Blog / 2014

Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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Writers are a bunch of scruffbags. You should see us gathered together in a pub or restaurant - we look like tramps sheltering from the rain. The underrated, wonderful novelist Keith Waterhouse once said; 'I have not looked in a mirror for the last forty years.' And what's going on with George R R Martin here? Did he just kill someone? (Oh, yes, sorry, he killed everyone. EVERYONE.) Being a bit of…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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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 a time, to create pictures, and many other rather…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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Last night I went to the pub with Kim Newman, Paul McAuley, Barry Forshaw and others, and we ended up arguing about movies of course. The one thing we all seemed to feel was that Horror Has A Problem. First, let's be clear about genres - ghost stories and supernatural movies are alive and thriving. But the humble horror film, incorporating slashers, so-called 'torture porn', grossouts and terror…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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In the early 1930s, George and Ira Gershwin wrote a pair of political satires, 'Of Thee I Sing' and 'Let 'Em Eat Cake', which posited a dark future for American politics. They were musicals, and, like 'Showboat' (about another hot-potato subject - miscegenation) were unlikely hits. Wordsmiths love sophisticated musicals, an American art form once used to explore politics, sex and society. After…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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This is the first in a new occasional series about stories. Today let's look at so-called 'jumping the shark'. This is the moment when something happens in a story that's simply too much for the reader/viewer to swallow, and gets its name from an episode of 'Happy Days' in which Fonzie performs said stunt. It's also known as 'nuking the fridge' because of the moment when Harrison Ford protects…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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What's the art of suspense? I'll tell you later. In the 1950s, suspense novels and suspense cinema, largely driven by Hitchcock, became very fashionable. Nowadays we rarely find it in films because it requires an unusually slow trajectory, with a long build-up before the slingshot of a defining event which must perforce break the spell of suspense. Suspense relies on uncertainty, and once you know…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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I have now accumulated a pretty high number of blog entries, considering this site is run by one bloke armed with a Mac and a bookshelf - its volume comes from a/blogging every day and b/ the insomnia that kicks me awake at five each morning, leaving me time to research/write such things. Thinking of the website as an old cupboard through which you can rummage and find something at the back you're…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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The BBC gets a lot of stick about what it saved from the postwar years and what it wiped, but back then it was hard to know what would stand the test of time. They kept many Shakespearian productions which have often weathered badly and threw away daily ephemera, much of which is now fascinating for what it reveals about our society then. Nobody knew that the Tony Hancock shows would prove so…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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Perhaps it started with the Sunday Times. The newspaper's brilliant Insight team brought genuine scoops from the uncovering of Soviet defector Kim Philly's role in MI6 to the thalidomide scandal and its links with Haig whisky, who revealed Israel's secret manufacture of nuclear weapons and, recently, the FIFA cash-for-votes scandal, but after Rupert Murdoch acquired it in 1981 much of the rest of…
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Christopher Fowler
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The Arts
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Next Wednesday I'll be reading something to give you the creeps - surprisingly not my bank statement after my recent Japan jaunt but a new ghost story for Halloween (let's drop that apostrophe for once and for all, shall me?). The National Liberal Club is in Westminster, 5 mins from Trafalgar Square, and is one of London's most venerable institutions. It is also the home of the Authors' Club, and…
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