Monthly Archives: November 2015

Rediscovering A Lost London Talent

The UK has a system for dealing with its stars; we discover them and expect them to be humble and grateful, then destroy them if they get too big for their boots, or trot off to Hollywood. From the low comic to the intellectual author, we pride ourselves on turning our backs on them if […]

The Secret Histories Of Pubs

Arguably the oldest pub in Britain is in, of all places, Nottingham. ‘Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem’ is twelfth century and rather an oasis in the lawless party town. Its name clearly derives from the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, but other pubs have more obscure origins. The ability of pubs to reinvent themselves […]

London Norf & Sarf

Is London still a city of two halves? Divided traversely by the Thames, its two sides are still fundamentally different. Historically, it’s easy to see why. The South was easily flooded marshland, so was filled with factories and cheap workers’ homes. The North had hills and therefore attracted the rich, who love a vista. The […]

London’s Cinema Museum Is A Hidden Gem

Britain has always had a disparaging attitude to its cinemas and their history. After the collapse of MOMI (Museum of the Moving Image) in London’s Southbank, we were left without a cinema museum.  MOMI was utterly dreadful, a dumbed-down ‘experience’ ineptly run, with very little to enjoy beneath its expensive surface gloss. So it was […]

An Alternative Christmas

Many years ago I had a friend who ran a catering company. He and I came up with a nice idea; to hire his caterers for a Christmas meal one week before Christmas. The plan was to have them come in, set up a table, decorate it, cook and take everything away after. The dinner […]

Best Books On Comics

I’ve always been a secret comic book lover, but I find many titles a struggle now because I feel like I’ve read the stories before. Too many are over-worthy or in trying to be ‘edgy’ actually lack a genuinely original edge, so anything that can guide me through the choice is good. The UK is […]

Why Jack The Ripper Sends Men Mad

Do you remember David Icke? He was a footballer, then a sports broadcaster and spokesman for the Green Party, so not a great thinker but at least relatively normal. Then one day he went mad. In 1990 a psychic told him that he was a healer who had been placed on Earth for a purpose, and that […]

Agents: Foes Or Enemies?

  In 1963 Mel Brooks’ comedy partner Carl Reiner wrote the autobiographical ‘Enter Laughing’, about being a young TV scriptwriter working on live TV comedy for a showrunner who’s described as ‘the Ulcer That Walks Like A Man’. Forced to write up his ideas just minutes ahead of the performers going in front of the […]

The Changeless Lives Of London Buildings

When we think about the multiple uses that buildings in London have over the years, it’s hard not to believe in psychogeography, the theory that land retains resonances from times past. But I think the reason for some changeless buildings lies less in the spirit than in the patterns of the land, and you could […]

On Top Of The British Library

There’s a lovely cartoon by John Glashan showing cashiers waltzing through a grand old building. It’s called; ‘Few people know what goes on in banks after they shut.’ I feel like that about libraries. When I was a child I read a disturbing story about a man who lived in the book stacks. So I’ve […]