Monthly Archives: December 2014

Los Angeles Plays Itself

Here’s an unusual documentary worth checking out from Thom Anderson about the least photogenic yet most photographed film town of all. Los Angeles is the equivalent of Middlesex; boring, ugly, but near enough to studios to provide cheap exterior backdrops. However, it wasn’t always like this. Anderson’s film looks at the history of the city […]

What It Would Take To Turn Bryant & May Into A TV Series

We’re ‘in discussion’. My people are talking to their people. We’re running a few ideas up the flagpole and seeing who salutes. I get to play this game every couple of years. As my detective duo approach their twelfth full-length novel, I realise how much of the past decade I’ve spent discussing the idea of […]

Another London Walk

It’s cold and sunny, so another morning of research takes me through the Square Mile, where several nasty shocks await. First, all around Bishopsgate are vast holes where entire city blocks have been razed, ready to have Tokyo-style skyscrapers dropped in. I hope they keep the alleyways and ginnels that ran between so many of […]

It’s Worth Getting Into The Shadows

You would think there’s no more fun to be wrung from the vampire genre. Then along comes this New Zealand comedy, an absolute gem of a movie from the ‘Flight of the Conchords’ gang (itself one of the best comedies in recent memory), nailing the horrific/comic possibilities of four vampires sharing a house together. The […]

Where To Now, Guv?

It’s no idle boast to reiterate that the London black cab is still the best in the world; new editions have hands-free doors and are the size of your living room inside, like tardises. The drivers may not wear white gloves like they do in Japan, but they’re endlessly entertaining, curious-minded individuals, and talking to […]

The Lost Art of Paper Sculpture

Seeing these paper sculptures online gave me a peculiar flashback to something I’d entirely forgotten about. As kids we had no money but what we earned for ourselves, so cheap entertainments were big in our house, one of which was a series of books with paper press-outs, from wheels you turned, drawing one line at […]

On Being A Professional Writer: Delivery Pains

I don’t keep my own books on display at home. I worry that it looks egotistical, so they’re hidden away at the top of a cupboard (two cupboards now; there are rather a lot of them). And there are things about some I don’t enjoy looking back at. Any job, if you do it for […]

The Past Is A Safer Country

What has the above object got to do with the subject under discussion today? It’s a blanket currently on sale at the London Transport Museum, and its pattern is the printed design of Routemaster bus seat material. If you’re a Londoner you’ve probably seen it your whole life and not registered it, except that it […]

Science Fiction Movies: A Great British Tradition?

Speculative film fictions are intrinsically connected to open-minded American culture, from ‘Them!’ to ‘Star Wars’, but in its buttoned-down way the UK too has always been fascinated by science fiction. We’ve produced many of the greatest SF writers in the world, and yet at first glance it seems that this tradition has not been followed […]

The Night Princess Diana Dressed As A Man

It looks like a Victorian coliseum. The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is a very odd pub, and has proudly been so for a very long time – most of my lifetimeĀ at least. Bear in mind that you’re within spitting distance of the Houses of Parliament, and the thought of drag queens on ceiling swings singing Gilbert […]