Michael Frayn

Me & Mr Coe

Has He Reached ‘National Treasure’ Status? They always say it about Alan Bennett, although his field of interest, outside of his wonderful diaries and his fascination with Kafka, eventually returned to being more parochial. Mr Jonathan Coe is another matter entirely. He eschews intellectual chilliness at the risk of being excluded from the so-called literary […]

The Long And The Short Of It

Stuck indoors? Feeling cooped up? Day 4 of my self-incarceration found me asking what exactly it is I did when I went out so much. It couldn’t just have been shopping and meeting friends, could it? Admittedly I’m in an unusual situation; my home is half-inside, half-outside because everything inside faces out, so I am […]

Who Wants To Read About Work, Work, Work?

This week saw the death of Frank William Huline Dickens, creator of Bristol, a cartoon strip which ran for 41 years in the Evening Standard – a world record. Bristol was a little everyman at a desk, working for a vast faceless corporation. The character successfully transferred to stage, radio and TV, with Freddie Jones […]

Why It’s A Good Idea To Read Plays

When I was at school we were made to read Jacobean plays cold from text; it was horrible and made no sense to my teenage ears. It took a long time to understand why text reading was a good thing, but once I understood I started doing it for fun, and I still do it […]

Looking For The Funniest English Book Ever Written Part 1

Setting aside the aforementioned PG Wodehouse, who really deserves his own special shelf, I spent an idle moment searching my bookcases for the single volume I found the funniest. In this I was purely considering its comedy value, not social comment. I came up with this batch. Obviously ‘Vile Bodies’ by Evelyn Waugh is a […]

Getting Their Attention

I’ve just read an article in which several newspapers, the Telegraph included, have been castigated for burying tags into the F-formation type in their lead online articles. Apparently we read in the shape of the letter F, starting with the first and second lines, then scanning down the left-hand side of the page. By sticking […]