Cult Films & Sounds, Spain & South America

In Extremadura, coming soon!

Hopefully appearing in time for Christmas 2017, my second book is a radical deconstruction of the Brit Abroad genre (see, for example, A Year In Provence, or Driving Over Lemons) . Yes, it’s “about” me (again) my family and our idyllic year in Spain (zzzz) but it’s also about the under-explored and relatively unknown province of Caceres, which lies in Extremadura, in south-west Spain. Its people, its history, its culture, traditions and peculiarities. Above all, its peculiarities.   Continue reading “In Extremadura, coming soon!”

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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).

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Every Album I Own: J is for Judas Priest (The Killer Wail Part 2)

Earlier this year I posted about the poet Garcia Lorca, the album Tim Buckley recorded in his honour, and the ordeal of the Arctic explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard who, in The Worst Journey in the World, described how killer whales tried to smash the ice to get at his ponies. I said that Tim Buckley had an amazing voice, which could slither along in a cetacean fashion, “seemingly going nowhere, then suddenly erupting, breaking the ice and hitting the high notes mere mortals cannot reach” and that he had “a killer wail”. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: J is for Judas Priest (The Killer Wail Part 2)”

Fear of a Black Planet: The Ten Most Racist Films Ever

Let’s start with one of my guiltiest pleasures, Black Hawk Down, because – like multi-storey car park crime – it’s wrong on so many levels. It’s directed by Ridley Scott, for a start. What has Ridley Scott contributed towards the happiness of man? I mean, apart from Alien and Blade Runner? And the gladiator bits in Gladiator? Apart from that, what has he contributed? Continue reading “Fear of a Black Planet: The Ten Most Racist Films Ever”

Archaeology Corner: Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson (1918-1996) started out as a stuntman and rodeo rider before making a whole bunch of Westerns with first John Ford and then Sam Peckinpah. It’s his work with the latter on The Wild Bunch, his Oscar-winning performance in The Last Picture Show and his role in the John Milius gangster pic Dillinger that interest me, and should interest you. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Ben Johnson”

Every Album I Own:  I is for The Impressions

Back in the 1970s, the greatest decade known to (wo)man or (she)beast, the fantastically unfunny Mike Yarwood commanded audiences Simon Cowell can only dream of with his “impressions” of Harold Wilson, Ted Heath, Brian Clough and Curtis Mayfield. Okay, maybe not the last one. Mike Yarwood never blacked up, as far as I know. His voice wasn’t high enough to reach the notes that Curtis could reach anyway. He never put a dick on his head and impersonated Jim Davidson either (more’s the pity). Continue reading “Every Album I Own:  I is for The Impressions”

Every Album I Own:  H is for Hawkwind (who else?)

Oh Hawkwind, how do I love you? Let me count the ways: In Search of Space; Space Ritual; Hall of the Mountain Grill; Warrior on the Edge of Time; Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music; Quark, Strangeness and Charm; Hawklords; PXR5; Hawkwind... that’s nine albums right there. Continue reading “Every Album I Own:  H is for Hawkwind (who else?)”

Saint Quentin, I hate every inch of you

So, Quentin Tarantino is developing a film about the so-called “Manson Murders”, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Variety, the Guardian etc. Well, it had to happen. Tarantino and Manson are perfectly matched, even down to the love of the N-word.

Just what IS the enduring appeal of – the fascination with – Charles Manson?  I‘ve asked myself that question, and been asked it, many times, After all, I wrote a book “about” him, even if it was really more about me, and movies, and all my unmade scripts (including a Manson musical). Continue reading “Saint Quentin, I hate every inch of you”

Every Album I Own: G is for Al Green, and Gong

Before I jet off to sunny climes (i.e. Leominster) let me leave you with one final post this summer. In a strong field, it’s a photo finish between Al Green’s Livin’ For You, and Gong’s Camembert Electrique. Livin’ For You was the first soul album I became aware of, however dimly, lurking in my mum’s record collection between Fairport Convention’s Liege and Lief and Stonehenge by Richie Havens. At least that’s where it WOULD have been lurking, if my mum had been as anally retentive as me, and had filed her records alphabetically, but she had other metaphorical fish to fry, mostly in the pub, or on meditation retreats run by male hippy control freaks, or occasionally in Broadmead police station. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: G is for Al Green, and Gong”

Every Album I Own: F is for Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours

Now that the punks are old and fat and have good jobs in the media, Fleetwood Mac have been quietly rehabilitated, like Hawkwind, and people can admit to liking Rumours, which is, after all, the 8th most successful album of all time for a reason. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: F is for Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours”

Archaeology Corner: Blotto about Kotto

Regular readers of my blog (hi Rod!) will no doubt recall that A Walk on the Wilde Side – my homage to the cinema of Cornel Wilde – threatened a separate post about Yaphet Kotto, just so I could keep saying the name Yaphet Kotto over and over again as I typed it. After all, this is the man who not only faced off against Roger Moore in Live and Let Die but suffocated to death in a paint shop in Blue Collar AND got to play Idi Amin in Raid on Entebbe (and did a much better job than either Forest Whitaker or Tom Hanks). Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Blotto about Kotto”

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