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!”
“68½: Movies, Manson & Me” is the first book by PlanktonProduktions, available as a free download from Smashwords, on Amazon Kindle (for 99p) and as a paperback, exclusively from Plankton Produktions (click on Buy above). A mind-bending journey through the outer reaches of the late 60s and 70s, the drugs, the movies, the murders, it’s equal parts autobiography, paean to the cinema of the time, DIY guide for aspiring screen-writers, and inquiry into the nature of truth and memory. “A true genre-buster,” says Nick Gilbert (no relation).
I’ve just read Julie Burchill’s autobiography I Knew I Was Right, which first came out back in 1998, so it’s only taken me twenty years to get round to reading it. That’s a long time to put off reading a book which more or less mirrors my own Bristol childhood, albeit she was much more working-class than me, and that bit older, but still… Continue reading “Bristol Fashion: Julie Burchill”
At first sight, Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) may appear to be nothing more than a shameless rip-off of Star Wars (but then Star Wars is nothing more than a shameless amalgam of Flash Gordon and The Hidden Fortress, with elements of Lord of the Rings, Dune, Arthurian legend, dualism, Zoroastrianism etc etc.) Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Battle Beyond the Stars”
Was there ever a band as under-rated as Spirit, a drummer as tonsorially challenged as Ed Cassidy, or a guitarist as subtle and restrained as Randy California? Was that even his real name? Let’s hope not. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: S is for Spirit”
No, it’s not a name anyone is immediately familiar with, unless your interest in the band Chicago extends to the man who produced their early albums (James William Guercio ) or you are such a rabidly fanatical Beach Boys fan that you know the name of their manager in the mid-1970s (James William Guercio ) or you’re even more of a Zappa/Mothers freak and have read the list of “material contributors” to their ground-breaking first (double) album, Freak Out , which, among such luminaries as Stravinsky, Stockhausen, Salvador Dali and Sonny Boy Williamson, lists one Jim Guercio. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: James William Guercio & Electra Glide in Blue”
Since I don’t own any albums by bands beginning with Q (no, not even Queen) it’s on to R, and the Residents. I well remember the first time I heard the Residents. It was the early 1980s. I had escaped secondary school at sixteen for the superficially freer atmosphere of Filton “Tech”, a College of Further Education on the outskirts of Bristol. Half the students were apprentice mechanics* and the other half were pretentious twats like me, studying art and drama and film, and attempting to emulate their elders by throwing dinner parties to impress their new friends. At least I was. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: R is for The Residents”
I recently watched downbeat 1970s gangster movie The Friends of Eddie Coyle for the first time, and while it’s by no means a great film, or even a good one, it does feature another great turn from the wonderful Peter Boyle, here playing a Boston Irish barman/mobster with a contract on his fellow criminal Robert Mitchum.
Geoff Nicholson’s book The Lost Art of Walking covers all aspects of perambulation, including the many musical references to using our feet. Among others, Nicholson name-checks Johnny Cash (I Walk The Line) Patsy Cline (Walkin’ After Midnight) Nancy & Lee (Boots) Aerosmith (Walk This Way) and even Yoko Ono (Walking on Thin Ice) all of which I love, yet he makes no mention of Pere Ubu, who dedicated an entire album to The Art of Walking. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: P is for Pere Ubu”
I’m a big Western fan, and I like nothing more than a strange, or off-beat, or left-field Western. And let’s be clear here that by “Western” I mean a film set in the (Wild) West of what we now call the USA, sometime in the 19th century, so no Proposition or Once Upon a Time in the Midlands okay? Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Incredibly Strange Westerns”
We have a tradition in my house where, every January 1st, I play the three “classic” NEU! albums (Neu!, Neu! 2 and Neu! ’75) one after the other. Okay, so we didn’t have that tradition until 3 days ago but I think I’ll be doing it again next year, so Happy NEU Year everyone! Continue reading “Every Album I Own: N is for NEU!”