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Cult Sights & Sounds, Bristol, Spain & South America

68½ – MOVIES, MANSON & ME (REDUX)

It’s fifty years since May ’68! What better way to celebrate than with a new, improved (i.e. shorter) version of my first book, 68½ – MOVIES, MANSON & ME? First published in 2016, the feedback I subsequently received, from both readers, was that, while they loved the sex, the drugs, the rock & roll, and even the movie trivia, they could have happily done without the “treatments” i.e.  the summaries of every script I had ever written. In so doing, or saying, they join a long and honourable list of film producers who never bothered to read my scripts either. Continue reading “68½ – MOVIES, MANSON & ME (REDUX)”

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In Extremadura, out now!

My second book is a radical deconstruction of the Brit Abroad genre (see, for example, A Year In Provence,  Driving Over Lemons)  (on second thoughts, don’t!)  Spanish/South American travelogue, potted history and treatise on the nature of mortality rolled into one, it includes predictable digressions on cinema (Orson Welles, Luis Bunuel)  literature (Javier Cercas, Tintin) peregrination,  wild swimming in Scotland, celebrity speed freaks and the death of David Bowie.  Continue reading “In Extremadura, out now!”

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Archaeology Corner: Here’s To Them (Gordon & Ted)

It’s a dangerous thing, the auteur theory. It can lead you to thinking that a workmanlike director such as Gordon Douglas or Ted Kotcheff, neither of whom anyone bar a few film buffs has ever heard of, will turn in a masterpiece every time; that someone as competent but essentially limited as Douglas or Kotcheff will somehow transcend the clunkiest of scripts, the demands of genre, the cruel privations of budget, every time they stand behind a camera. Yes, they did make four of my favourite films (Them and Barquero, Two Gentlemen Sharing and Wake in Fright). But for every Barquero, every Wake in Fright, there is a Viva Knievel, an Uncommon Valour. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Here’s To Them (Gordon & Ted)”

Bristol Fashion: Where’s My Money?

Mike Manson’s Where’s My Money (2008) is set in Bristol in 1976, and fairly reflects the strange, paralysed, but not unpleasant atmosphere of the mid-1970s. I guess it depends how old you were or what you were into at the time. This was the golden age of free festivals, for example – only the year before, enlightened Home Secretary Roy Jenkins (pre-SDP) had given his blessings to a government-sponsored festival at Watchfield, where Hawkwind played, and bad acid left dozens of people curled up in panic-stricken balls around the festival site. Continue reading “Bristol Fashion: Where’s My Money?”

Every Album I Own: W is for the Wonder of Stevie, and for Bobby Womack

I was reading an interview with David Crosby in Mojo magazine recently, and Crosby said, a propos nothing, that “if Kanye West thinks he’s the greatest living rock star, would somebody please drive him over to Stevie Wonder’s house so he can see what the greatest living rock star actually looks like?” Continue reading “Every Album I Own: W is for the Wonder of Stevie, and for Bobby Womack”

Bristol Fashion: Wedlock is a Padlock

In common with a great many Bristolians, I’ve probably tended to underestimate, if not dismiss outright, the so-called Funnyman of Folk, Fred Wedlock. But age is a funny thing, and I am no longer immune to the charms of folk music. Even so-called comedy folk music. Sure, Fred Wedlock’s no Jake Thackray. Who is? Not even Jake Thackray.  But a recent, absent-minded search on You Tube threw up this surprisingly good rendition of the old Spanish Civil war tune, Si Me Quieres Escribir, sung in Spanish but with an unmistakeable Bristolian twang to it. Continue reading “Bristol Fashion: Wedlock is a Padlock”

Every Album I Own: V is for the Voices of East Harlem & Van Halen

Ah, the Voices of East Harlem. Back in my I is for the Impressions post I waxed lyrical about Cashing In, their big Blackpool Mecca Northern Soul hit, written by Leroy Hutson, who replaced Mike Yarwood  in the Impressions. But there’s a lot more where that came from. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: V is for the Voices of East Harlem & Van Halen”

Bristol Fashion: Deadly Strangers

Touted as a Bristol film by Bristol 24/7 (see below) it’s more of a Weston film, really, and not much of that! Still, how often do you get to see the great Sterling Hayden (Johnny Guitar, Dr Strangelove, The Godfather, The Long Goodbye) on the pier at Weston-Super-Mud? Answer: once, in Deadly Strangers. Continue reading “Bristol Fashion: Deadly Strangers”

Bristol Fashion: Two or Three Films I Know About Bristol  

There is a lot to be proud of in Bristol, but, Aardman Animations apart, a fine film-making tradition isn’t one of them. Sure, we’ve produced great TV, great playwrights and novelists, more great music (since the 1980s anyway) than you can shake a Gibson SG at, but films? The Bristol 24/7 website has a “definitive” list of 27 films from the 1930s (Java Head) to 2014 (The Inbetweeners) which includes quite a few films with the most tangential of connections to the city (The Titfield Thunderbolt, for example, has one scene shot in Temple Meads, while Truly, Madly, Deeply pretends that Clifton is London and that Juliet Stevenson can act). Continue reading “Bristol Fashion: Two or Three Films I Know About Bristol  “

Archaeology Corner: Ed, Bela & Boris

I recently re-watched Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, which is, for my money, Burton’s second-best picture (the best being Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, obviously). It helps if you’ve seen – and enjoyed – Plan 9 From Outer Space and/or Glen Or Glenda or any of the various, beyond-low-budget films Wood made in the 1950s, but you don’t NEED to have seen them, because the Burton film will make you want to seek them out anyway. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Ed, Bela & Boris”

Every Album I Own: U is for UFO, Flying (One Hour Space Rock) 

An easy choice, this, and a short post, as I only have one other album by an artist beginning with U, and it isn’t U2. If it was U2, you’d have my permission to cut my ears off and feed them to your dog, assuming that your dog could digest the ears of someone who has listened to U2, which I doubt. It might be better to dry them and feed them in flakes to your goldfish, or mix them into baby food. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: U is for UFO, Flying (One Hour Space Rock) “

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