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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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(This article is continued) Arthur Upfield inspired a killer to copy his fictional perfect murder. Kathleen Winsor became the subject of a sex scandal. Other authors like Simon Raven never learned how to deal with sudden success and succumbed to a variety of hideous fates. Some were simply unlucky, some shied from the spotlight and hid themselves behind false identities. Many became unfashionable…
22 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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The Ending Soars into Very English Tragedy 'A novel from the author of several previous books,' said the Amazon logline about 'Jubb', one of Keith Waterhouse's astonishing black comedies. Was there ever a less appealing biography? I'm not sure I want to live in a world where 'bibulous hack' Waterhouse is out of print. His novels are now only available from secondhand shelves. Leeds-born Waterhouse…
26 comments
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
Books
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It's the time of year when every newspaper gives us a list of summer reads, books selected - sometimes with the publishers' collusion - to appeal to its particular demographic, so romances in Tuscan villas for the Sunday Times, and First World War exploits for the Telegraph. There are plenty of good reads around this summer, many enjoyable but ultimately forgettable. Over the years I have…
7 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Great Britain
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You know the North, it's where all the bad people live. 'Winter is Coming'. France is stuck with Brittany, Spain with the Basques. But whisper the heresy...in England it's not actually very grim up North. The weather yes, obviously, but it seems to me that many Northern writers got stuck with a hometown tag they didn't deserve. The words 'depressing' and 'grim' still pop up all the time when…
19 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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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 playing Bristow. I liked the firm's chef Gordon Blue, who watched in horror as…
14 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Great Britain
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A grim statistic surfaced in the press this week; for every 12 new jobs created in the South, there's 1 job lost in the North of England. This is after a much-fanfared promise of devolution to city regions which proved such a hot topic in national and local government, when chancellor George Osborne set out a vision for building what he called a 'Northern Powerhouse' to compete with the other half…
15 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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Writers are a bunch of scruffbags. You should see us gathered together in a pub or restaurant - we look like tramps sheltering from the rain. The underrated, wonderful novelist Keith Waterhouse once said; 'I have not looked in a mirror for the last forty years.' And what's going on with George R R Martin here? Did he just kill someone? (Oh, yes, sorry, he killed everyone. EVERYONE.) Being a bit of…
6 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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Being a Londoner, this blog inevitably gets Londoncentric, but I have a great affinity with the North. Londoners trot out lazy, obvious prejudices about much of the North, forgetting that it was the great Victorian driver of international commerce, through industries like wool, shipbuilding, steel, coal and china. Every major city had grand civic buildings constructed to reveal their social…
13 comments
Christopher Fowler
The new building in my street has already turned green. Moss covers the stonework, and hardy, invasive Buddleia bushes are once more sprouting from drain-fed brickwork. There's no getting away from it; apart from a few bright spring days and a few corresponding crisp ones in the autumn, London is dank. The morning mists rise, the evening mists sink, and although the end of coal burning means that…
5 comments

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