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  • peh61hall

Ideas Above My Station

Updated: Jan 8

I don’t

suppose The Times will ever invite me to share my cultural fix on the pages of their Saturday edition; in fact, I don’t suppose The Times will ever print my name for any reason. So in lieu of that personal tragedy I will abuse this blog and broadcast my own cultural fix myself – well what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t abuse it; in fact, I’m surprised I’ve resisted the temptation to abuse the privilege for as long as I have. 3 weeks – hmm not that impressive.

My favourite author or book.

You’ll quickly realise that I’m indecisive. If I want tension and a thriller it would be Jo Nesbo and something from his Harry Hole series, probably The Snowman, although the film version of the book has tarnished it somewhat for me. But the book has a relentless pace for a thriller laced with a unnerving plot line. However, if I am in a lighter mood then I’d look for humour and inevitably end up with David Nobbs. Although his Reggie Perrin work is more famous, I adore the gentle humour of Henry Pratt and read at least one of the Pratt quartet each year, so let’s say Second from last in the sack race wins this vote.

The book I’m reading

Jo Nesbo’s Blood on Snow. I know it’s been out for a while, but I missed it! Next up will be Harry Bingham’s The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths.

The book I wish I’d written

1984 by George Orwell is such a landmark book in so many ways.

The book I’m ashamed I haven’t read

Where do I start, only one Dickens, two Hardy and none of George Eliot to my name, this could be a long list.

My favourite film

It’s the return of the indecision and it’s getting worse. I genuinely can’t separate:

  1. Annie Hall; Woody Allen’s comic masterpiece.

  2. Casablanca; - ah the romance.

  3. Notting Hill; what a script.

  4. Or Snatch; Guy Ritchie as Best Director ever. I watch each at least twice a year and have two copies of three of them, just in case!

My favourite play

The most recent version of All About Eve featuring Gillian Anderson and Lily James narrowly edges out Sleuth. Yes, we have a clear decision!

The box set I’m hooked on.

The most recent habit was Mare of East Town, before that it was Marcella. I thought Anna Friel was magnificent, although the ending was a little twee – but endings are so difficult.

My favourite TV series

This will be another close call, but I’ll spare you the dithering and plump for Blackadder.

My favourite piece of music.

If we are talking classical it’s probably The Planet Suite. But if it’s modern then it’s hard to go beyond Sgt Pepper. Does that count as modern these days?

If I could own one painting it would be.

Something by Salvador D’Ali, probably Swans Reflecting Elephants, something new to see every day and while we are here; what a moustache!

I’m having a fantasy dinner party and I’d invite.

Any or all of the people mentioned above, especially Lily James and Gillian Anderson.



This month is Guildford Literary Festival, as you can see! In the spirit of being an author I thought I should attend an event or two. Hence I took a creative writing course, run by the excellent Rachel Marsh; I’ll let you judge the impact in the next novel. Additionally I attended a crime writers evening which featured three authors all talking about where and how they set their most recent novels. William Shaw, Olivia Kiernan and James Henry took to the stage to recount anecdotes about their writing journeys.

Best story of the night was credited to Richard Osman who in his first novel described a Waitrose store in Tunbridge Wells. His readers were outraged – because no such store exists – much to the annoyance of the local residents!


Despite my careful planning at the end of Dream House to create the possibility of a sequel, I have elected to change tack -slightly. Book 2 will be a police procedural featuring a murder at the tennis club and my new 21st Century versions of Morse and Lewis, or Scott and Ron as they are currently known.

Today’s musical accompaniment is taken from my answer above; The Beatles classic album Sgt Pepper, which of their albums are not classic? This one is full of joy and whimsy and supposedly stayed at number 1 in the UK album chart for 27 weeks – but I’m too young to confirm that. My favourite track, perhaps the orchestra vastness of A Day in the Life. is a non-profit website that is affiliated with any of the celebrities or records represented here. We do not claim copyright of any photo or record cover used in the blog. All images are used under Fair Copyright law and belong to their rightful owners. No copyright infringement or negativity is intended. If you would like any media removed, please contact us before taking legal action. These images are used in the context of a fan.
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