FIVE CRIME FICTION FAVOURITES FROM 2017.

From my decidedly faulty memory, I’ve picked 5 crime fiction books, films and TV shows that I enjoyed in 2017. There were others, of course, and plenty of pleasures outside the genre too – The Love Witch, Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, and Damnation, for example. Anyway, here you go: FILM DOG EAT DOG I…

Failing Better: Brit Grit Comedy

“Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot. To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it!” – Charlie Chaplin “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.’” – Samuel Becket. As Chaplin showed, there has always been a dark aspect to…

Stone Me, What A Life! – Tony Hancock

They say that all small boys are influenced by their big brother’s music collection, and while that may well be true of me, I was also influenced by my family’s taste in other forms of entertainment.  Luckily I grew up in a time when television and radio weren’t as youth focused as they are now…

Top Telly 2016

Like 2015, 2016 was another great year for telly. I watched a lot of good TV this year, most of it American and mostly crime fiction. Second seasons can be problematic, as True Detective showed, but Fargo’s second season was even better than the first – cinematic, sharp dialogue, great music and top turns from…

A Film For Friday: Grace Of My Heart by Allison Anders.

  One of the things I did during my brief jaunt to The Big Apple in 2001 was to walk from Times Square- where I was staying – and down Broadway to place my hand on the Brill Building. And I did. It was a hot summers day and I burnt my hand. It’s a…

I’m On The TV

“Noir is closer to Laurel and Hardy than it is to Agatha Christie” At the recent Alibi noir festival in Slovenia. Here’s me on RTV 4′s arts programme, Glasnik, talking about noir to journalist Petra Skok. With Renato Bratkovič, Neven Skgratic, Eddie Vega, Andrej Predin and the impression of Richard Godwin. More about the festival soooon … http://4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/glasnik-oddaja-tv-maribor/174362622

Top Telly: Brit Grit On The Box

It was announced a while ago that Acorn Media, who are the main distributor of British TV programming to North American consumers, had acquired a 64% stake in Agatha Christie Limited. This means that those delicate folk across the pond will have hours of Miss Marple and Poirot to nibble on while they wait for BBC’s latest incarnation of Sherlock or the Inspector Morse prequel, Endeavour. In comparison…

Recommended Read: British ’60s Cinema by Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson’s BRITISH 60s CINEMA website is a gem. Don’t take my word for it, the great Cathi Unsworth is a fan, too. Here’s  the SP: ‘This website will celebrate the vitalilty and variety of British cinema in the 1960s (whilst straying back into the 1950s and on into the 1970s, and sometimes just covering interesting…

Top Telly: Fargo (2014)

Apparently there was an earlier attempt at a television spin-off of the Coen brothers’ blackly comic film classic – this time starring Kathy Bates – but I never saw that and approached this television series with a degree of trepidation. Well, I was more than pleasantly surprised. Black comedy is a delicate balancing act and…

Top Telly: Bad Girl Rachel Bailey

My current favourite Bad Girl is a cop. Of course, crime fiction – whether it’s in books, films or on television – is over-populated with strong-willed, impulsive, foul mouthed, chain smoking, heavy drinking, bed-hopping cops. But with Detective Constable Rachel Bailey, in the gritty British TV series Scott & Bailey, that cliché is given a…