Monthly Archives: September 2012

Neglected Films No.11: ‘Impromptu’

Frederic Chopin explains the meaning of the title near the end of this delighted and virtually unseen film. He describes how hard it is to write something that seems spontaneous and effortless, to hide the hard work that has led to it and which underpins it. Of course, it’s also a metaphor for love within […]

London On Film

I rely on reference books for a lot of my research when writing, but you can’t beat moving footage for atmosphere. There are several intriguing films on DVD about London’s past around at the moment. ‘Roll Out The Barrel’ is a collection (five hours’ worth!) of short films about pubs, from swinging London to expressionistic […]

Bye Bye Bygraves

Max Bygraves was the last of the music hall-style stars, a working class East Ender-made-good who performed at the ends of piers and filled the summer seasons. Cheesy, corny and yet strangely charming, his success was based on hard work and the ability to communicate easily. He became Britain’s top performer, and a legend. Many […]

Overlooked London No.1

The first in an occasional series of places I like that are there in plain sight, or sometimes hidden away, but generally overlooked by the passing public. This is in an unprepossessing spot, the one-way system around Gray’s Inn Road at 66, Acton St, and is virtually invisible from the exterior – except that on […]

Looking For The Funniest Book Ever Written Part 2

Here we go with another batch of books vying for best comic novel. Stephen Fry’s debut novel was everything everyone hoped it would be; erudite, intelligent and really filthy.Of course, Fry really only ever writes about himself, but this is the best, up there with Waugh, about the schooldays of a boy born with ‘a […]