Monthly Archives: August 2014

Should Writers Read Their Reviews?

Any writer who says s/he doesn’t read press reviews is a liar. We all do, without fail, because it’s human nature (also, if they’re good they get forwarded on by all sorts of people). What we should never do is over-analyse them. Or believe in them. I know how hard it is to get reviewed […]

Going Up: Would You Live In A High Rise?

In one sense high rises are very egalitarian. The resident in the 16th floor of a council tower block gets the same view as someone in an equivalent floor of the Shard – but JG Ballard’s novel ‘High Rise’ imagined a block divided by its Have and Have-Not residents until a full class war broke […]

Letter From Europe: Brits Abroad

Today’s London Times features an outraged article about Barcelona fighting back against drunken British tourists who are ruining a neighbourhood with their anti-social behaviour. They singled out a trio of naked holidaymakers who ran through a supermarket. According to the report by the Times’ stringer (in Madrid) 200 residents took to the streets in protest this […]

Re:View – ‘Penny Dreadful’

The title is everything; it gives this series license to be trashy, and God knows all the ingredients are in place. Sky’s cod-Victorian potboiler has immense cheek, a filthy mouth, cauliflower-ear dialogue, endless bouts of de rigeur boring sex, lashings of gore and the odd sublime moment. But we’ll get to that. The idea of […]

London Corners: Underground Waters

It sometimes seems like Londoners spend half their lives trying to keep water out of their houses. In Scott Wood’s ‘London Urban Legends’ there’s mention of the River Tyburn turning up in Gray’s Antique Market, near South Molton Lane in central London. The basement of the market was originally under six feet of water, the […]

It Pays To Advertise

Submitted by Andrea Yang, erstwhile reader, proof that a bit of product placement can work wonders…

Why Is Comedy In Trouble?

In the last couple of years, comedy shows have lost traction. Very, very few of them are doing well. As the rules of online behaviour change and we become self-policing, it’s getting less and less acceptable to use stereotypes – now, much of this is good, but it makes comedy, which often falls back on […]

Ahead Of My Time (Again!)

Here’s the cover of an early novel I wrote, in which Landseer’s lions in Trafalgar Square spring to life: And here’s a still from ‘Night At The Museum 3’, due out at Christmas, in which Landseer’s lions er, come to life. Dang, I knew I was peaking too early!  

London Corners: Simpson’s, Kettner’s & Rules

There is only one Simpson’s and it’s not yellow. There used to be two – the other, Simpson’s of Piccadilly was a gents’ outfitters (as they used to be called). It’s the building with invisible glass that became the Waterstones flagship store. Simpson’s-In-The-Strand belongs to a different world, and is at the Aldwych end of […]

The Writing Process: Where It Begins

For the first time in an age I find myself seated at my desk with a clean slate and an empty screen. True, there are five titles sitting in a folder, possible ideas for new books, and at least two of these are workable. But my agent has asked me what I would like to […]