Monthly Archives: June 2014

Does The Internet Shorten Attention Spans?

Sorry, what was the question again? Oh, the internet. Hang on, let me Google it. Last week there were several hand-wringing articles by Will Self and others about the digital age creating shorter attention spends that are damaging our ability to concentrate. The authors worried that immense literary novels – and there are such things, […]

The Rules Of Crime

Ronald Arbuthnott Knox was a Catholic priest known for his theological scholarship. He single-handedly re-translated the Latin Vulgate Bible into English, and often wrote on religious themes. But he was also an editor, literary critic and humourist who wrote six decent mystery novels and three volumes of short stories, starting in the late 1920s. According […]

Writing Out Stereotypes

The other day my Italian barista in London made an old joke about the lack of Indian football teams (‘If someone tells them to take a corner they open a shop on it’) and as I walked away I thought, ‘That was a bit dodgy’. Although you could argue that it was in praise of […]

Bryant & May Location No.2

All detectives seem to have a place where they can go and think. Waterloo Bridge features in most Bryant & May books as the place where resolutions are made, plans are arranged and cases are closed. Why there? Because, despite not being a particularly attractive destination in itself, it offers the best views of the […]

London Attitude: Why So Laid Back?

About four years ago, a British TV channel held one of those pointless debates to decide something unquantifiable. In this case it was; ‘Which is the cooler city, New York or London?’ Fighting in the NYC corner was a born New Yorker, a very smartly turned-out bright-eyed Time Out journalist with neatly side parted hair. […]

Re:View – ‘Room 237’

When you work on a film in any post-production capacity, you have to be prepared for the fact that the film will be ruined for you forever. The endless repetition of footage, sound and music cues deconstructs the scenes that touched your heart until they become little more than pixel rainbows. It’s worse when the […]

How TV Beat Film To The Water Cooler

For decades television was the poor cousin to film, but how times have changed. When was the last time you heard anyone discussing a movie at the office coffee station? How did cinema get sidelined in favour of television shows? For the answer to that, you have to go back to the birth of cable […]

London’s Pubs Are Falling Down…

I’ve noticed a few new pubs around lately, thanks to some late saves by craft beer outfits – hooray for The Parcel Yard, the Holborn Whippet and the Pig and Butcher, but they’re few and far between and limited to central London. I didn’t realise just how many local pubs had vanished beneath the rapacious […]

20 E-Books Before The End Of The Year

Well, that’s the plan anyway. I’ve had a lot of requests to put my other works online as digital copies. It’s a big project but it now looks like there will be 20 books in all, and I hope to be able to set them at very reasonable prices. I hate collecting stories from authors […]

Charging For Churches

Along with London theatres, political sites and gentlemen’s clubs, churches are among the last buildings to remain fundamentally unchanged in the capital. But while theatres charge a fortune (West End prices have trebled in less than a decade) and clubs are monetising themselves (the venerable Arts club in Dover Street elected Gwyneth Paltrow and became […]