Blog

Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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This was the year in which hardbacks really came into their own. Suddenly £18 seemed a reasonable spend on a brand new novel when going out to dinner (remember that?) set us all back an awful lot more. But in these wretched times of political ineptitude, disease, loss and economic betrayals our tastes grow tame. A glance through the window of any large bookstore window reveals the extent of the…
31 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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Words can fall so perfectly on notes that you can't tell which came first. Whenever I'm stuck on a chapter, particularly one that demands an amusing situation, I read about other writers discussing their craft, from Noel Coward or the Simpsons/Seinfeld writers to stand-ups. Recently I returned to the older end of British comedy writing. A new set of 'collectables' has been released by the BBC…
16 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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Victoria Wood and I were the same age. The 'female Alan Bennett' sadly died two years ago. She became a friend very early on in both our careers. I went to the first play she had staged and remained a pen-pal for a long time (I kept her hilarious letters). Some performers are naturally nervous; Victoria could be spiky and uncomfortable before audiences, which is odd when you think of the career…
7 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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Hogarth's 'The Weighing House' shows the stages from seriousness to hilarity, and is, in itself, a very funny print. Humour travels. Wit does not. Broadly speaking, its said that the UK and France tend to prefer wit while America prefers humour, so it's harder to cross to the US with European writing than go the other way. Of course, there's no right or wrong about comedy; whether you like a pie…
6 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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She and I were born in the same year, and I first met her in a fringe show she performed in London called 'Talent'. In it, two girls wait backstage to appear in a talent show. Maureen is fat, Julie is thin and hypertense. Two magicians practice a trick on them, and manage to burn Maureen's arm. Julie finds out that her music arranger will be the man who vanished after leaving her pregnant seven…
8 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Media
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There are certain literary traits I don't much care for; over-earnestness, sentiment, nostalgia and manufactured 'edge' being among the worst - TV crime dramas seem to believe that everything should be grim and shouty - Tony Hancock once said 'You can get away with anything if you keep a straight face' - but I've never minded the British (and American) fondness for the properly whimsical. This…
5 comments
Christopher Fowler
'Don't tell me you don't want something doing about those round shoulders,' the lady from the dieting club tells Julie Walters, 'I'd love to get you on the floor with a broom handle some Tuesday evening.' Victoria Wood wrote three TV screenplays (remember plays on television, before the marketeers and advertisers pushed them off our screens?) There should have been a fourth, 'Good Fun', about an…
2 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Observatory & The Arts
My pal Frazer Lee complains that the audience of 'Avatar' Tweeted, Facebooked and MySpaced themelves into a stupor while watching 'Timotei - The Movie' at his local cinema. Last year at Somerset House the girl in front of me watching 'Alien' took pictures of her own hair on her mobile and Facebooked it. I swear, no jury in the world would have convicted me. Which begs the question; should girls be…
2 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
Last year I won an award called The Last Laugh for writing a funny book. Although I'm trying to learn how to keep jokes out of my writing for a while, it reminded me of how much I enjoy humorous writing. Thinking about a Top Ten of funny books (the sort of thing men do in their spare time) I went back to the shelf and noted some titles. The shock, I suppose, was that they were nearly all Northern…
6 comments

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