‘Adventures in Paradise’ Romantic Comedy-Revenge Caper Screenplay …



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Hello all … Today and everyday until it’s sold I’m writing about my ‘Adventures in Paradise‘ screenplay set in London. The script draws from various inspirations and sources to create a mixed genre film that I hope will break box office in 2017 or 2018.

The first draft of about 80 pages was written in response to an OP/ED Dan Hodges penned for The New Statesman defending the NOTW. Though Hodges might have been writing in jest, I wrote a letter to the Eitor in support of privacy – inspiring myself to finish the first draft, and launch this pet project, which has gone through enough twists and turns to merit its own screenplay … Thus, ‘Adventures in Paradise’ was born, a  romantic comedy-revenge caper (WGA reg) weighing in at about 130 pages, and completely original in the way it looks at the events of Hackgate … But to say that ‘Adventures’ is just about Hackgate is a bit like saying ‘Bringing Up Baby’ is about cougar conservation …


RETROSPECTIVE: KATHARINE HEPBURN — Image by © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

The role of Clive Reade, written with Colin Firth in mind, or someone with an equal amount of talent (Matthew MacFadyen, Rupert Penry-Jones) is a celebrity in his own right: the third richest man the world with a premier 5 star luxury hotel resort collection. Elegant, attractive, smart, kind, and truely decent, he brings back a cinematic presence no one has seen in a very long time. Aurora, a Cambridge educated reporter is stunning in any context, and provides another window into the culture of Hackgate. Together the two conduct something like their own Leveson Inquiry, except that their exploits are a lot more interesting and entertaining … Caperish is the word I’m looking for here. London by Albertonardelli

Can a romantic comedy-revenge caper deliver a proper perspective on Hackgate? I think it is the only way to treat the issues without becoming preachy and descending into what I call ‘kitchen sink moviemaking’  or deadly boring movies to teach the masses.

‘Adventures in Paradise’ is funny, satiric, and at times justifiably savage, brutal, and surprising in the way it pushes the envelope to examine privacy issues, love, harmony between career men and women, secretive lives, and even the odd moment of thuggery recalling the Krays … No surprise, I’m looking for an agent in the UK or in the US who has the power to reach over the pond, as most of the roles are written for British actors, and many of the locations are based in the UK (for this and other screenplays I’ve written). (London photo credit above: Alberto Nardelli on twitter)

And there are key roles for Americans (or actors who can impersonate them) – notably Californian millionaire bad boy Trent Cortigan ~ a role that calls out for a presence like Chris Hemsworth … In fact, I’d hold up a production schedule just to secure him for the film … Unleash the Kraken!Chris Hemsworth as Trent Cortigan in #AdventuresShooting locations also to include Cambridge UK, Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly, Geneva, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and various luxury island resorts … St John’s, Marbella, Seychelles. mqdefault Buble in London

And I’d like Michael Buble to sing ‘Foggy Londontown’ …

Buy cheap, buy twice, invest in the goods, and you’ll be repaid 500 million times over.

By the way, it’s useless to resist, as I’ve written the feel-good movie of the year for people with – brains!


‘Adventures in Paradise’ a story of tabloid vandalism set against great wealth, poverty, corruption, betrayal of decency and innocence … with many great comic turns. Clive and Aurora find redemption from the tabloid life through their investigative adventures together and love … Ahh …claridges-map-room-london.jpg

(Above: Claridges Map Room designed by David Linley … a location for Adventures.)

  • NOTE: I do not claim ownership rights to any of the photographic or graphic materials used to illustrate my ideas or represent persons, places, or products (like hotels, restaurants, teddy bears, or yachts) when blogging about ‘Adventures in Paradise’, or my other screenplays or various ideas at I do claim absolute authorial copyrights for my screenplays, and for all the literary works I have written for television and film, as well as for short stories, or novels, and anything I discuss here or tweet about on Twitter. When tagging photos, I have tried to be descriptive or to refer to the website where the photo was featured. Many photos are in the public domain; others were being used in the same way I use them – on blog sites or fan sites ~ to represent persons or as a tribute to their personages, or to suggest certain possibilities. No photo is ever used to malign or harm a person’s reputation.


British RomComs, 30’s Comedies, and Hackgate …



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‘Adventures in Paradise’ (WGA reg) is loosely based on the events of Hackgate in London, and weighs in at some 130 pages … That’s a little over two hours in the theatre, but the script moves very quickly, and works very much like a puzzle.

I’ve had a wonderful time writing the hero Clive Reade as a sort of Darcy – returned to our era – impossibly rich (billions), literate, articulate, brave, funny, and wise. Oh yeah … and handsome, generous, sexy, incredibly well-mannered, manly, as well as being an impulsive Bugatti driver – drawing comparisons to Cary Grant, no doubt.Mayfair_Map_Central_LondonI wanted to create a new screen icon in Clive Reade, since film viewers, especially female viewers, want to see some combination of Cary Grant and Mr Darcy stroll into a make-believe world, and transport them to a place where people speak in more than commonplace utterances … After all, the gross-out comedies of ‘What Happens in Vegas’ cannot cover every human condition in life, at least I hope not. Rupert Penry-Jones

I’ve had a wonderful time creating a complex character who is not so much perfect, as he is lovably imperfect – always catching up with who he needs to be to face the challenges my screenplay throws at him. He is horribly betrayed (as we all are), but endures in a Buster Keaton kind of way making a brilliant comeback, most importantly without using machine guns, throwing his mother off a train, taking out a contract on his ex-girlfriend, or becoming a bitter middle aged cliché.

How does Clive Reade do it?! He has something almost extinct in our age … character, instinctive grace, and intelligence. And, of course, packets of dough!

Very helpful, indeed.hepburn&grant classic movies digest blogspot

‘Adventures in Paradise’ draws on many sources: British RomComs, the 30’s Comedy of Manners after the Nick & Nora series, Hildy and Walter from The Front Page, Susan & Dr. David Huxley from Bringing Up Baby, Hitchcock’s stylish whodunnits, Evelyn Waugh, and social satires like Network.

I hope I’ve drawn on the very best satirists and comedians to tell a story that will last the ages, or at least until I’ve been in the ground for about 50 years …

The truth is the story has plenty of action, just no gratuitous violence (or maybe just a tiny bit – a few busted lips, a broken nose, some rough-housing), but constantly shifts forward to keep you guessing in the midst of some complicated developments. It’s made for quick, brainy, visual, media and travel oriented people, and the rest of humanity, who love a good love story about high crimes and misdemeanors, and glamorous, funny suspense films …

‘Adventures in Paradise’ look is important to the overall concept to reflect a kind of Contemporary-Retro feeling, which I have interpreted as Classic. This lovely staircase is in a mansion on Lyall Street in Mayfair, London where Clive Reade lives.

On the other side of town in Bloomsbury, Adventures co-star Aurora Blunton lives in a flat with her Jack Russell terrier, Tippy … (I’m proud to have written three roles for pets in AIP – all well-developed barking roles.) Sophisticated, Cambridge-educated, beautifully turned out, and stunning in any context, Aurora is disastrously out of place at The Sentinel (tabloid) where she lands due to a frame-up and betrayal. Her progress as a major player in the London scene, and her character development are issues I carefully crafted. Possible casting … Carey Mulligan of the ‘An Education’ mold … as I thought she was terrific. Carey Mulligan as Aurora Blunton

Finally, I’ve started the sequel ‘Return to Paradise’ which will continue the caper in just as interesting ways. The opening of ‘Return’ is a knockout – featuring a comic wedding scene at Brides’ Cathedral on Fleet Street in London (church for journalists in London), where Clive’s father and Aurora’s mother run off together in his Bugatti.

Journalism, London, high crimes, religion, and elopement … Where else but in my films?

RELATED: Cinema Style – by Cathy Whitlock , film historian

Vera Wang wedding couture (below).


‘Adventures in Paradise’~ Photography, United Kingdom


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Location, Location, Location – Cornwall UK – ‘Adventures in Paradise’ – Hackgate Screenplay


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Hello all … europabridge scribe and author of ‘Adventures in Paradise’ Hackgate romantic comedy-revenge caper screenplay … the sequel, ‘Return to Paradise’ … four other screenplays, and a book of short fiction.

A brief post about locations in ‘Adventures in Paradise’ as there are many, and for good reason.

Before I returned to the US a few years ago, I covered perhaps as many as 100,000 miles in my travels, and conceived of my ‘Adventures’ screenplay as a way to revisit my vision of the world, as seen from the perspective of airplane windows, taxis, ships, hotel rooms, trains, and other transportation modes – in a more global than local view of life. Because frankly, local sucks.British and Cornish Heritage

I’ve also used the script at times as a postcard of sorts for travel to the UK … Thus, ‘Adventures in Paradise’ features major settings in London, Cambridge, the Cornish Coast, as well as Lake Geneva, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and various luxury island retreats in places like St John and the Maldives … Why? Because Clive Reade, my hero, conveniently owns  the largest and most luxurious 5 star hotel-resort chain in the world.

The picture-postcard approach to filming ‘Adventures in Paradise’ greatly appeals to me, and I think it appeals to many film-goers. Some of the most successful films have had vibrant LIVE locations, and I stand by the idea of an international film that travels the world.

A solemn promise, however: there will be no 3-D version of ‘Adventures in Paradise’ … though human life is explored in as many dimensions as possible.

At any rate, because the Cornish Coast is so beautiful, mysterious, and romantic (home to Le Carre, Agatha Christie, and Daphne Du Maurier), I wanted some of the romantic sequences in ‘Adventures’ to be filmed there, in addition to a scene featuring my Cornwallian Chef – Clarence Stapleton in his new St Ives restaurant – STAPLETON’s.

The romantic aspect between Clive and Aurora in ‘Adventures’ is somewhat submerged, and may be more of a subplot, due to the fact that they do not come together as a couple until some 80 minutes into the story … all while avoiding each other, bumping into each other, and finally discovering they actually LIKE each other. You might chart their progress like so: starting as enemies, becoming wary colleagues, good friends and Hackgate investigators, to finally coming together as a couple. Actually, their relationship becomes one of the vehicles for how the film solves its mysteries, as they pool their better resources and work together to get even with the dirty rats that framed them both … And that’s why ‘Adventures in Paradise’ is a Romantic Comedy-Revenge Caper.Instagram and Twitter 268

So after unraveling a number of tabloid boondoggles together, all quite taxing and exhausting, Clive Reade and Aurora Blunton take a long weekend in Cornwall where they wander around … St. Ives, Polreath, Fowey, St. Mawes, or the Isles of Scilly (clearly the DIRECTOR and LOCATION SCOUT’s call), but I’m voting for Scilly, as William and Kate did on their honeymoon. (Right: Tresco, Isles of Scilly photo by yours truly.)

Sometimes I use a montage scene technique between Clive and Aurora, other times comic moments help them discover a dynamic between themselves … And after they jokingly challenge each other to a drinking contest, which Clive wins hand-down, after sailing, walking, golf-carting, swimming, dining and chatting – Clive and Aurora fall heads over heels in love … (Photo below left by Tresco blog, Isles of Scilly)isles-of-scilly-pelistry-bay-beaches-1432-large.jpg

Is it the people, great seafood, excellent wine, stunning landscape of Cornwall, or removing themselves from the madhouse of the London paps that finally seals their fate? I am not exactly a pushover, but even I was bowled over by this lushly romantic weekend they share alongside scones, Earl Grey Tea, pasties, drinks, and bushels of Cornish roses filling every vase to overflowing … the wind from the Coast blowing through the sheer linen draped windows to … something inevitable: they discover how lovely they are individually and finally together.

FOLLOW & DM me on @europabridge1 on Twitter …


Died of TV Guide – Leveson, Hackgate, and Press Reform in Adventures Hackgate Screenplay by Elan Durham


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Hello all … europabridge here … author of the original Hackgate screenplay ‘Adventures in Paradise‘ and other projects … MFA, ex-academic, world traveler, and future expat in London and Cornwall (we hope).

A few thoughts relating to my own Hackgate-inspired ‘Adventures in Paradise’.

Rather than imagine a world where all inequalities or absurdities are erased, which is impossible – I like to imagine a world that functions with an overall sense of fairness and reason, as opposed to being guided by an ethos of all the spoils going to the rottenest … Of course, my imagination only works in the fictional world, which is why I write screenplays!

In this context,  I am reminded of Dan Hodges original response to Hackgate in The New Stateman. Yes, Hackgate happened, and it will happen again because the people want it. They want to hear Hugh Grant‘s conversations, they want to capture those tunnel death photos of Princess Di, and they want to know who’s shagging whom, in the ever-shifting power plays from London, New York, Paris, Hollywood, and DC … because, don’t you know … ‘Nobody rides for free … Pay up or play!’ (said Shylock).

Information is knowledge. And misinformation is also a kind of power that can be used against whomever we want to harm or control for political purposes or financial gain, or just for malicious sport, as I have learned over the course of the past decade watching this and other media debacles unfold in print and online.

Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation. I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.‘ What remains is bestial after personal agency, privacy, family, career, and personhood have all been invaded by these stalkers aided by their legal ‘right to know’… But writing ‘Adventures in Paradise’ has resulted in a much more entertaining, witty, and enduring experience than this blog rant. Perhaps it is also my tribute to a women who dared to forge ahead in a starring role: Aurora Blunton … as she is my own Leveson Inquiry.

(Aurora c’est moi! Sorry Flaubert.)

Aurora is a celebration of the kinds of female characters I grew up looking at in movies starring Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn, Carole Lombard, Greta Garbo, Irene Dunne, and Myrna Loy … She is light as a feather, has the gravitas and intelligence of a British barrister, and the appeal of a major movie star. (Only in my movies!)

While Clive Reade is my old world Hollywood hero, the Cary Grant we all still crave for in our leper-skinned, anti-hero comic book age. He’s also not a schmuck foisted upon us by Hollywood executives, because his twitter following exceeds the 3.5 million mark.

“Adventures’ is a statement about the life of the community, the press and its standards; celebrity, the pursuit of any story no matter how absurd, or ludicrous, and the glare of the limelight … no matter how lurid.

Hacking, expressions of online hate, stalking, revenge porn, and tabloid gossip go much deeper than aspersions cast upon a person’s appearance, political views, or status in the community or world. They represent an effort to change the course of human history by creating a social corrosive so strong it etches away and destroys all evidence of civilized life, perhaps such that no human witnesses remain. Just players in the game.

Stalkers and hackers can conjure up a thumbs up or thumbs down agenda for whatever hapless dunk-drunk draftees end up in the docket of world doom … Can’t you hear the roar of the crowd? See the down-pointed thumbs? Unholy wieners & stale beer! Talk about fascist populism. And the British public subsidizes this kind of hooliganism with more than half a billion dollars of tax pounds per year.  

‘Adventures in Paradise’ is my response, a fleet-footed film for people with enough brains to think, also a window to escape through for a few hours, to have a laugh, or the last laugh … For the rich, the poor, the press, the hard-pressed … hopefully to live on in the public imagination for decades.

Perhaps we can all agree upon one thing: At the end of the day, people need a break from reality. I do not trivialize the events of Hackgate in ‘Adventures’, but rather I want to place them in a context people will enjoy watching, a context that will endanger no one, but manages to address all the key issues while entertaining, and distracting for a few hours – memorably.

Finally, it is probably more accurate to call ‘Adventures in Paradise’ a dramedy – a mixed genre film sprinkled with romance, revenge, satire, glamour, travel, tabloid intrigue, corruption, and betrayal – one that ends happily for my hero and heroine. I really do love the way the story ends – every moment of happiness hard earned and believable.

Thanks for stopping by  … And feel free to retweet @europabridge1 on Twitter …


For Writers … A Tribute to Colette … Writer-Vagabond-Actress!


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This tribute to Colette is an idea I had after cracking open a book I hadn’t looked at since the 80’s The Vagabond.

I was introduced to her in Southern California by an older friend, which began with the innocent loan of The Vagabond, and ended with my reading until I’d made my way through her entire oeuvre, which includes some 50 volumes.

Along the way, I became enamored of Paris, married a Frenchman — disastrously — and eventually became a writer myself, looking back at Colette with some mixture of skepticism, nostalgia, and love, which is also the way one sometimes regards old friends who become enemies. Or perhaps in the acrimony of a bad marriage, Colette’s own contributions to my life became for a time somewhat tarnished.

Nevertheless, Colette lived a remarkable life.

Growing up in the countryside of Burgundy, raised by a woman who rightly looked upon her daughter as her greatest achievement, she went on to marry a Parisian — Willy — who would lock her up in an attic, and force her (child-labor-style) to produce some talented, and entertaining adolescent books exploring the saucy adventures of one Claudine

The Claudine books Willy signed his name to, refusing Colette’s authorial rights, which made him a fortune, and a personage in Paris, and Colette a kind of literary slave and ultimate arm-candy.

Eventually they divorced, and she went on to write under her own name, tread the theatrical boards, and become one of the first entrepreneurs of that era — creating her own line of make-up, and merchandizing products the way major stars do today, with her ‘Claudine’ & ‘Colette’ brands.

She was the first woman inducted into the esteemed Academie Goncourt in Paris, but is known, if at all in America as the author of Gigi, a play which launched Audrey Hepburn‘s stunning career on the stage and screen, and Leslie Caron‘s career in film.

Actually, it was Colette who discovered Audrey Hepburn … Spotting the gamine ballerina at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco, she pronounced: ‘Voila! There’s our Gigi!’

C’est tout! A star was born.

I could go on about Colette for quite some time, if for no other reason than her life is so storied … She wrote beautifully, she lived dangerously, she loved outrageously — while sometimes embracing the most time-worn cliches, yet somehow making them seem exquisitely her own.

And she died at peace with champagne on her lips, and a priest’s blessings on her soul.

Not bad for a woman whose very presence in France, not unlike other revolutionary figures in Arts & Letters, provoked debates about the condition of the human soul.

From the juvenilia of Claudine to the full-bodied and wry observations of Lea about her own Cheri, Earthy Paradise — an amazing collection of writings — forms her autobiography and temple. Edited by Robert Phelps, it is a testament to her generous life, capacious person, fine sensibilities, and implacable reason.

Above, a film poster remembrance from Stephen Frear’s effort, and Colette’s most famous creation from the Parisian demimonde — Lea’s Cheri — the young lover who cannot live without his older courtesan. How very French!

An excerpt about writing from The Vagabond follows. No comment needed, Colette speaks for herself, as ‘Renee Nere’. A stirring testament to ‘the old scar that writing represents’, this translation by Enid McLeod is still a bit flowery for my tastes but never mind … The book was chosen in France as one of the best twelve books of the 20th Century.

Read from one of the links below to learn more, and check out Antonia White‘s translations.

I love this photograph … Colette looks like she is in exile, a refugee in her own life.

“To write, to be able to write, what does it mean? It means spending long hours dreaming before a white page, scribbling unconsciously, letting your pen play round a blot of ink and nibble at a half-formed word, scratching it, making it bristle with darts and adorning it with antennae and paws until it loses all resemblance to a legible word and turn into a fantastic insect or a fluttering creature half butterfly, half fairy.


Gigi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To write is to sit and stare, hypnotized, at the reflection of the window in the silver ink-stand, to feel the divine fever mounting to one’s cheeks and forehead while the hand that writes grows blissfully numb upon the paper. It also means idle hours curled up in the hollow of the divan, and then the orgy of inspiration from which one emerges stupefied and aching all over, but already recompensed and laden with treasures that one unloads slowly on to the virgin paper in the little round pool of light under the lamp.

To write is to pour one’s innermost self passionately upon the tempting paper, at such frantic speed that sometimes one’s hand struggles and rebels, over-driven by the impatient god who guides it — and to find, next day, in place of the golden bough that bloomed miraculously in that dazzling hour, a withered bramble and a stunted flower.

To write is the joy and torment of the idle. Oh to write! From time to time I feel a need, as sharp as thirst in summer, to note and to describe. And then I take up my pen again and attempt the perilous and elusive task of seizing and pinning down, under its flexible double-pointed nib, the many-hued, fugitive, thrilling, adjective … The attack does not last long; it is but the itching of an old scar.

It takes too much time to write. And the trouble is, I am no Balzac! The fragile story I am constructing crumbles away when the tradesman rings, or the shoemaker sends in his bill, when the solicitor, or one’s counsel, telephones, or when the theatrical agent summons me to his office for ‘a social engagement at the house of some people of very good position but not in the habit of paying large fees.’

The problem is, since I have been living alone, that I have had first to live, then to divorce, and then to go on living, To do all that demands incredible activity and persistence. And to get where? Is there, for me, no other haven than this commonplace room done up in gimcrack Louis XVI? Must I stay forever before this impenetrable mirror where I come up against myself, face to face?

Tomorrow is Sunday: that means afternoon and evening performances at the Empyree-Clichy. Two o’clock already! High time for a woman of letters who has turned out badly to go to sleep.”

From The Vagabond by Colette. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York 1955


Investigative Reporter/Editor Various scribblings … NYT’s, Salon



Dear Readers:

A few links to some things I’ve had published on the Web follow … If you like what you see, be in touch …

NYT’s Arts Comment of the Week

”This may seem a bit obvious, but the mood of the nation is not exactly attuned right now to introspective music. After all, we’re in a recession, unemployment is high, and there are simply too many pressures affecting people’s moods to sit in the heat and weep or swell with nuances of reflection worthy of a Wordsworth poem. (P.S. I like Sarah McLachlan’s music.) I would suggest moving Lilith Fair’s tour dates to the fall, or into concert halls around the winter holidays, when people are more attuned to relating to one another. Lady Gaga is like the Busby Berkeley of pop music, and we’re in a 1930s kind of mood.”

ELAN DURHAM of Cotuit, Mass., responding to Jon Caramanica’s column about Lady Gaga, Sarah McLachlan and feminism in pop music.


When  Predator Collides with a Fabricator: 378 Reader Recommendations

Maureen, I’m sort of surprised that you have taken this angle, now that much of the evidence is in the public domain concerning the maid’s broken credibility.

It seems just as likely she offered herself to Strauss-Kahn because she was conspiring with her money laundering-thug friends to blackmail him, receive a huge settlement from Sofitel, or from the man himself. Whatever evidence falls from that tainted tree is poisoned …

As far as her physical evidence (bruising, torn ligament), it’s not impossible that she produced it in some way (self-inflicted), since she did not leave his room and go straight to Management. There was a time lapse …

Further, a character who would lie about her husband being murdered and being gang-raped herself is desperate; she would not be above producing the evidence–no matter how painful to herself. His semen would be welcome. This was the DNA evidence she needed.

Strauss-Kahn undoubtedly has a problem with self-control. This is not contested; his female colleagues in France have attested to as much. My guess is that he finally met his match: liar meets liar.

But really, this woman has done a tremendous disservice to women who have suffered from rape and assault. Now there will be cries all over the Internet from men who are convinced there’s not a woman alive who has claimed to have been raped who isn’t lying or didn’t ask for it. The Death of Online Civility

FYI: For those of you who are scratching your heads and wondering why so much ink is wasted correcting a professionial journalist’s grammar and understanding of Gothic architecture, welcome to online bullying, or trolling. Sometimes, disguising themselves as well-meaning ‘correctors’ they often exist simply to demolish any coherent discussion of the issues the journalist was hired to write about … (Or about which the journalist was hired; an absurd construction appropriate for the hopelessly tone-deaf … Oops, dangling preposition, call the language cops.)

Most recently, two bloggers obliterated the dialogue between readers on no less than half a dozen or more threads in response to Salon’s Emily Matchar’s “Why I can’t stop reading Mormon housewife blogs”. The men were obscene, irrelevant, blogging endlessly about hell, damnation, guns & ammo, and in monopolizing the conversation robbed other readers, who apparently had something to say, of a forum … These readers, by the way, would’ve had to wade knee-deep through caca to read the genuine responses to the author’s thoughts, as I did, (and I flagged every bogus blog along the way). Not a great way to spend an evening, by the way, though I did come across a blog that was so arresting; it gave me an idea for a new novel.

The nitpicking here is a minor example, but I would bet any amount of money I do not have that neither of these men would bother a writer at the NYT’s or The New Yorker or any other online magazine with their exquisitely-tuned sensibilities, as they concern sentence construction and building construction. Despite all this, I can’t help but consider how lucky the readers of this article at Salon are now … being informed by Ms. Miller’s friend in Cambridge, UK who actually knows something about architecture.

Thanks, Laura Miller, for clearing up these issuesInstagram and Twitter 193.jpg