in England; When you live in cities a couple of thousand of years old, how can you […]