Monthly Archives: July 2013

Hammer Audio Horror – Shaken & Chilled

One of the more pleasurable horror events of the last couple of years has been the heartfelt revival of Hammer, at a time when it’s almost impossible to get a British film distributed and seen against the might of such wonderful fare as ‘After Earth’ and its like, currently clogging up our cinemas. When Hammer […]

Beating London Ticket Prices: ‘Titanic’

An excellent article by the ever-readable Mark Lawson here points out the new crazy-like-a-fox thinking of British theatre prices. As arts funding gets slashed across the nation, theatres have to find new ways of bringing in revenue. One way is to stage something cheap-looking and take sheds of money for it (step forward Punchdrunk and […]

The Mystery of Sherlock Holmes Part 3

That phenomenon was the rise of branding. As the entertainment medium expanded to include the internet, social networking, streaming and other new home formats, films and TV programmes sought to establish brands with an instant recognition factor from audiences. If someone came to a story with previous knowledge, they could start to enjoy it immediately. […]

The Mystery of Sherlock Holmes Part 2

After Conan Doyle had finished with his creation, the public clamour for more stories was such that his son, Adrian Conan Doyle, tackled the cases which were mentioned in the canonical stories with John Dickson Carr, and ‘The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘More Exploits of Sherlock Holmes’ continued the legacy. Such was the power […]

The Mystery of Sherlock Holmes Part 1

There are a handful of characters who never, ever go away no matter how hard you sometimes pray they will – Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Batman, Ebenezer Scrooge, Tarzan and the Phantom of the Opera (all males, isn’t that strange?) On first thought it seems we hate change; on TV we recently had a vast wall […]

London’s Forgotten Bank

London in the mid-18th century was a city on the cusp of becoming the richest and most powerful place on earth. At its epicentre was one family, running the oldest and greatest bank in the world. It was the bank of the rich and famous, with a client list that included Samuel Pepys, David Garrick, […]

Strength Of Character

  On holiday this week, there are many, many novels around me – mostly intelligent US fiction – but no eReaders, and I’ve spotted very few doorstop pulps. Several of us are getting inspiration for new writing pieces from books, but of course you don’t necessarily improve your trade from upmarket literature. Pulps are important […]

The Novel, Not The Author

At last week’s talk on my new novel ‘Plastic’, Joanne Harris and I thrashed through some of the reasons why a book might take six years to find an audience, and how the market is changing. We are all branded by the subjects about which we choose to write. After ‘A Casual Vacancy’ it looked […]

Another Six Strangely Underrated Films

The big complaint at this year’s San Diego Comicon, apparently, is that too many big budget movies are cloned from superhero effects extravaganzas and don’t have good stories to tell – but there are good films made in Hollywood, even if it seems they only appear by luck sometimes. Having said that, only two of […]

The English Taste For Nonsense

I have before now dipped a toe into writing surrealist comedy – actually my first attempt at a book, ‘Letters From Home’ (unpublished) was created from a series of radio sketches I used to write, and had a distinctly surrealist flavour. Set in 1915, it mismatched two batches of letters going back and forth between […]