Quotations by Aaronovitch, Ben


It’s a police mantra that all members of the public are guilty of something, but some members of the public are more guilty than others.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Broken Homes (2013)

See Orwell.
Added on 6-Jan-16 | Last updated 6-Jan-16
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As my dad always says, while improvisation and spontaneity may be the hallmarks of great jazz, the hallmark of being a great player is ensuring the rest of the band is spontaneously improvising the way you want them to.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Broken Homes (2013)
Added on 13-Jan-16 | Last updated 13-Jan-16
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Landscaping is the great cardinal sin of modern architecture. It’s not your garden, it’s not a park — it’s a formless patch of grass, shrubbery and the occasional tree that exists purely to stop the original developer’s plans from looking like a howling concrete wilderness.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Broken Homes (2013)
Added on 20-Jan-16 | Last updated 20-Jan-16
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It’s a sad fact of modern life that sooner or later you will end up on YouTube doing something stupid. The trick, according to my dad, is to make a fool of yourself to the best of your ability.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Broken Homes (2013)
Added on 27-Jan-16 | Last updated 27-Jan-16
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“There’s weird shit,” I said. “And we deal with the weird shit, but normally it turns out that there’s a perfectly rational explanation.” Which is often that a wizard did it.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Foxglove Summer (2014)
Added on 3-Feb-16 | Last updated 3-Feb-16
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“So the moon effects magic, why?”

“I’m working on several theories,” I said. “But I’m currently favoring the hypothesis that the moon has a seemingly arbitrary effect on magic because it likes to piss me off.”

“That’s a theory with a high degree of applicability to other spheres of life,” he said.

“Yes, it is,” I said, and we spontaneously fist bumped.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Foxglove Summer (2014)
Added on 10-Feb-16 | Last updated 10-Feb-16
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“Would you like me to arrest you?” I asked. That’s an old police trick: If you just warn people they often just ignore you, but if you ask them a question then they have to think about it. Once they start to think about the consequences they almost always calm down, unless they’re drunk of course, or stoned, or aged between fourteen and twenty-one, or Glaswegian.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Moon Over Soho (2011)
Added on 4-Nov-15 | Last updated 4-Nov-15
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Molly served as the Folly’s housekeeper, cook, and rodent exterminator. She never speaks, has too many teeth and a taste for raw meat, but I try never to hold that against her or let her get between me and the exit.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Moon Over Soho (2011)
Added on 11-Nov-15 | Last updated 11-Nov-15
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There’s a particular kind of safety that comes from being on the streets where you went to school, had your first snog, or drink, or threw up your first chicken vindaloo.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Moon Over Soho (2011)
Added on 18-Nov-15 | Last updated 18-Nov-15
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Murder investigations start with the victim because usually in the first instance that’s all you’ve got. The study of the victim is called victimology because everything sounds better with an ology tacked on the end. To make sure that you make a proper fist of this, the police have developed the world’s most useless mnemonic: 5 x WH & H. Otherwise known as Who? What? Where? When? Why? & How? Next time you watch a real murder investigation on the TV and you see a group of serious-looking detectives standing around talking, remember that what they’re actually doing is trying to work out what sodding order the mnemonic is supposed to go in. Once they’ve sorted that out the exhausted officers will retire to the nearest watering hole for a drink and a bit of a breather.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Moon Over Soho (2011)
Added on 25-Nov-15 | Last updated 25-Nov-15
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For a terrifying moment I thought he was going to hug me, but fortunately we both remembered we were English just in time. Still, it was a close call.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Moon Over Soho (2011)
Added on 2-Dec-15 | Last updated 2-Dec-15
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     “If they were ugly, Peter, would you care half so much?” asked Nightingale. “There are some hideous things out there that can talk and reason and I wonder if you would be quite so quick to rush to their defense.”
     “Maybe not,” I said. “But that just makes me shallow, it doesn’t make me wrong.”

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Moon Over Soho (2011)
Added on 9-Dec-15 | Last updated 9-Dec-15
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Sometimes I wonder whether if I’d been the one that went for coffee and not Leslie May my life would have been much less interesting and certainly much less dangerous. Could it have been anyone, or was it destiny? When I’m considering this I find it helpful to quote the wisdom of my father, who once told me, “Who knows why the fuck anything happens?”

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Rivers of London [Midnight Riot] (2011)
Added on 30-Sep-15 | Last updated 30-Sep-15
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“You put a spell on the dog,” I said as we left the house.
“Just a small one,” said Nightingale.
“So magic is real,” I said. “Which makes you a … what?”
“A wizard.”
“Like Harry Potter?”
Nightingale sighed. “No,” he said. “Not like Harry Potter.”
“In what way?”
“I’m not a fictional character,” said Nightingale.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Rivers of London [Midnight Riot] (2011)
Added on 7-Oct-15 | Last updated 7-Oct-15
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If you ask any police officer what the worst part of the job is, they will always say breaking bad news to relatives, but this is not the truth. The worst part is staying in the room after you’ve broken the news, so that you’re forced to be there when someone’s life disintegrates around them. Some people say it doesn’t bother them — such people are not to be trusted.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Rivers of London [Midnight Riot] (2011)
Added on 14-Oct-15 | Last updated 14-Oct-15
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Somebody was screaming and I had to check it wasn’t me. It could have been me. I certainly wanted to scream, but I remembered that right then and there Leslie and I were the only coppers on the scene and the public doesn’t like it when the police start screaming; it contributes to an impression of things not being conducive to public calm.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Rivers of London [Midnight Riot] (2011)
Added on 21-Oct-15 | Last updated 21-Oct-15
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My dad had once told me that the secret to a happy life was never to start something with a girl unless you were willing to follow wherever it leads. It’s the best piece of advice he’s ever given me and probably the reason I was born.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Rivers of London [Midnight Riot] (2011)
Added on 28-Oct-15 | Last updated 28-Oct-15
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Like young men from the dawn of time, I decided to choose the risk of death over certain humiliation.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Whispers Under Ground (2012)
Added on 16-Dec-15 | Last updated 16-Dec-15
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“Can you hear that?” asked Kumar. We stopped and listened. Just on the cusp of hearing I detected a rhythmic pounding, more a vibration in the concrete than a sound. “Drums,” I said, and then because I couldn’t resist it, “Drums in the deep.”

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Whispers Under Ground (2012)
Added on 23-Dec-15 | Last updated 23-Dec-15
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“They’re brothers,” said Zach, and you had to admire him, if only for his persistence. But it didn’t matter, because in an interview a lie can almost be as good as the truth. That’s because all good lies contain as much truth as the liar thinks they can get away with. This truth accumulates, and because it’s easier to remember the truth than something you’ve made up, it remains consistent where the lies do not. All you have to do is keep asking variations on the same questions, until you can sort one from the other. That’s why helping the police with their inquiries can take you all day — if you’re lucky.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Whispers Under Ground (2012)
Added on 30-Dec-15 | Last updated 30-Dec-15
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