Monthly Archives: March 2014

Why Men Hate Rom-Coms

Once there was something called the battle of the sexes. On the screen this took the form of comedies featuring smart, strong, sassy women like Katherine Hepburn and Jean Harlow. The men were Cary Grant and Spencer Tracy, and what usually happened was that they fought themselves to a standstill and fell into each other’s […]

My Favourite Moments In Novels No.3

We need to talk about Dickens. There’s such a range of moments available to choose from (let’s not have the death of Little Nell or the bludgeoning of Nancy) that it’s quite impossible to narrow down the selection, so let’s have an opening, and it would have to be from ‘Bleak House’, simply because with […]

Walken Back To Happiness The genius of Christopher Walken belongs to the world. Here’s the wonderful mash-up of Christopher ‘Happy Feet’ Walken, that’s only missing his brilliant gravity-defying Moby dance, presumably because of copyright reasons. There are some films in here that I’m unfamiliar with – the pastry-chef thing? The Ming parody?

A Nation Of Creative Shopkeepers

“L’Angleterre est une nation de boutiquiers.” —Napoleon I I always thought that perhaps Napoleon was right. Certainly, finishing JB Priestley’s marvellous London novel ‘Angel Pavement’, you get the feeling that it’s not just what we did best but what we most enjoyed. The book is peppered with individual characters thinking and behaving like shopkeepers. One […]

World’s Rarest Tribes Vanish Forever

Explorers stumbled upon them in the jungle, strange creatures with painted faces and wild body coverings, speaking in languages no-one could understand – but now it seems they’re gone. Yes, the tribes of London have finally left the urban jungle. Goths, Rude Boys, Skins, Punks, Mods, Rockers, Psychobillies, Hippies, E-Gen, all vanished. Me, I was […]

Bryant & May & Me

Yesterday I finished next year’s Bryant & May novel (I have a little tidying up to do, but basically it’s done). I’d been putting in an insane number of hours on the book. I needed to end it then because I was due to have an eye operation, after enduring months of rapidly deteriorating vision […]

When Is A Museum Not A Museum?

London is a city of museums. I counted 43, and that was just up to the letter ‘B’. I got bored after that. There are museums of firefighting, cartoons, fans, clocks, prisons, furniture, rooms, nursing, musical instruments, freemasonry, Jewish military contributions and now the museum of steam and water, just opened on Green Dragon Lane […]

Re:View – ‘Phantom Of The Paradise’

Brian De Palma’s ‘Phantom Of The Paradise’ appeared in 1974 and melded ‘Faust’ with ‘Phantom Of The Opera’, ‘Dorian Gray’ and ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’, with wonderfully deranged performances from Gerrit Graham and William Finney, the latter playing a songwriter whose magnum opus is stolen by rock impresario Swan (Paul Williams), for Death Records […]

Where Am I?

On Saturday March 29th I’ll be signing copies of ‘The Bleeding Heart’ in Forbidden Planet, Shaftesbury Avenue at 1pm. This is always a good event, so if you’re in town, come along and say hi. On Friday April 11th I’ll be at the London Metropolitan Archives in Clerkenwell for their spring festival, and that’s a […]

My Favourite Moments In Novels No.2

Some years ago I wrote an essay on Gormenghast and why I loved it so much (naturally, I’ve lost the book it appeared in, and have no recollection of its title). I first read Mervyn Peake’s pinnacle of British fantasy writing when I was about fifteen, and it has lived with me ever since. There […]