Monthly Archives: December 2011

The End of the Horror Novel?

Back in the seventies, one of the biggest categories on bookshop shelves was horror. Novels from Stephen King, Michael McDowell, Thomas Tryon, Jeffrey Konvitz, James Herbert and many others proliferated. My favourites included the brilliant sextet of McDowell’s mysterious Deep South ‘Blackwater’ novels, ‘Harvest Home’ by Tryon and Konvitz’s ingenious sequel to his ‘The Sentinel’ […]

A Very Merry Christmas To You All

I know I’m supposed to say ‘holiday season’ but to me it’s Christmas, just as I would also celebrate Diwali or Hannukkah, so to here’s wishing you all the best year ahead ever, when old habits are released, new links forged, new friends made, new steps taken and new things learned. A Very Happy Christmas!

Making A Splash

I’ve written about Michael Nyman many times here in the past, but don’t think I’ve posted his music for the Masque from Greenaway’s version of ‘The Tempest’ before. Following this is an exhausting piece from a wonderful short film he scored called ‘Making A Splash’. I have it on a Japanese DVD and should really […]

Reasons For Flying Ryanair

Ryanair, Britain’s Rip-off Hillbilly Paddy-Tractor Airline, has defied the government’s move to ban surcharges on payments even though it already charges 15 different types of fee, including those for reserved seating, priority boarding and reissuing airport boarding cards. The last time I flew Ryanair was to Ancona. That is, I flew TO Ancona. When I […]

The eBook Gold Rush

Here’s something unexpected. A bunch of unlikely books like ‘Confessions of a GP’ and thrillers by mid-range author Stephen Leather have suddenly topped the charts in the UK, some without any publicity at all. Why? The low-priced Kindle is being given as a Christmas gift, and people are quickly chucking some titles onto it for […]

Wherever You Are

The huge amount of controversy over this year’s Number One single is providing a barometer reading of the country’s attitude to war. I’m actually in favour of the song for a number of reasons; Current military policy has nothing at all to do with this. There will always be an army, just as there will […]

The Censorship Double Standard

Last night’s Frightfest Christmas bash ended with me losing my jacket, keys and a signed book contract on the floor of the Phoenix while ‘Human Centipede’ director Tom Six drank me under the table – he was wearing his trademark white suit and a Stetson, and seemed like the nicest guy in the world, and […]

Ghosts For Christmas

‘Meriel The Ghost Girl’ was a play that appeared as part of ‘The Mind Beyond’ TV series in the 70s, back when genre-TV was still intelligent. It has now turned up on YouTube – thanks to Mark Pilkington for the alert.

Round The Clock!

A friend of mine wrote to his MP because he knew that as a registered voter he was entitled to attend Parliament, but he also wanted to visit Big Ben. He got this reply. ‘UK residents can arrange a tour of the Clock Tower through their local MP or a member of the House of […]

Why Words Make Me Cross

Okay, I’ve a confession to make. I spend my life being creative with the English language, and I can’t, for the life of me, do word games – and this is the time of the year when they all come out. I stare at a crossword until my eyes drop out and fail to understand […]