Monthly Archives: October 2021

We’re Not On The Same Page Anymore

‘I got halfway through and stopped reading,’ said my New York agent. He was talking about my new manuscript. ‘There’s no market for it over here.’ ‘Things must be pretty bad when your own agent fires you,’ said a friend. ‘Why don’t you write to their market?’ ‘I don’t know what their market is anymore,’ […]

So You’ve Got Cancer!

I’ve gone a bit Henry Miller today, for which I apologise in advance. It’s a work-in-progress from ‘Word Monkey’, the third part of my memoir trilogy, which began with ‘Paperboy’ and continued with ‘Film Freak’. So, you’ve been worried about your health for a while but you’re like Cleopatra, in denial. You think if you […]

Where Did All The Male Readers Go?

In the last few years, the book-reading and publishing demographic has radically changed. In the press this week, Elisabeth Strout warned against the dangers of women writers dominating fiction as both authors and publishers. ‘We need to mix it up. I also wish there were more male readers of fiction.’ Overall, males are still ahead […]

Make Mine Music

I always write with music playing. I find that soundtracks can provide the perfect atmosphere in which to write. But where do you start?  Soundtrack music is created to enhance the emotion of visuals, so it makes an ideal accompaniment. I went through a phase of writing to Michael Nyman scores, particularly the Handel-like ‘The Draughtsman’s […]

A Paint Pot Full Of Blood

Oh no, I thought, haunted paintings. Elderly men raising flickering candles to canvas as the figures move… It’s a supernatural genre that has never worked for me, except for Oscar Wilde’s coded parable, ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, and even that falls apart when films literalise the painting to show not a nameless horror but […]

Last Night In Soho I Saw Last Night In Soho

    They asked if we had seen a man in a chicken suit go past. That’s Soho for you. Edgar Wright’s new film is a psychological puzzler that’s a love letter to London’s Soho then and now. That’s its blessing and its curse. Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy are faint-voiced mentally fragile fashion student and […]

Lend Us A Squid Till Friday

  No Spoilers I’ve been a fan of Korean cinema for many years but didn’t make the jump to K-TV until ‘Squid Game’. By now the figures speak for the series itself. Supposedly the No.1 show in over 90 countries (although Netflix refuse to release any figures so we’ll never know), viewed over 110 million […]

What I Read Last Week

I was a fan of the deadpan dissector of New York life many years before Ms. Lebowitz became a national treasure like Dorothy Parker, able to make Martin Scorsese collapse in fits just by opening her mouth. I even remember the first joke of hers that I read; ‘The outdoors is the bit you go […]

The Missing Musician

There are a handful of modern composers whose identity can be clearly established across a crowded room. Obviously Phillip Glass is one, and Shostakovich perhaps. A recognisable style is presumably formed when a musician is compelled to reproduce their mental rhythms. Such a musician was Basil Kirchin. I had heard his music a very long […]

Film Week: Not Two Knights, Darling

Last film under discussion this week…   Both Gawain (which is here pronounced Ga-warn) and the Green Knight are Knights of the Round Table. ‘The Green Knight’ is the latest retelling of one of Britain’s oldest tales. There’s only one copy of it in the world, in the British Library, right around the corner from me, […]