hope and glory

Years ago, when I was about ten, I briefly had a particularly terrible teacher. He was a hateful, poisonous old man, loathed by all his pupils for his spite and malice. I’m not sure how he ended up teaching, and to this day I really don’t understand how he held onto his job. For a […]

the last of…

So here’s Iain Sinclair, talking about London while wandering in Haggerston Park and Bethnal Green: He’s sadder here than I’ve ever seen him. He talks in the film about how London has changed into something he can no longer engage with – that writers in general can engage with – in any particularly constructive way. […]

four films for Waking Hell

With Waking Hell coming out I thought I’d do a couple of ‘making of’ posts – two bookumentaries, if you will. One of them’s on the music that inspired the book – it’s up over on the Gollancz blog. And this is the other one, about four of the films that helped inspire it. So […]

Who Were We?

I spent last night at the British Council’s wonderful ‘Who Were We?’ event at the BFI. They were unveiling their film collection, which has just gone online here.  It was a wonderful evening, for many different reasons. First of all, it was the end of a rather wonderful process I helped begin back in 2009. […]

James Cameron meets Masaccio in Santa Maria Novella downtown

I saw James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ over Christmas. It’s a remarkable technical achievement, injecting new possibilities for the creation of wholly artificial, wholly convincing dramatic worlds into cinema. In that, it reminded me of Masaccio’s masterpiece ‘The Holy Trinity with the Virgin, St John and Two Donors’, in Florence’s Santa Maria Novella church: Masaccio’s work was […]

Carry On’s lavatorial masterpiece

Well, it’s been a quiet August on the blogging front, partially because work’s been very hectic (in particular, some fascinating drug legalisation crusading – more details here), partially because my tech time has gone on other projects (which should lead to major changes to the blog this autumn – watch this space, as they say), […]

William Blake understood as a West London Shopping Mall

On Sunday, I went to the William Blake 1809 exhibition at Tate Britain, reviewed here in The Guardian. It’s absolutely fascinating; it restages his first and only public display of prints and paintings, and sets them in a context which helps explain their abysmal critical reception. I wanted to do a video review of it, […]

The Spiders of Instruction

Watching first ‘The Fly’ and then ‘Island of Lost Souls’ – the first the original 50s shocker, the second the classic 1933 adaptation of H.G. Wells’ ‘The Island of Dr Moreau’, starring Charles Laughton as the titular doctor – was a shocking experience, because both end in scenes of the blackest nightmare. In ‘Lost Souls’, […]