The Arts

He Built It, They Came

The 20th century was a century of movement. Aldous Huxley once wrote, ‘Now that we can travel easily, we spend our lives traveling.’  The pendulum began to swing back during the pandemic, when many realised that a large proportion of their journeys were unnecessary, and it had been moving against the petrol engine for some […]

Stick A Fish In It

Surrealism is back with a vengeance in the UK at the moment; the only possible response to times of upheaval etc etc., but how much of it is any good? Surrealism has always been the art student’s first port of call. It’s easy to produce – just put a woman in a room with a […]

Hogarthian Grotesques

Abandoning a friend in a pub, Tony Hancock says, ‘Very well, I shall leave you in the company of these Hogarthian grotesques.’ And everybody knew what he meant. William Hogarth had been the moral chronicler of his times, those being the first half of the eighteenth century, but his power still resonated in the twentieth. […]

The Man Who Wound A Thousand Clocks Part 2

This the second part of my short story. Feel free to download it, print it out, make a papier maché clock from it etc etc. The Sultan’s fascination with time gradually dimmed, but the course of his kingdom was now set. With time had come punctuality, and efficiency, and profitability. It was not a concept, […]

The Man who Wound a Thousand Clocks

It’s time for a story. I wrote this a very long time ago, when I was very enamoured with Persian culture. I’ll drop the second half tomorrow. ————– The Sultan Omar Mehmet Shay-Tarrazin was a ruler much given to statistics, not particularly through his own choice. It was simply that he had so much of […]

Evan Help Us: How Good Intentions Can Go Wrong

Why a post about a film that flopped? Because it illustrates how badly any creative project can go wrong because of one key mistake. Two months before the pandemic started, I posted a piece about ‘Dear Evan Hansen’. The melancholy tale by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul spoke in a relatable way to middle-class teens and their families, and […]

It’s Going To Be A Trilogy

I’ve been granted leave of absence by my doctors so I’m off to Madrid for the weekend to see my oldest friend, who has been restricted for a very long time by one of the toughest lockdowns in the world. The thought of fresh sights thrills me to the core. As much as I love […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]