Posts tagged london

Beauty? No, thanks

As a side note to my post last week on the cafes I have killed, I wanted to add one more thing about writing locations. It struck me that in a country with so much beauty, I  have latched onto the ugliest locations in which to do my writing. It seems that beauty doesn’t really work for me, at least… Read More

“Saturday” by Ian McEwan

Not my favourite McEwan – that is Atonement by a long way. This was OK, a more meditative book, full of long meandering passages from the head of Henry Perowne, a successful neurosurgeon living in Marylebone with his successful wife and talented blues-musician son, awaiting the return from France of his beautiful and talented and successful daughter. A man so… Read More

“Brick Lane” by Monica Ali

Not sure what to write about this. I enjoyed the story and it was well-written, but to me nothing special. Hated the ending – don’t worry, I won’t give it away, but the last line just sounded so corny I was quite shocked. The book as a whole is not simplistic, but the ending made it seem that way. I… Read More

“Incendiary” by Chris Cleave

A well-written, poignant look at terrorism, both cause and effect. [Warning: spoilers further down, don’t read on if you don’t want to know the ending] The effect comes first – a British woman suffers the loss of her husband and son when a suicide bomber kills a thousand people by detonating a bomb in the middle of the crowd at… Read More

“The Buddha of Suburbia” by Hanif Kureishi

I grew up in Beckenham, the exact part of London suburbia in which this novel is set. To my knowledge it’s the only time a novel has ever been set in Beckenham – in fact, it’s probably the only time a novel has even mentioned Beckenham in passing. So I very much enjoyed the opening chapters of the book, narrated… Read More

Pigeon-feeding inflation

The cost of feeding the birds has gone up a lot. It only cost Mary Poppins tuppence a bag, but in Trafalgar Square today it’ll cost you £500, according to an aggressively-worded sign that confronted me as I left the National Gallery the other day. Now I’m sure there are sensible, practical reasons for this rule. I’m sure that the… Read More

Art at the Barbican

I went to the Barbican recently for two exhibitions – Radical Nature and the Free Art Fair. I liked the first more than the second. The Free Art Fair was a great idea: have am exhibition at the Barbican and give away the work at the end through a random draw. It was ruined, though, by someone’s idea to have… Read More

Why the London Evening Standard is dying

A few weeks ago, I walked past an Evening Standard vendor, and glanced at the headline: “WORLD’S FIRST AIDS VACCINE”. This was big news – a massive scientific breakthrough that could save millions of lives. My response was to shake my head and keep walking. People think the Standard’s circulation is plummeting because of the internet, or the freesheets. It’s… Read More

London, Glamour and Grime

I’ve been asked to judge a short story contest run by the London Bridge Festival. Entry is free, word limit is 1,000 words and the theme is “London, Glamour and Grime”. More details and entry requirements available here.