Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Gap Between Here & There

When TV show ‘Skins’ began in 1997, it received good reviews for being a reasonably accurate portrayal of teenage problems in a drama format. Cut to 2011, when it’s airing in the US to moral outrage, with sponsor Taco Bell pulled out because – love this – some scenes did “not match with its vision” […]

What Do These Two Have In Common?

One is Paris Hilton (looking supremely awkward in this ‘Down On All Fours!’ pose) and the other is Nazril ‘Ariel’ Irham. One is a singer and the other has no discernible purpose, like your tonsils. Both of them made sex tapes. Ariel made his for private use in his home, and has been jailed for […]

Glenn Beck & The Roots Of Fascism

America is a democracy, and has freedom of speech. But lately some of that speech has been back with fascist rhetoric. After Sarah Palin ‘targeted’ Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the latest figure to be singled out for hatred is Frances Fox Piven, a 78-year-old leftwing academic who has become the target of Fox News host […]

More London Books

Because you can never have too many, can you? Recently I wrote the foreword for Antony Clayton’s excellent ‘Subterranean London’, and now I’m doing one for this enjoyable and well-informed book of walks following the paths of London’s lost rivers (not quite out yet). You start researching on one area and pretty soon you’re knee-deep […]

iPad Users Can Use This Site

Most of the people I know who run sites have Flash running somewhere, usually at the start, and despite the rumours that the next iPad will be Flash-enabled this may just be wishful thinking, so until then you can get around it by typing: – and going straight into this page. I know you […]

Re:View – ‘Brighton Rock’

Waitress Rose is a witness to murder, so gangster Pinkie marries her to seal her lips – it’s the third version I’ve seen of Graham Greene’s epic doom-laden gangster novel. The first was the masterful, tense Richard Attenborough film in which Dickie brilliantly played Pinkie as a dead-eyed shell (not the only time he played […]

Merlin & The Key Of Curiosity

My picture shows Percy Circus, a quiet, rather picturesque circus in my neighbourhood. When I wrote ‘Bryant & May On The Loose’, I invented very little about the book’s location. Even the tunnel that features at the climax is supposed to be there. The trouble is, nobody’s quite sure where. The problem is Merlin’s Cave. […]

Keeping Faith: Remembering David Kato

David Kato, the Ugandan gay rights campaigner who last year sued the local newspaper Rolling Stone, which had outed him as being gay, has been murdered, bludgeoned to death by an attacker who broke into his home. This follows an extensive campaign by the paper, which ran the headline ‘Hang Them’, and published the identities […]

Dumb Shows: How Low Can Theatreland Go?

At some point, theatre seems to have become confused with the circus. When I was a kid, Bertram Mills regularly staged spectacles in the West End, when you could go and watch a man threatening a tiger with a chair. This was separate from theatre, where you went to be moved or made angry by […]

What’s Wrong With Ally Pally?

I was reminded about Alexandra Palace while watching Clint Eastwood’s ‘Hereafter’ – Matt Damon wanders around a trade fair inside it looking lost. As well he might. Most of us usually forget that the palace is even there. Which is odd, given that it’s such an astonishing building. It was built as a counterpart to […]