Blog

Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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Recently I tried to work out how many words I'd written in the service of Bryant & May. Each time I work it out I get a different figure, but it runs into millions. You can more than double that if you add in my other writings. People are always shocked by this, but if I asked you to add up all the jobs and projects you'd worked on by, say, the age of fifty or sixty, you'll get a figure that will…
28 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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Why we should be seduced away from the reading mainstream. For me it started with the plotless symbolist novel 'À Rebours' by Joris-Karl Huysmans, in which the hero locks himself away in his house near Fontenay to live in artificial decadence rather than follow the natural order. The strangest thing that happens in the (non) narrative is when a tortoise dies after having lots of jewels glued to…
19 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Observatory
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The language I grew up with isn't yours. Family members don't speak to each other as people on the street communicate. Familiarity changes the way we speak. Parents shorthand and pepper their conversations with odd phrases. The family language I grew up with won't be yours. Much of my father's conversation was filled with references to his teenage years, which were lost to the Second World War and…
24 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Media
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When did having a brain become a liability? It seems everyone made the same friend during the lockdowns; Netflix could do no wrong. The streaming service rendered DVDs obsolete as it kept refreshing its catalogue. It put out a more diverse range of product than any other service. It produced originals, part-funded co-productions and bought in content that would otherwise not have been seen. It…
41 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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Those with long memories may recognise the above photograph, as the angel featured is on the cover of 'Darkest Day'. My last post mentioned this non-conformist cemetery in Stoke Newington's main shopping area. At its centre is Europe's long-standing non-denominational chapel, currently derelict. It sets the tone for the mossy, damp, gloomy yet distinctly urban graveyard, one of London's…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Great Britain
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I love early mornings because they offer the possibility of adventure. We are told that there are no adventures to be had right now, and that we live in testing times. Are we really? We live longer and better than anyone before us. This weekend I walked through Abney Park Cemetery, the maze-like burial ground that lies right in the middle of Stoke Newington Church Street, the main road of that…
23 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Media
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Just as the literary world yielded some of its best surprises in non-fiction books this year, the top factual films have bested their fictional counterparts in terms of courage and originality. Fiction films have suffered from the black hole created by studio absence, but our attention has been shifted onto far more interesting material. Here are my top picks for the documentaries to watch out for…
5 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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A lengthy conversation with my agent this morning on the subject of writing (what else?). I've been receiving review copies of lots of crime novels, many of which I find completely unreadable. Partly this is down to their authors' use of cliché, but often it's the sheer unreality of everything, as if it's all been copied from bad TV dramas. Their authors misuse parataxis, which is the ordinary…
10 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Bryant & May
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There are questions people in every profession ask each other. Apparently when actors who have played King Lear meet each other the first question is always, 'How heavy was your Cordelia?' Ours is, 'Are you still writing those...' along with a heavy implication that you should have given it up years ago. WS Gilbert's fiancée asked him to give up the Savoy operas and concentrate on something he'd…
43 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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A moderately intelligent dog can write a Sherlock Holmes story. Sometimes writing comes thickly and slowly. On a warm day it can feel like Henry Reed's poem 'The Naming of Parts', the mind adrift, the fight to concentrate. But after the words have been forged into sentences, the sentences harvested and trimmed into the whole, the book parcelled up and packaged off, the real work begins. The agent…
34 comments

Years