Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Return of the Raincoat Brigade?

As if to prove that erotica is back (see below) in London’s formerly in-yer-face sleazy Soho an underground Mexican restaurant and bar has appeared, hidden behind the facade of a defunct sex shop, so all that lairy neon is now post-modern irony. La Bodega Negra is *reads press release, stifles yawn* a ‘hip new hotspot […]

Bad Sex Is Back

In the early seventies, erotica and fantasy were big popular book genres. Now it seems the trend is back, with the ubiquitous campaign for EL James’s sub-dom smutfest ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ paying off with remedial readers who are prepared to plough through its English-As-A-Second-Language prose and finish several tree-baiting volumes of so-called ‘Mommy-Porn’. The […]

US Website Turns Talents Into Charity

Leave it to our friends in the USA to come up with a clever way of raising money for charity. The idea behind Raise5 is simplicity itself. You pledge a micro-service, and the money you raise for your ability online accumulates to help fund an organisation. So if you can teach someone five words in […]

Sundance In London

I’ve been at Sundance this weekend, not in Utah but at its first festival in London, where we saw ‘Chasing Ice’, an extraordinary documentary about the National Geographic photographer James Balog, who headed to the Arctic in 1995 on a tricky assignment: to capture images that would help tell the story of the Earth’s changing […]

Re:View – ‘Avengers Assemble’

It was always about Marvel VS DC Comics. With their broken panels, frustrated anti-heroes, sexily-outfitted gals and brick-busting sound effects, Marvel pulled in the kids who fancied themselves as tortured rebels. Marvel had an overwrought, druggy writing style and lurid artwork that was like a rainbow being sick across the page. DC’s stern fundamentalist superheroes […]

It’s All Getting A Bit Gatsby

F Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ carries a lot of thematic weight, from the collapse of the American Dream to the inequalities between rich and poor, but now it also has another burden – it’s come out of copyright, which means it’s available for reinterpretation. There are currently FIVE Great Gatsby’s winging there way to […]

Calling For Blood

‘Bryant & May and the Memory of Blood’ has been nominated for the Goldsboro Books Last Laugh Award at Crimefest Bristol. The full list of nominees is: – Declan Burke for Absolute Zero Cool (Liberties Press) – Colin Cotterill for Killed at the Whim of a Hat (Quercus) – Chris Ewan for The Good Thief’s […]

The Maturing Of Style

We know that we become most adept in the things about which we feel most passionate, and that as we age, we often get better at these things. Obviously in areas of physical prowess this is not the case, but for those in the creative arts it’s true that we improve with age. I’ve been […]

Putting It Together

This terracotta figure, crafted by the Nok people, West Africa’s earliest known civilisation, and unearthed in Nigeria, miraculously survived intact for over 2,630 years but was shattered beyond repair after photographers for New York’s Art + Auction magazine allowed it to slip through their fingers while moving it to set up a shot. It’s not […]

The Professor Will See You Now…

Professor Vanessa’s Wondershow is on at London’s Roundhouse, and currently touring. The show comprises an insect circus (giant bug-suited acrobats), trapeze artists, a hoop-girl, rope-walkers, Ringmistress Miss Behave, and best of all a set of vintage sideshow illusions dating back to the 1930s and saved from old funfairs that include The Headless Lady, The Girl […]