Monthly Archives: July 2016

Charles Wood, The Great Experimentalist

As Roger pointed out in Comments Section yesterday, Charles Wood had another problem as a writer – his plays were expensive to stage, which was fine when the UK put huge amounts of money into brave original theatre works but no good for modern times. Even when Wood worked on a traditional subject he still […]

Once He Was Hip. Why Did We Forget Him?

After the collapse of the Independent on Sunday I had always planned to do a book based on my ‘Invisible Ink’ columns that appeared there every week for ten years. The problem was finding the right format for it. Now the material is being reshaped and rewritten to expand beyond its original 400-word-per-column remit into […]

Friday Is Music Day

Well it is this week. As I work on my laptop streaming music without lyrics (words interfere when you’re trying to write dialogue) and we slide into the weekend it’s a relief to play something with vocals. With a new original musical, ‘La La Land’, opening this year’s Venice Film Festival, and ‘Wicked’ coming to […]

The Bryant & May Referendum

Referendums are all the rage these days, the trick being to abide by the results even when they’re not what you expected and the result is discovering that your country may just have been well and truly boned, so I have one for you. It concerns an idea for a Bryant & May book. Quite […]

‘Fan Service’ – The Buzzword Everyone Loves

‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ (I’ve had to look up the title four times now) is now sold out for the next 5,000 years at the weirdly cramped Palace Theatre, and has had wonderful reviews for its theatricality. Critics says it’s a magic show with a decent story – it should be considering how […]

Why A Tie?

Watching the trailer for ‘Rogue One’, the Star Wars prequel, you can’t help but be struck by the way it hits this decade’s most popular trope – the rebel girl. ‘On your own from the age of 15,’ says the commander, ‘reckless, aggressive and undisciplined,’ as if these are adequate job qualifications. ‘I rebel,’ says […]

Want To Be A Writer? Prepare To Be Lonely

‘This has given me friends all over the world’, says Tony Hancock, patting his radio transmitter. ‘None in this country, just all over the world.’ Social media gives you a false sense of what friends is all about. But consider the writer; you work alone, at home or in a quiet place, and your head […]

Plugging Into The Public

Church hall. Rainy Sunday. Hardly any audience. We’ve all been there (luckily the very funny Lloyd Shepherd was there). Every author will tell you the same thing; in general, meeting the public is a fantastic experience, but every now and again you get someone who makes you question why you bother. I once had a […]

The Grey City Gets Greener

Despite the fact that our former mayor lost interest in tackling London’s frequently horrible arterial pollution, the capital remains the greenest city in what is already an astoundingly verdant country. It’s something you tend to forget until you come home from – well, almost anywhere else. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve chosen to […]

London’s A Liar

Regular readers will be aware of the respect I have for The Londonist, one of the capital’s most quirky (and relentlessly perky) sites, and one which will direct you deeper into the world of obscure specialist London websites, a wormhole from which you may never escape. But  it’s been bothering me for a while that those […]