Monthly Archives: March 2014

Books With Added Value

Q. When is a book not a book? A. When it’s a desirable object. The e-book revolution has had some extremely positive results, one of which has been to shake publishers from their complacency a little. The big surprise was that hardback sales weren’t dented by Kindles and the like. E-books cut into the sales […]

Re:View – ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

I can’t imagine anyone not liking this delicious, whimsically baroque confection, which is like an old hand-tinted postcard found between the pages of a library book of a holiday once taken by a forgotten relative. The hotel in question is a lovingly rendered wedding cake of an edifice somewhere in mittel-Europe before the Second World War. […]

My Favourite Black Comedies

I’ve written on the subject in the past because I love dark humour (the articles are somewhere in this site’s basement), but knowing how you enjoy lists I thought I’d try to come up with a definitive choice of filmed black comedies. Let’s assume that ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ and ‘Kind Hearts & Coronets’ are […]

The London Explorer No.3

Today, a bit about Shoreditch, home of the legendary Shoreditch Twat (see above). Shoreditch was once known as the cradle of British drama, because it was the first parish in England to possess a theatre. In 1576 James Burbage built his stage – Shakespeare supposedly minded the horses here – and there’s a plaque that […]

Freak Reviews

 Forgive the plugs this week, but you can always skip this post. The updated Film Freak paperback has got off to a flying start and here’s what the critics have to say about it so far… ‘Film Freak is a homage to pre-digital cinema, an elegy for the vanishing London of almost half a century […]

The London Explorer No.2

More from Peter Jackson’s books of London oddities, in which we try to find out whether there’s anything left of the things he mentions that could once be found in and around the London streets. The books were written over half a century ago, and I thought the chances of locating them were pretty slim […]

A Farewell To Charms: Watching Without Logic

While last night’s Oscars were on I watched three movies back-to-back, something I haven’t done in a long time because juxtaposing films throws into relief what you love and hate about each, in the same way that viewing films at say, Cannes, makes you feel entirely differently to seeing the same films in your multiplex. […]

The London Explorer No. 1

For your delectation, a slender book in my possession, priced 2/6d, Peter Jackson’s ‘The London Explorer’ contains more of his wonderful oddities about London from the author of the much-loved ‘London Is Stranger Than Fiction’ column that used to run in the Evening News. Here are Jackson’s remarks on the district of Clerkenwell. Remember, these […]

Dude, Where’s My Countries?

At first I thought this was another ‘Look how dumb students are’ article – US teachers gave blank maps to a class and asked them to fill in the countries – but what surprised me in some cases was just how well these kids did do. They got the big countries right, and it was […]