Monthly Archives: May 2014

Look Who’s Stalking

Recently I needed to learn how to make a bomb for research in a book I was writing which has a terrorist theme. I’ve done this before, but back then there was no online tracking. When I did it this time I really upset my online footprint. I’ve described how to make a bomb before […]

My Favourite Big Stores

I judge my favourite stores by the likelihood of me going in there and coming out with something I hadn’t intended to buy. From that point of view, Selfridges and London’s flagship bookstore Foyles are impossible to beat, because there’ll always be something you didn’t know you needed. As a child, Hamley’s toy store, with […]

Are Bryant & May Heading For TV?

The Bryant & May books are about to be optioned by a major production company. Although the deal is under wraps at the moment, I can reveal that, following negotiations with several companies, the old codgers will get a fresh chance to be seen by TV networks as a possible series. The process is complex; […]

London On The Cheap

To counterbalance recent pieces here about the high cost of being in London, I tried London on the cheap over the weekend with some friends, and here’s what we found: First the obvious stuff; it’s down to areas. Avoid the tourist trail if you don’t want to be charged extortionate prices, so forget Knightsbridge, Kensington, […]

Should Colin And Meera Be Shipped?

  Or should they remain Noromos? That’s today’s question. As the supporting characters in the Bryant & May books get the Springfield Effect, I could start shipping them into ColRa and JanRen. And if you’re lost already, let me explain that it’s that time of the year again when new words get added to the […]

This Is What A Bookshop Should Look Like

People always go on about London’s admittedly wonderful Daunt Books (which I visit a lot) but their frankly perverse cataloguing system prevents easy location of their stock, and the middle-class clientele who haunt the enquiry desk with oblique questions about Vita Sackville-West and the like do sometimes give me inexplicable shudders of horror. Recently I […]

Overlooked Movies No.5

Original thrillers are not only hard to find – they usually flop at the box office. Recently ‘The Kovak Box’ was one such movie, in which the people surrounding SF writer Timothy Bottoms keep throwing themselves out of buildings. In this case two things undermined the movie – it was partly financed by the Majorca Tourist […]

Ever Lied About What You’ve Read?

We’ve all done it – suggested that perhaps we’ve read a little more than we have. At the age of 12 I tackled ‘War and Peace’ and told my mother I’d finished it when in fact I’d stalled halfway through. It took me 30 years to get around to the other half. When I set […]

Great London Pubs No.4: The Albion

The curse of the cupcake afflicts certain affluent areas of London – perfectly respectable pubs and restaurants are turned into frilly creches for the chattering classes. Trendy Canonbury is infested with them. Gone are the flatulent pub dogs and dimpled pint mugs, the kind of pubs where pork scratchings count as a main course, and […]

Are You On The List?

UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis has collated vast datasets to map the capital’s transformation from first-century Londinium to modern megacity. We often hear about listed buildings, but what is the scale of what was listed or lost in London? Here’s a fascinating look at what was saved and what was lost in London across […]