Monthly Archives: August 2012

More Weird Windows

My addiction to strange and wonderful windows reaches levels of derangement in Spain and Italy, where a total lack of chain stores and the lunacy of Catholic private shop owners collide to create surreal window-shopping moments. Your guide to the latest weird windows (forgive the blurriness of shots in low light): 1. For all your […]

When Fat Was Fat

He was the most prolific author in history, so why have you never heard of him? Owen Conquest, Martin Clifford, Ralph Redway, Winston Cardew and Peter Todd were authors with something in common; they were alter-egos of the writer Charles Hamilton, born into a large family in 1876. Tales of schooldays and derring-do filled the […]

That’s It, I’m Outta Here!

Well it’s official – I now have my new writing pad in Barcelona, and it’s going to be the opposite of the minimalist London abode that glares with light and trills with electronic devices. While I’m not quite going back to an Olivetti (heavy keys! mucky ink!) and a desk piled with papers, the place […]

Same Language, Different Worlds

Reading Francine Prose’s excellent ‘Reading Like A Writer’, I’m once again struck by the gulf that exists between British and American writing. Prose reminds me of all the great American writers I’ve forgotten, and has sent me back into the stacks to reacquaint myself with them. The other day I went to the film critic […]

London…Exhausts Me

I missed the tickets for ‘You Me Bum Bum Train’ again. Their seventh interactive Barbican-backed show sold out in minutes, before my weary fingers could do the walking. I haven’t seen the ‘Superpowers’ exhibition at the Wellcome people keep telling me about. It’s just around the corner but I haven’t got there yet. I’d like […]

The Big Switch

It’s small, grey and fugly, and it’s everywhere. It only took two years for the Kindle to take over. When it was introduced, customers started switching to e-reading almost at once. And now they’re now buying more ebooks than all the UK hardcovers and paperbacks combined. According to figures released by Amazon, since the start […]

The Olympic Seeds of Artistic Change

Outside each of the world’s embassies, people of that particular nationality are picking up daily tickets for their nation’s events. Up in Islington, by the headquarters of the Czechs, this lifesized bit of kinetic art syphons the British Olympic spirit through a particularlu Czech sensibility. The Routemaster bus is still doing push-ups accompanied by a […]

Re:View – ‘Absentia’

Existing in the half-light between horror, suspense, psychological thriller and art film, ‘Absentia’ – like ‘Session 9’, ‘The Nines’ and ‘Spoorloos’ – turns out to be a hidden gem of a movie, all the more surprising and subtle for being so low budget. Tricia’s husband Daniel went for a walk and never came back. That […]

Miscellany 3: Celebrity & Vocabulary

1. ‘Trampire’ is apparently the noun coined to describe the now reviled Kristen Stewart by the very people who hysterically typed ‘Hater!’ into these comment sections a few weeks back (see picture), since she went public on the cheating of ‘Lurch’ R-Patz. The Times describes the upcoming nightmare of now having the two of them […]

Junkfood, Jayzus and the Cute Cat Theory

There’s a political theory, first applied to online petition signing, that suggests people only care about an issue when it directly affects them. A Labour counsellor wants to allow a needle exchange to be opened next to a school, say, or Tories plan to turn your street into a dual carriageway. Suddenly you’re galvanized into […]