Mark Mason

Before becoming a writer, I did jobs as varied as selling Christmas cards in Harrods, playing guitar in a blues band that toured Europe, and making radio programmes for the BBC. Wherever I went, though, I found it was always the trivia that excited me most. The intriguing stuff, the little facts that slip down the back of life's sofa. So I've ended up as the sort of guy who knows that Harrods dropped their apostrophe in 1921 (Sainsbury's still haven't) ... that Istanbul is the only city in the world to straddle two continents ... that The Archers theme tune was produced by a young George Martin ... It's an attitude that keeps life interesting, I find, whatever you're up to at any particular point in time, whether you're living in the West End of London (as I used to), or a village in Suffolk (as I do now).

Mark Mason

London Bus

A London double decker bus can lean further from the vertical without falling over than a human can. What a great way of learning about centres of gravity. The reason a Routemaster can lean so far is that there's a great long strip of pig-iron welded to its base, keeping you top-deckers safe as you go round corners. If you want reassuring photographic evidence, click here