Smiley’s Files: Declassified MI5 files at the National Archives

Smiley’s Files: Declassified MI5 files at the National Archives

Looking through declassified MI5 files in the National Archives at Kew doesn’t feel a million miles away from being in a spy drama yourself. Whilst looking through the vast array of microfilm at a (potentially literal) murderer’s row of informants, targets and infiltrations, it feels almost perverse to not be...

Read more
The Second Sleep by Robert Harris

The Second Sleep by Robert Harris

Robert Harris, once Tony Blair’s answer to Squealer from “Animal Farm”, has spent nearly three decades as one of the acknowledged masters of the ‘intelligent thriller’. This is a strange literary subgenre, one that is defined by snobbishness as much as content. Thrillers, generally involving emotionally unavailable men and women...

Read more
Pages from the Goncourt Journals

Pages from the Goncourt Journals

The Prix Goncourt is perhaps the biggest literary prize in France. First awarded in 1903, its stated intention is to uplift fledgling authors and provide them with the support to be able to write a second. Initially this ‘support’ was a hefty monetary reward, but as the prize’s reputation has...

Read more
Once Upon A Time….In Hollywood

Once Upon A Time….In Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino is not broadly thought of as a thoughtful director. Whilst his films frequently overflow with obscure references to cult film ‘arcana’, this trait is generally assumed by his detractors to be the actions of a magpie savant as much as an auteur. In other words that Tarantino is...

Read more
Too Old To Die Young: Nicholas Winding Refn and the strange rebirth of the auteur

Too Old To Die Young: Nicholas Winding Refn and the strange rebirth of the auteur

The established wisdom is that auteur driven cinema went out with the binary 1-2 punch of Heaven’s Gate and Star Wars. Heaven’s  Gate was the foundering of the old New Hollywood ideal, unthinkable millions spent on an hours long artistic vision that nobody wanted to watch, whilst Star Wars was...

Read more
Beyond the Road at the Saatchi Gallery

Beyond the Road at the Saatchi Gallery

Presumably when the Gregorian chant first exploded onto the theological music scene in the 11th century, there were plenty of old monks moodily complaining about how these young monks were slaves to cynical marketing. Sentiments like ‘it’s not even music; the Old Roman Chant was a proper liturgical plainchant repertory,...

Read more
Dinner is Coming at the Waterloo Vaults

Dinner is Coming at the Waterloo Vaults

Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, Game Of Thrones was more than just a ratings juggernaut. Even as the quality became more erratic from about the 5th season onwards, the show’s viewership continued to grow in a manner more reminiscent of bubonic plague than word of...

Read more
Deadwood: Seasons 1-3, a retrospective

Deadwood: Seasons 1-3, a retrospective

We’ve been living in the so-called ‘Golden Age of Television’ for so long now that it’s become almost tiring. The endless variety of prestige quality series has become numbing rather than exciting; there’s only so much time and attention the average viewer has to bestow and so you have to...

Read more
The War of the Worlds Immersive Experience

The War of the Worlds Immersive Experience

H.G. Wells was one of the foremost writers of science fiction in history, stories like The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and perhaps his most famous novel The War of The Worlds would go on to codify many of the foundational tropes of the genre. In his stories he predicted...

Read more
Writing: Making Your Mark at the British Library

Writing: Making Your Mark at the British Library

The more integral something is to our daily existence, the easier it is to take it for granted. After all no one’s hobby list includes ‘respiration’, and so among mankind’s achievements the written word is often treated like something of a red-headed step-child.This is not a grumpy accusation that no-one...

Read more