Monthly Archives: May 2012

Multiplex Horrors No.1: ‘Taken’

Made by the French presumably as a cruel joke against Americans, this Luc Besson-produced film is uncomfortable from its first shot and just gets creepier by the minute. Liam Neeson, who couldn’t look more awkward if he had been made to perform without pants, was clearly the tenth choice for the role of action hero […]

Do We Still Need Critics?

I think I probably bought every issue of Time Out from its very first copy to my last, about three months ago. It guided me through London from Cheap Eats to Agitprop, and listed all the peculiar little cinemas with daily-changing repertory double bills, fringe theatres and clubs. It was essential to survival in a […]

Between Old & New London

Frederick Wilfred’s crisp black and white images of London street life are to go on display at the Museum of London from 16 June 2012 as part of the London festival of photography. They were taken between 1957 and 1962, in a London that had not quite yet begun to swing…

What Next For Bryant & May?

In ‘Bryant & May and the Invisible Code’, due out on August 2nd, two small children play a game called ‘Witch-Hunter’, and place a curse on a young woman taking lunch in a church courtyard. Then they wait for her to die. An hour later the woman is indeed found dead inside St Bride’s Church, […]

When Fans Turn Scary

Is Will Self God? Er, no. But, like the Bible, I find his books a struggle to get through. And the real God smote down his house earlier this week. But Self does have a book club of Self cargo cultists who think he’s a god, apparently. Here’s a quote from the Sovereign Grand Quiddity […]

The Battle For Light

Growing up in a Victorian house with relatively small windows, thick brick walls and lots of shadows, in a country known for its low light levels can be a depressing thing, both physically and mentally. England’s rows of terraced Victorian houses have lasted far longer than anyone could have imagined. They’re still the most striking […]

Good Advice

Neil Gaiman on writing – inspirational stuff.

What’s A Library Without Good Ideas?

I’ve spent the last couple of evenings in two very different libraries. The low turnout figures in summer make you feel that this is a bit of a waste of time. You usually only get a handful of people coming along, and they’re predisposed toward libraries anyway, but it’s important to connect with readers at […]

It Came From Behind The Shelf No. 3

The Madame Tussauds Chamber Of Horrors Guillotine has been stuck behind my books in various locations since my father helped me to paint it in 1964, and it still works. The head is held on with a little peg that the blade hits, knocking the prisoner’s head into the wicker basket. This was part of […]

Why Londoners Love The Double Decker Bus No.1

Sometimes they looked like faces on wheels. There you go, changed from ‘Routemaster’ (mistake acknowledged!)