1066 And All That

When Tomfoolery Gets Tired

There has always been a big market for very silly books, and the best are treasurable. ‘Squire Haggard’s Journal’,  ‘The Ascent of the Rum Doodle’, ‘Modern Types’, ‘My Uncle Harry’, ‘How To Be Topp’ and the whole raft of W Heath Robinson volumess like ‘How To Live In A Flat’ are all delightful, but one […]

No More Classical Allusions?

‘Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you?’ Tony Hancock asks his fellow jurors. ‘Did she die in vain?’ In ‘The Producers’, nervous accountant Gene Wilder attempts to do the books of sleazy theatrical agent Zero Mostel, who terrifies him, inducing a hysterical fit in Wilder. ‘You’re going to jump on me!’ Wilder screams, ‘just like […]

Cities Shaped By Hollywood

If history is really just all the things you can remember (cf. ‘1066 And All That’), then our cities reflect an idealised Hollywood version in which the past is merged with fiction. In the 1950s London was still a direct reflection of its books and films (from Dickens to Ealing comedies), but was also shaped […]