Jings! Have ye seen the new Broons book? It’s awfy!
Quick note: UK readers north of Tyne will know what a “Broons” book is. They’ll probably also be familiar with “Oor Wullie”. Both are comic strips that have been running since 1936 in the Scottish weekly newspaper, The Sunday Post, and republished in annual compilations. The latest one, though, is truly shocking. When I was a boy, […]
“The Crine” and an accent mystery
Mrs W and I are thee episodes into Netflix’s mega-budget offering “The Crown,” and are loving it. (Though I am developing a slight obsession over one character’s accent.) It’s not just that every shot is beautifully-composed, or that the costumes are gorgeous, and that even the CGI’d locations and sets are indistinguishable from – probably […]
Book number 2: thank God for that!
I’ll be honest – there were times when I thought, fleetingly, that perhaps I was destined to write only one book. That Time Travelling With A Hamster would have its brief moment in the limelight and then gracefully move along the bookshelf to make room for books by other, more prolific and successful authors. I would tell myself […]
The Encounter: time-travelling magic
I’ve written before about my, shall we say, complicated relationship with the theatre. I take the approach once described by Sir Michael Parkinson: “I have never sat in a theatre without wishing I were in a cinema instead.” Except…sometimes. This was one of the sometimes. Tempted by a friend who promised that it would appeal […]
Blackadder Rides Again
It’s hard – and painful – to think that Blackadder Goes Forth first appeared on TV in 1989. I know. Twenty seven years ago. And for 27 years, those of us who loved it have wanted it to come back. We have lapped up rumours and weighed the options. Could it be Blackadder in WW2? […]
Master of deception
A lifetime love of magic and illusion means it’s no surprise that I’m a fan of Derren Brown, and especially the way that, by pretending to be totally open about how he achieves the remarkable effects he does, he has avoided being “exposed” on YouTube as many more conventional magicians are these days. In truth, he isn’t totally open about his […]
What do you mean, you haven’t watched it?
Game Of Thrones, I mean. It’s awesome, and anyone who hasn’t watched it is missing out big time. I know: you’ll be late to the party, but the advantage of that is that you’ll be able to binge-watch them all on a box-set. To be honest, I think watching it in weekly episodes would be […]
Lang Lang and Liberace
Went to see Lang Lang last night, the renowned Chinese pianist who, it seems, divides opinion. A rather sniffy review in The Telegraph was typical of Lang Lang detractors: style over substance, too much of a showman, etc. One comment online amused me: “Lang Lang needs to remind himself that he is a Pianist (sic) and […]
Writing a comedy about comedy writing
Writing comedy is hard. I’ve tried it. So to try to squeeze comedy out of the plight of writers writing a sitcom would seem to be a case of writerly navel-gazing at its worst. Thank heavens, then, for Episodes (BBC-2) which, having reached its fourth series, seems finally to be getting the attention it […]
The Audience and its audience
My mind wanders easily in the theatre. I think it’s the fakery of the whole thing, the spare sets, the imagined actors waiting n the wings, mouthing their lines, the sound of footsteps on wood when it’s supposed to be gravel… everything, really. And then I start to drift off. Mainly I’m wondering what I’ll […]