Monthly Archives: August 2011

Lives Of The Saints

I walked past this statue of a millenium-old Ukrainian saint who attributed his success to pagan forces the other evening – an utter mystery why it should occupy such a prominent corner of Holland Park Avenue, and once again I’m staggered by how little I know about my own city. Dang – this calls for […]

OMG, I’m Almost A Cockney!

The home of Cockneys isn’t clearly defined. In theory, in order to be a Cockney you must have been born within earshot of the 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 in 1666 […]

Towards More Colourful Language

If you thought Cockney rhyming slang was confusing, check this out.

Time For The Return Of Rep?

Last night I went to posh Holland Park (no M&S sandwiches on the lawns here, it was all French champagne and ciabattas) to see ‘Some Like It Hot’ on the open air screen. Secret Cinema started these events some while back, restaging scenes from films and creating an ambience around the movie you’re watching. Now […]

First Catch Your Witch

A friend calls me from Liverpool: ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I’m in Waitrose,’ I reply, ‘looking at Barry Norman’s Pickled Onions (the jar has baggy-eyed Barry holding a clapperboard on the label – what connection could there possibly be between a film clip show and pickled onions?) and organic vanilla pod custard’. ‘You big Southern […]

The Face Is Familiar

But possibly not the back of the head. I blame Christian Marclay for starting all of this. Now we have an entire assembly of back-of-the-head shots from movies. It’s driving me mad trying to work out what they’re from.

Finished! Please May I Leave The Table?

Truman Capote once said ‘No book is ever finished. They just take it away from you’. It’s how I feel about every book I ‘finish’, and is certainly true of ‘Dream World’, the longest novel I’ve written for years, if nothing else. As usual, it started as one kind of book and morphed into something […]

The Horror of English Humour

English newspapers have a habit of producing rather good TV critics. Clive James, Victor Lewis-Smith and Charlie Brooker have all managed to produce regular columns that balance the odd insight with cruel hilarity, so I was pleased to read Heidi Stephens’ Guardian blog on the bottom-feeding entrants to the Big Brother house, the thing that […]

How I Fell Out Of Love With Sony

When first our eyes met across a crowded bookstore I’ll admit you seemed like an unloved wallflower against the big, buxom Kindle. You were small and lacked Wi-Fi, but it was your slim, shiny, sexy body that attracted me, and your screen responded to my delicate touch. I carried you in my back pocket wherever […]

When Brands Go Bad

Abercrombie & Fitch, the tacky T-shirt shop that thinks it’s a lifestyle, is having a conniption fit over the inhabitants of ‘Jersey Shore’, the equally tacky reality TV show that features perma-tanned vulgarians talking rubbish. It doesn’t want them wearing its brand anymore, even though their tasteless clothes seem perfectly suited to a bunch of […]