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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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Every Album I Own: T is for Turtles, “The Battle of the Bands”  

Everybody knows the Turtles. You just don’t know that you do. If the Monkees were a demented, pre-X Factor imitation of the Beatles that was consumed by its own contradictions and produced not only great pop music but a great counter-cultural film in Head, the Turtles were an even more demented, Militant-style entryist imitation of the Beach Boys, with insane, falsetto vocals, wilfully crass lyrics and some nifty, tongue-in-cheek pop chops e.g. Elenore and You Showed Me. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: T is for Turtles, “The Battle of the Bands”  “

Bristol Fashion: The Cary Grant Acid Test

As many (but not all) of you will know, Cary Grant was born Archibald Leach, lived at one point in Picton Street, Bristol (in the house my cousin Marc bought back in the 80s) went to Fairfield School and moved, first to London, where he developed his unique hybrid of West Country and mockney, all delivered with a distinctive staccato enunciation, and later to the United States. Oh yeah, he also made some films, and in the late 1950s/1960s took more than 100 LSD trips, for strictly therapeutic reasons. Continue reading “Bristol Fashion: The Cary Grant Acid Test”

Bristol Fashion: Julie Burchill

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”

Archaeology Corner: Battle Beyond the Stars

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”

Every Album I Own: S is for Spirit

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”

Archaeology Corner: James William Guercio & Electra Glide in Blue

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”

Every Album I Own: R is for The Residents

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”

Archaeology Corner: The Friends of Peter Boyle

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.

Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: The Friends of Peter Boyle”

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