No one knows why we do it and when we’ve done it, nobody wants it

A friend of mine recently quit copywriting to write a screenplay. Within days he was phoning to chat about migraine and insomnia; his attraction to cliff tops and razor blades. Suddenly he’s fighting with his girlfriend – her fault – arrives late for appointments, drinks too much or, alternatively, claims he no longer drinks at […]

Dylan and Orwell Light the Way

The Importance of Being Liberal

A liberal is open minded, understands the benefits of debate and compromise, and is tolerant of people with opposing views. A liberal believes in the democratic system of interconnected institutions designed to limit the excesses of power. They trust in the system where those intent on undermining democracy – populists, nationalists, neo-fascists, neo-communists – have an […]

Margate Pier in a Storm

No Danger at Margate Pier

One day I got a call at the office from Ricky Fisher. ‘Alright, Cliff? How’s it going? Listen, I’ve got a scoop for you? You interested?’ ‘Always interested.’ ‘I’ll pick up in ten minutes,’ he said, and hung up. I told Reg Foster, the chief reporter, that a ‘contact’ had called with a story and […]

Gunners in a battleship in World War Two

My Dad Wasn’t A Patriot

On Easter Friday when I was young, my dad would drag me out of bed early and drive to a bakery in Tottenham where he had gone with his dad as a boy. The bakery had green and cream tiles like a railway waiting room and must have been even older than the bakers who […]

How to Write a Great Book Blurb

It doesn’t matter how great your book is, it won’t sell without a great book blurb. After spending months or years writing the manuscript, the universe of words that fills your head has to be reimagined as one brilliant shooting star of three paragraphs.  If someone asks: what’s your book about? Your answer is the […]

The Meaning of Love

When you remove love from sex you enter a mansion with many rooms shaded in nuance and excess, an invitation to peel away all conventions and programming. A chance to explore your hidden self. You shed something and clothe yourself in something else. Sex is the greatest of gifts, orgasm a glimpse of perfection. When […]

The Ticking Meter

If you’re thinking about making a short film forget it. Make three. One is happenstance. Two is a remake. Three is a statement of intent. The advice comes from Alexander Salkind, who made his fortune with the Superman franchise after a mass of movies good and bad spanning a career of forty years. Salkind started […]