- This spot was reserved for a teaser for HBO's "The Pacific" that was on YouTube for about two days in late May. It originated in Australian tv, and brief though it was, it suggested something of the scale of this show. Except HBO got rid of all signs of the trailer sharpish, perhaps unwilling to begin any marketing for a programme which will not air until 2010. Produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, it is the companion piece to "Band of Brothers", only focusing on the intertwined stories of three US Servicemen in the Pacific theatre of the Second World War. Its the most expensive television production ever attempted, its got some quality talent behind the camera and writing the scripts and the cast is composed mainly of unknowns and barely-knowns. It looks great, and if its anywhere near as good as "Band of Brothers", then we're in for a treat.
- Glen David Gold's second novel, "Sunnyside" is finally released this week, eight years after his fine debut, "Carter Beats the Devil" made its bow. Writers can be terrible this way, stretching out a novel, endlessly tweaking, trimming and thinning, stopping and starting. This one is about Charlie Chaplin, WW1 and America, and it sounds intriguing. A couple of other writers I love have books out over the next few months. Again, they're extremely long-awaited:
James Ellroy's "Bloods A Rover", the final part of his USA trilogy, which is out in September. Long long awaited by Ellroy disciples...
David Mazzuchelli's even longer-awaited "Asterios Polyp", which has gotten unsurprisingly rave reviews and is out in July.
- Simon Kuper is, for my money, the best football writer working today. He once edited the short-lived periodical of literary writing about the Beautiful Game; "Perfect Pitch" and his book "Football Against the Enemy" is something of a masterpiece, and hugely influential. In this month's issue of "Four Four Two" he contributes a dazzling portrayal of Johann Cruyff which for anybody too young to appreciate the man's genius, is an absolute must. The article mentions several legendary goals and tricks, and almost all of them are included in this short clip:
- Gustav Hasford was a former combat reporter in Vietnam who became quite a celebrated Nam novelist upon this return. His novel "The Short Timers" formed the basis for "Full Metal Jacket", and great stuff it is too. However it, like all his books, is bafflingly, currently out of print. But available to read in its entirety here at his official website, as are all of his books and seemingly everything he ever wrote. He was an interesting character - at a dlunch meeting with Stanley Kubrick and fellow Nam scribe, Michael Herr (who went on to write the screenplay of "Full Metal Jacket") Kubrick leaned over to Herr and whispered "I can't work with this man"...
- A beautiful and limited Yojimbo print by Paul Pope, available to buy (if you're lucky to find there are any left) right here:
- It is an irresistible idea; bringing an Asian Warrior to the old West. The obvious examples - "Red Sun", "Shanghai Knights", and even "Kung Fu" all fudge it somewhat in the execution, however. Either not really Western enough, or half-hearted in their martial arts shapes. Recently the cross-pollination seems to be going the other way and so we end up with "The Good, the Bad and the Weird" and "Sukiyaki Western Django". This, "The Warriors Way" is a directorial debut, and it looks a little bit insane, if in a good way:
- Lee Weeks is a much underrated artist, perhaps too old-fashioned for current tastes, and under-utilized as a result. I love his stuff, though, and its suggestions of Toth and Wally Wood and Gil Kane. He gives good cover, too, as this "Tarzan vs Predator" shot proves:
- I'm currently reading Dean Wareham's fantastic memoir, "Black Postcards", which has made me go back and listen to more of my Galaxie 500 and Luna stuff, which I've always liked. And this eerie, beautiful, poetic, magical song stands out:
Top? Where? Who?
Joanne Whalley. (Kilmer?)