Monthly Archives: April 2015

London Gets A Test Case

It’s the same old story you’ve heard before, but this time there’s a twist; the Carlton Tavern in Kilburn was being considered for a listing at Grade II heritage status; Historic England said the pub was “remarkably well-preserved externally and internally”. So the owners, Tel Aviv-based development company CLTX, slipped in with the demolition after Westminster […]

My Treat

  Some writers have a fag and a brandy when they finish a book. To celebrate finishing my Christmas book ‘Bryant & May: London’s Glory’ on schedule I went out and spent the pitiful royalties it might possibly earn in advance, treating myself to something I’ve always wanted; a 1920 reporter’s typewriter. Each key shifts […]

A Great Eye & A Tin Ear

This is going to be a column about two Terry Gilliam movies; ‘Brazil’ VS ‘The Zero Theorem’. But don’t let the geekiness put you off – I’m trying to make a point about how we experience things. In my old job I saw a lot of films accompanied by artists. After, we’d compare notes. I’d […]

The European Country I Know Least

When I lived in America I at least got to travel a bit and see some cool places – not a lot because I was running my own company and the US legal holiday entitlement is among the lowest in the world (along with Chinese and Canadian). My regret is that I haven’t been to […]

A Disturbing Tale In Any Language

When it comes to translating titles, some distributors seem to go out of their way to wreck the films they’ve paid for. ‘The Witches of Zugarramurdi’ was always going to be a problem title, but changing it to ‘Witching & Bitching’ didn’t help. Likewise turned the twisted thriller ‘The Hidden Face’ into ‘The Xxxxxx’ (I […]

Short Life, Great Books

I’ve mentioned JG Farrell in passing before, but thought it might be good to look at the life of this interesting author. Even Booker prizewinners are not immune to the amnesia of passing time. James Farrell is a classic example of the novelist cut short in his prime. ‘There is no question that he would today […]

Does World Cinema Have To Be Arthouse?

Arthouse cinema is, in its own modest way, doing well in the UK. New branches of Picturehouse and Curzon are opening, new lifelines have come from screenings of live events including sport, opera and theatre, and even museum exhibitions. My local cinema is now a multiplex arthouse with a dedicated documentaries screen. But what exactly […]

Here Come The Sand Men

I’m really sorry about this but I seem to have another novel coming out this summer, just as you’re getting over the arrival of ‘The Burning Man’. To be fair, I’d been working on it for three years, and it underwent a massive revision after I got notes from a New York editor who’s a […]

Are Clowns Actually Creepy?

I don’t understand why they terrify Americans. My US friends all seem to have a great fear of clowns when there are surely bigger things to worry about; the guns thing, irrational behaviour (like the woman who just shot up a McDonalds for leaving bacon out of her burger), Fox News, US Customs & Excise […]

10 Bits Of London We Mislaid (And Sometimes Put Back)

Do you ever get the feeling when you walk along a familiar street that something is different and a bit of it has perhaps vanished? I get this feeling all the time, usually because developers have whipped something away behind my back – but the mislaying of bits of London is not a new thing […]