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I remember # 12

An X-ray device used for shoe fitting (via

346. I remember Tich and Quackers 347. I remember Jonah Barrington, squash champion (yes, there was once a time when squash champions were memorable) 348. I remember the chimpanzees’ tea parties at London Zoo 349. I remember Pearl & Dean 350. I remember that Sony Walkmans were introduced to us all through a Police pop… Read More

What happens next?

L'enfant sauvage (1970)

All we ever do is tell stories to one another. Back in 1999 Sight and Sound magazine published a plot summary for the Blair Witch Project, as it does for all films released theatrically in the UK. Such plot summaries give the plain details of the plot of the film, as a matter of record,… Read More

Letters from Sancho

Paterson Joseph as Ignatius Sancho

It’s always fun to play that game where you choose the person from history that you would most like to meet. Of course it would be fascinating to meet Cleopatra, or Socrates, or Dante, but language problems would hamper the encounter. So then among the English-speaking I could pick from warriors, composers, thinkers and writers… Read More

Shooting Stars

Annette Benson with gun in Shooting Stars (1928)

The opening sequence of Shooting Stars is a hesitant but nevertheless ambitious crane shot swooping over an active film studio. The location is the Stoll Film Company studios, Cricklewood, and through this opening vista the self-reflexive theme is introduced. This is a film about the process of making a film. It is constructed as a… Read More

Claiming back mountains


I’ve never been to Alaska. I don’t suppose I shall ever do so. However, one part of it has always seemed a bit special to me, and that is Mount McKinley. This is for two simple reasons – the first book I ever read to myself was a book on mountaineers, with stirring if simply… Read More

Quiet music

The Young Marble Giants

There was an article in Sounds magazine back in 1980, entitled ‘Let’s Hear It for Quiet Music’. Soft-sounding music of various kinds had long existed in the pop and rock world, with the 70s being full of confessional singer-songwriters hunched over their acoustic guitars, somehow managing to put their fingers to the chords through a… Read More

19 delightful things about second-hand books


Pristine books are rare in second-hand bookshops. Instead the books you find there each bears the marks of their past lives. Online second-hand stores grade their wares with descriptions such as ‘nearly new’, ‘good as new’, ‘used’ and ‘fair’, but though a fresh book is special, so is one that shows its age. It shows… Read More

More past posts


As previously noted, I am republishing a number of old posts from blogs that I have previously managed that are now defunct and/or difficult to find. I’m republishing them with the date adjusted to the date on which they were originally posted, so that gradually this site will build up to be a single source… Read More

Cupid’s darts

David Nobbs, via

The obituaries for the late David Nobbs have all concentrated on the television series that he wrote, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976-79). This was inevitable. It’s the work of his with which most people in Britain around at the time will be familiar, and it bequeathed to posterity a number of catchphrases… Read More