Monthly Archives: March 2015

Mind The Doors!

Remembered when they carved up London’s grand old cinemas into nasty little boxes and stuck Michael Bay films in all of them? There’s a bit of a reverse trend going on around the country at the moment. The Curzon Group is expanding its empire of high quality screens across the nation, and has reopened London’s […]

Who Wrote The Most Books Of All Time?

I have three new books out this year. People always accuse me of being prolific, but it’s just the way novels sometimes bunch up in publication, even though they’ve taken years to write. And in the grand scheme of things, I’m really a long way from ‘prolific’. Harper Lee is being discussed all over the […]

An Iron Fist In A Chocolate Glove

Not long ago, Joanne Harris’s earliest novel that came to my attention, back in the days when I was writing for Time Out, was re-issued. Until I re-read it, I’d forgotten how much it had changed my view of her work. Here’s part of what I wrote for that re-issue; I sometimes think that people […]

Cool Double-Bills No.1

An occasional series in which I pair two little-seen films together to make a neat double-bill. It’s an idea I developed years ago, after seeing one of the rarer double bills at my local cinema; ‘The Strange Vengeance Of Rosalie’ and ‘To Kill A Clown’. In the former, psychotic Bonnie Bedelia lured a businessman to […]

Nesbit Goes Off The Rails

Edith Nesbit’s ‘The Railway Children’ is an odd book to have become a classic. The Edwardian tale of a middle-class family relocated from London to Yorkshire after their father’s arrest for treason is a series of disconnected episodes, snapshots taken over one summer, in the children’s lives. By 1970 it had been all but forgotten […]

You Can Be Different – Just Not Too Different

I’ve always returned to London because it was just so damned different to everywhere else, but when I walked into Leicester Square yesterday and saw that the entire centre garden had been swallowed up by something called ‘the Disney Cinderella Experience’ my heart sank. First, it’s that word ‘experience’, tacked onto everything. Then there’s the […]

Movie Moments 3: The Artist

  It’s been too long since we had a film clip. If this isn’t the most uplifting way to end a film since Edward Woodward got deep-fried in the Wicker Man, I don’t know what is. After a movie filled with the pains and pitfalls of rising and falling fame, the couple find their mojo…take […]

Books Are Like Trees: They Should Be Everywhere

I don’t seem to have a naturally addictive nature, except when it comes to books. They appear around me, fall off me, stick to me, and I leave trails of them wherever I go. I only buy jackets that can accommodate a book. I like pubs that have bookshelves and cafes with books in them, […]

Send In The Gowns

My mum stopped going to Marks & Spencer. ‘Their blouses have dropped off,’ she complained. ‘There was a time when strong corsetry and a good gusset was all you needed under a pleated skirt.’ She loved Blustons Gowns though. ‘It’s so refreshing to find a trapeze dress with some give in the armpits.’ Blustons is […]

‘I Shoot People & Solve Problems’

The first time I saw Martin Butterworth at work, he was sitting cross-legged on the floor of an office above Leicester Square tube station arranging a book layout for Dorling Kindersley. This was well over 35 years ago. Martin went to New York as a magazine art director, then was lured to London to work […]