Story Tricks No. 3: Beauty From The Bad

As a writer who regularly crosses genres, I find this tip holds true in everything from satire to science fiction, but it’s especially true of crime and horror. Every week crime books pile up on my doorstep about mutilated corpses, alcoholic coppers, crazed serial killers and nightmarish environments. Among the darkest as the school of […]

Ten Great Foreign Films For Christmas

At Christmas I won’t be watching M&S ads and X Factor specials on TV but my favourite foreign films. You know the accepted list; in the same way that Hollywood Top Tens place ‘Citizen Kane’ at the start, there’s usually ‘Jules Et Jim’, ‘A Bout De Souffle’, ‘Les Enfants Du Paradis’ and so on. I’ll […]

Where Did All The Black & White Films Go?

Remember those things? Stopped around 1960, always had Sid James in them, filled up the TV schedules all day, now gone. It was only when I searched for a black and white film on the EPG that I realised they had vanished completely, but the French film ‘The Artist’ reminded me of what we had […]

Silent Britain

80% of all the silent films produced in Britain were destroyed, leaving just a tiny handful of films and pieces now in the vaults of the BFI. Matthew Sweet, who wrote ‘Shepperton Babylon’, also made a documentary about these forgotten silents called ‘Silent Britain’, which is a real eye-opener. We’ll probably never get to see […]

Artifice VS Realism

This is something that has interested me for a while. A very well-known writer who is a friend (and therefore I won’t name him here) is a brilliant observer of the everyday, and writes about it beautifully – but his plots stink. What you get is brilliant natural observation – and then when you get […]

The Hollywood Movies That Aren’t

I really want to see it. After a winter of watching earnest Oscar-worthy dramas, I want to see stuff get blown up – but intelligently, if you know what I mean. Without all that wave-a-gun-in-your-screaming-face stuff. I don’t want to see the streets of LA again. I suppose I could go and see something with […]

Don’t Upset The Religioners

So, Iran may boycott the 2012 Olympics unless the logo is changed because it spells ‘Zion’ and is part of a pro-Israeli lobby. Actually, that idea has been knocking about on the interweb for ages and there are videos showing the ‘letters’ rearranged accordingly, but it’s just a representation of ‘2012’. Now, if somebody wanted […]