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”
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.
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”
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 travelogue, potted history (both regional and national) and treatise on the nature of mortality rolled into one, it includes predictable digressions on cinema (Orson Welles, Luis Bunuel, Nic Roeg) & literature (Javier Cercas, Peter Dickinson, Tintin) Islamic & Christian peregrination, wild swimming in Scotland, celebrity speed freaks and the death of David Bowie. Continue reading “In Extremadura, out now!”
Here’s a question they’ll probably never ask on Have I Got News For You. What do Rolling Stones sidekick David Litvinoff, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide and TV show Little Britain have in common? The answer is… Llanddewi Brefi, a tiny village in Ceredigion, Wales. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Bloody L!”
“Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to weren’t never there, and where you are ain’t no good unless you can get away from it…”
You probably know him, if at all, as Billy Bibbit in Milos Forman’s film of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, or as Grima Wormtongue (i.e. Theresa May) in Lord of The Ringszzz, or perhaps as the voice of Chucky in the Child’s Play/Chucky franchise (where he goes about an octave lower than usual). But to some of us Brad Dourif will always be – in a way, will only ever be – Hazel Motes from Wise Blood, John Huston’s brilliant, low budget adaptation of the offbeat Flannery O’Connor novel, a masterpiece of Southern Gothic. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Brad Dourif”
John Cazale only appeared in half a dozen films, but what films! The Godfather Parts I and II (which are really just one long film, and best seen that way) The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon and The Deer Hunter – he excels in all of them. These, together with a posthumous appearance in The Godfather Part III – for which he has issued a grovelling apology from beyond the grave – mark the sum total of his screen work. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: John Cazale”
“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).
No-one has written a proper history of Bristol in the second half of the twentieth century, cultural or otherwise, and half a million people are simply crying out for it! Just think: Acker Bilk, Angela Carter, the Arnolfini, Ashton Court Free Festival, Aardman Animations, Alfred the Gorilla… and that’s just the As! Factor in cult movie Radio On (see separate post) People’s Band Magic Muscle, Fred Wedlock, the Keiths Floyd & Christmas, St Paul’s Carnival, the Dockland Settlement, The Young Ones, Fem FM, Bristol Broadsides, Banksy, John Boorman, Tom Stoppard, Richard Long, Crystal Theatre, Matt Lucas & David Walliams, etc etc and I might be on to something. Continue reading “On Brandon Hill: a view of Bristol culture from 1945 to the present”