Saturday, September 6, 2008

ROBERT E. HOWARD - QUOTE OF THE DAY!

ROBERT E. HOWARD - QUOTE OF THE DAY!

Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.

Friday, September 5, 2008

MONTY PYTHON EAT YOUR HEART OUT!



THE FUNNIEST THING ABOUT THIS VIDEO IS THESE GUYS AREN'T TRYING TO BE FUNNY...

MONTY PYTHON COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT BETTER...

PEGGIE PERKINS – AT LAST!

PEGGIE PERKINS – AT LAST!

Peggie Perkins time has come At Last, according to her appropriately named debut CD. With At Last, Peggie swings into the Great American Songbook – each cut adding to the atmosphere on being sequestered in an intimate jazz club listening to a chantuse whose voice wraps you around her little finger.

Peggie’s voice is a beautiful vocal instrument and she uses it with the precision of a seasoned performer who understands the meaning behind both the lyrics and the melody – particularly on Cry Me A River and My Romance.

TO CHECK OUT PEGGIE'S WEBSITE CLICK HERE

AT LAST IS ALSO NOW ON I TUNES, RHAPSODY, AND NAPSTER NOW – CLICK HERE

It is also available on Peggie’s website. If you order it from there, she will send an Autographed copy.


ROY OF THE ROVERS!

ROY OF THE ROVERS!

Following on from his bestselling "All-Round Genius" about a real life sports man who resembled a comic strip hero, Mick Collins turns his attention to a comic strip hero that many thought was a real life striker.

"Roy of the Rovers" delighted fans from the early '50s right up to the strip's closure in the 1990s. This affectionate, entertaining book takes the reader through Roy's many incarnations and gets the inside stories from the editors, illustrators and story creators who worked on the comic through the years. It also has memories and contributions from sports celebrities involved in the comic, such as Bobby Charlton and Gary Lineker.

This is a 'biography' of Roy, but it sets the comic in the context of the times showing how the rise in computer games eventually spelled the death knell for Britain's most famous sporting hero.

Written in a light, entertaining style and illustrated with strips from across the years and a colour plate section, "Roy of the Rovers" is the perfect guilty pleasure for every childhood fan who is now a nostalgic adult.

MODESTY BLAISE – GREEN COBRA!

MODESTY BLAISE – GREEN COBRA!

The dark underworld of espionage and crime is lit up by the fatal charms of the gorgeous Modesty Blaise - high priestess of pulp crime and goddess of cult thrillers!Adventurer, spy, smuggler, racketeer and all-round bad girl, Modesty is as stylish as she is smart, as lethal and beautiful as a Japanese fighting sword!


This latest volume features three classic hard-to-find stories: "Green Cobra", "Eve and Adam" and "Brethren of Blaise"...all wrapped up in a spectacular collector's library edition!Featuring new story introductions by creator Peter O'Donnell, plus a host of features including unseen artwork by John Burns, as well as a selection of recently unearthed Modesty strips - this latest addition to the Modesty Blaise library is not to be missed!

JAMIE CULLUM – THE BEST OF JAZZ!

JAMIE CULLUM – THE BEST OF JAZZ!

Jamie Cullum's takes on jazz standards have taken the genre in a whole new direction. In my opinion, he is the most inovative musician working in the Great American Songbook today.


When not performing, Jamie also presents the Best of Jazz on England’s Radio 2 every Monday night 10:30-11:30pm.

If you're not in England, or if you miss a show, you can now listen to the full show on the BBC iPlayer by CLICKING HERE

Sign up to Jamie's mailing list by CLICKING HERE

ONE TO WATCH – MATT BELSANTE!

ONE TO WATCH – MATT BELSANTE!

Young up-and-coming singers keep looking to the Great American Songbook for their musical inspiration – swinging to Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack.

Here’s the low down on a promising entry into the jazz and standards sweepstakes who has his first CD set for release – coming out of all places, Nashville . . .

TO CHECK OUT SOME OF HIS CUTS CLICK HERE

TO CHECK OUT HIS WEBSITE CLICK HERE


His take on Beyond the sea is particularly impressive.

At twenty-three, Matt Belsante performs like a seasoned entertainer well beyond his years. Maybe it was the old Sinatra records that he used to listen to with his Grandfather. Or maybe it was the steady diet of Coltrane, Ellington, Basie and Fitzgerald that he was fed at home. What ever it was, Matt knew it was in his bones, a part of his DNA that would ultimately lead this young artist to pursue a dream of his own.

Just out of grade school, Matt picked up the tenor sax at the age of twelve and became a standard fixture in his middle school and high school jazz bands. But the sax wasn’t his only instrument: he soon found he had a talent for using his voice. By his Senior year of High School, Matt had won the prestigious Louis Armstrong Jazz Award in both the vocal and instrumental categories, the first student from his school to achieve such a feat.

That affirmation was a turning point for Matt, as he realized that his true passion was for using his voice to interpret a song. He grabbed a guitar, taught himself to play and began composing his own music the summer before he entered Nashville’s Vanderbilt University. Before the first day of class commenced, Billy Adair, Director of the Vanderbilt/Blair School of Music Blair Big Band, had already recruited Matt to sing for the Band. Soon, Matt was directing himself, leading the Dodecaphonics, an all-male a cappella campus group.

The rising star eventually came to the attention of Nashville’s well-heeled music industry following a performance of the Nashville Jazz Orchestra. That night, the NJO was performing a Sinatra tribute, and Matt sang many as if he was channelling Sinatra himself. That performance landed him a televised appearance as a featured entertainer for the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pagent 2006, which eventually lead him to GreenHill Music, where he recorded an album of Christmas standards for the independent label. That album quickly became one of the label’s best selling holiday releases that season.

Most recently, CBL Properties and KMT Creative Group tapped iV music group to help develop an audio brand for a national campaign that would advertise their mall properties across the country. iV music group suggested that Matt became both the voice and the face of the campaign. As a result, Matt is now featured in a series of spots on television, radio and internet. In a story that is increasingly common in today’s new music business model, Matt and CBL are forging a unique relationship that will be mutually beneficial to both brands.

Matt just finished recording his next album, Blame It On My Youth, a series of covers of classic Jazz and Big Band standards, along with one of Matt’s original compositions. The album is scheduled for a September 2008 release.

From his Grandfather’s lap to the stage, television and the web, Matt’s musical journey is only just beginning. Keep your eyes and ears on this young crooner as he continues his rise to the top.

CRIME JAZZ : VOLUME 16 : THE LATIN SPY LOUNGE!

CRIME JAZZ : VOLUME 16 : THE LATIN SPY LOUNGE!

Thxjay over at The Crime Longe has posted another fantastic collection of spy themed soundtrack cuts – this time with a Latin twist . . .

Thxjay says: Taking a break from our "In Action!" series for a while, here we concentrate on music taken from various crime/spy films & television shows with a latin influence. A personal favourite of mine, latin rhythm adds a wonderful smooth percussion style to all kinds of music and is very popular in the "crime jazz" genre.

Most of these selections are taken from a time when latin music was taking over the world and nearly every composer of the time started adding the South American influence to their creations.

Sit back and let the music transport you to a yesteryear of exotic locations and swinging secret agents! No-one can resist the Bossa Nova . . .

TRACKLIST:

01. Route 66 - Pete Moore Orchestra
02. McGarrett's Theme - Morton Stevens
03. April - Teddy Randazzo
04. The Aftermath of Love - Lalo Schifrin
05. Chaise-Lounge - Edwin Astley
06. Hammerhead's Apartment - David Whitaker
07. Champagne and Quail - Henry Mancini
08. The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. - Teddy Randazzo
09. Halo - Edwin Astley
10. A Martini Built For Two - Hugo Montenegro
11. Slinky - Edwin Astley
12. Cool Bossa Source - Roy Budd
13. Meet Mr. Solo - Hugo Montenegro
14. Try - John Barry
15. Solo's Samba - Hugo Montenegro
16. On Days Like These - Quincy Jones
17. Hood Arrives In Portugal - David Whitaker
18. Senorita Boo Bam - Neal Hefti
19. The Hearse Chase - David Whitaker
20. Alone In Three-Quarter Time - John Barry
21. In The Shadows - Roy Budd
22. The Village Inn - Henry Mancini
23. Tracy Island - Barry Gray
24. Mio Amore Sta Lontano - Edwin Astley

COMPILATION AND CUSTOM ARTWORK BY THXJAY

TO DOWNLOAD THE ALBUM
CLICK HERE

TO VISIT THE CRIME LOUNGE CLICK HERE

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RAQUEL WELCH!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RAQUEL WELCH!

STAR OF FATHOM, BOLERO, AND MY PERSONAL FAVORITE - KANSAS CITY BOMBER!

68 AND STILL KNOCK-EM-DEAD GEORGEOUS!


A tip of the fedora to THE DINO LOUNGE for the reminder.

SECRET ASSET!

SECRET ASSET!

Tanner at Double O Section has posted agreat indepth review of Secret Asset by Stella Rimington, the former Director General of Britain’s MI5.

Rimington’s books are excellent modern espionage novels, rich in detail and character. If you enjoy Le Carre or Deighton don’t miss Rimington.

FOR TANNER’S REVIEW CLICK HERE

ROBERT E. HOWARD -- QUOTE OF THE DAY!

ROBERT E. HOWARD -- QUOTE OF THE DAY!

From Iron Shadows In The Moon:
With a gusty laugh he lifted her to his fierce lips."I'll make you Queen of the Blue Sea! Cast off there, dogs! We'll scorch King Yildiz's pantaloons yet, by Crom!"

Iron Shadows in the Moon is one of Howard's original short stories starring Conan the Cimmerian, first published in Weird Tales magazine circa April 1934 under the title Shadows in the Moonlight.
The story concerns Conan escaping to a remote island in the Vilayet Sea where he encounters the Red Brotherhood, a skulking creature, and mysterious iron statues.

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE POWER OF ONE BY BRYCE COURTENAY!

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE POWER OF ONE BY BRYCE COURTENAY!

While Bryce Courtenay’s brilliant first novel The Power Of One (published in 1989) is considered a classic in other parts of the world, it is not as well known in America as it deserves to be.

This semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story set in pre-WWII South Africa, was recommended to me by a friend who loves boxing novels. However, like Million Dollar Baby, The Power Of One uses boxing as a simple framework on which to hang a deeply intense and personal tale of an individual battling and being victorious over the greatest of odds.

Told in the first person from when he is five-years-old, the English Peekay has been born in a South Africa divided by racism and hatred. His experiences at the hands of the older Boer children at a harsh Afrikaans-language boarding school are as bleak and heart-wrenchingly real as anything ever committed to the page. Being urinated on by a pack of older boys, and then beaten for it by the matron, is one of the lesser indignities he is forced to survive.

Eventually, Peekay’s experiences teach him small can beat big if you act first with the head and then with the heart. Armed with this knowledge, he resolves to take on the injustices of his country, and sets his heart on becoming the welterweight champion of the world. Although he continues to endure many losses, he grows through his experiences, and continues to pursue his goal to become a boxer.

Peekay forges loving relationships with adults, most notably Doc, a German professor. When Doc is detained as an enemy alien, Peekay's life becomes intertwined with the local prison. It is there that he finally learns to box and becomes a secret ally of the black prisoners.

Characters are rarely presented as good or evil, there are portions of each in every personality who sprawls across the novel’s canvas. Peekay’s singleminded pursuit of his goal brings him into contact with all levels of South African society. As he grows through puberty and into youngmanhood, Peekay becomes South Africa – embodying all of the contries hopes, dreams, strengths, and weaknesses.

The storytelling here is epic yet personal, grand concepts examined under the microscope on individual experiences – hatred, racisim, honor, glory, sacrifice, friendship, manhood. To read The Power of One is to be hit with an emotional punch which will both inspired and change you.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

STEVE LAWRENCE ON THE CLEANER!

STEVE LAWRENCE ON THE CLEANER!

At 73, Lawrence inherits the mixed honor of being one of the last Las Vegans to run with the Rat Pack. For years, younger generations have sought out Lawrence and singing spouse, Eydie Gorme, for that old-Vegas authenticity Michael Buble can't hope to duplicate.

"I wish everybody I knew and loved felt as well as I do at this point," Lawrence says. "I really am in good shape, I feel good. Take a little Centrum Silver and Scotch. I guess that's keeping me together."

Lawrence is still keeping busy. Earlier this month he played to standing room only crowds and rave reviews at Vegas’ Orleans Hotel and Casino, and next Tuesday (9/9) he’ll be turning up as a horserace addict on The Cleaner (10 p.m., A&E), the hot series starring Benjamin Bratt, in an episode entitled, Let It Ride.


Benjamin Bratt & Steve Lawrence on the set of The Cleaner.

On how he landed the role on the cleaner, Lawrence says, “They sent me a script called The Cleaner. I didn’t know what it was. To me a cleaner is Al Phillips. So I read the thing. What it is, it’s about a group of guys who were addicts and cleaned up their act and now they go out and help other addicts who are hung up on drugs. They don’t get paid for it. I liked it a lot.”

Lawrence was talking with his son, composer David Nessim Lawrence, and mentioned he was thinking of taking a role on The Cleaner. His son said, “You’re kidding, I’m writing the music to that show.”

Lawrence’s son has done well for himslef in the music field – albiet as a composer as opposed to a performer – writing the music to the smash Disney hit High School Musical (1&2), and he’s now doing the film High School Musical 3. He also wrote music for the American Pie films and the TV shows Jericho and Cane – and now, The Cleaner.

Of his performance in Vegas, critic Norm Johnson had this to say:

Went to The Orleans last Friday to watch one of the best in the business of showbiz perform as a solo act, Steve Lawrence. And, he did not disappoint a single person in the SRO audience, and the opening number set the tone for the rest of the evening, "I Gotta Be Me." The show started right on time with a 20 minute film showing some clips of Lawrence's lifetime in the business of singing - beginning with his first appearance on the Arthur Godfrey television show at the age of 16. This film, alone, is worth the price of a ticket.

One thing is for sure, you'll hear the best musicians on any stage when Steve is appearing anywhere. That's because his conductor, Vince Falcone, hand picks the 22 musicians that'll work with Lawrence's regulars: Bobby Hamilton on trumpet, Chuck Christiansen on drums, Jack Hegyi on bass, and the guitar of Al Caiola, for a total of 27 men and women.


TO READ THE FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE

RETRO COMPUTER MIC!

RETRO COMPUTER MIC!

Retro styled computer peripherals are rare items, so this 60’s styled USB microphone from Brando caught my attention. It’s wireless so you can sing from up to three meters away. It’s quite cheap at only $29, so I’m going to take a wild guess here and say it’s not chrome. Ok, it probably sounds bad too. But pretty. Preeeeeeeetty.

TO CHECK IT OUT CLICK HERE
Another tip of the fedora to THE RETRO BLOG

HAPPY E-DAY!

HAPPY E-DAY!

Do you know what today is? It’s E-day. Still don’t know what I’m talking about? On September 4th, 1957, the Ford Motor Company announced its newest line of vehicles under the name Edsel to great fanfare. They hype surrounding the vehicle was huge. Marketing gimmicks included milk bottle toppers and dashboard gauge masks. The car even booted Ed Sullivan out of his usual time slot with its star studded television special.

THE RETRO BLOG HAS A NICE PIECE TODAY ON THE EDSEL: CLICK HERE

STREETS OF FIRE 2: THE ROAD TO HELL!

STREETS OF FIRE 2: THE ROAD TO HELL!

One of my guiltiest pleasures is repeated watchings of Streets of Fire, director Walter Hill’s much-maligned 1984 cult hit starring Michael Pare`, Diane Lane, Amy Madigan, and Willem Dafoe. Pare is perfect as the cool Tom Cody, and Diane Lane may have been in many better films, but she has never looked hotter – and the music , courtesy of Jack Mack and the Heart Attack provided a soundtrack I listen to over and over.

Now word is out horror director Albet Pyun is filming a sequel to Streets of Fire – again with Pare` in the lead role – entitled The Road To Hell. Twenty-five years later, Pare` – who has made the most of his career in Europe (I still fondly remember the TV series Houston Knights with Pare and Michael Beck – from Walter Hill’s Warriors – for it’s shoot-em-up action) – still looks lean and mean. I like the guy and will watch almost any film he’s in – especially his turns in Eddie And The Cruisers and its sequel.

This is a surprising turn of events as Streets of Fire was critically panned, died at the box office, and created a malstrom at Warner Bros. when it ran way, way, way over budget. Still, years of showing on cable has given Streets of Fire a huge cult following – so, perhaps Pyun (who says Streets of Fire is his all time favorite film) might know what he is doing.

Utilizing green screen to provide the scenario with an unreal setting (and cut costs), the production seems somewhat similar to Robert Rodriguez's Sin City in style and content.

In Road To Hell, Cody (Pare`) who has been fighting a long war is driven mad because he no longer believes in any purpose or righteous truth behind killing. He comes home to a surreal world looking for his first and only love from his youth, believing she will rescue him from his demons. On the road to Edge City he encounters two seductive spree killers who oppose his efforts to find his love and the redemption he desperately seeks.

Pyun belives the ending to the original film is the most romantic film ending ever. I can rate it that high, actually it’s a pretty silly statement, but I did think the ending was more romantic than tragic as many fans of the film believe.

When Pyun met Pare`at a film festival in Estepona, Spain in 2007 – where Pare` received Career Achievement and Best Actor awards – their chance meeting put Road To Hell on the filmic map – the idea being to convey what might have happened overtime to Cody, a professional killer, after turning his back on true love Ellen Aim, might have set him on... a road to hell.
The horror magazine Fangoria has an indepth article on the film:

Many fans probably don’t know that Walter Hill’s apocalyptic 1984 cult favorite Streets of Fire was originally intended to be the first film in an epic trilogy. But poor box office kiboshed those plans. But the repeated television airings has left fans wondering just what would have happened to antihero Tom Cody if the Streets saga was to continue.

Pyun describes this new movie as more of a horror film than its predecessor. “An ex-soldier and now hunted killer, Cody is stranded when his jeep breaks down in the desert, on the road to Edge City,” the director explains. “Edge City is where people who have crossed the line of darkness go to have their souls reborn. Cody is hunting for his lost love, the rock star Ellen Aim, believing she is the key to his redemption.”

When Cody hitches a ride with two female spree killers the film takes a dark and violent turn. “It’s not standard horror,” Pyun elaborates, “because we go deeper into the characters and how they arrived at this point in their lives. The true horror is how life can create monsters when things go awry. Disappointment, disillusionment and bitterness fuel the horror in Road To Hell. That makes the shocks and terror far more disturbing.”

TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK HERE

TO VISIT THE OFFICIAL MOVIE WEBSITE CLICK HERE

ROBERT E. HOWARD – QUOTE OF THE DAY!

ROBERT E. HOWARD – QUOTE OF THE DAY!

From The Scarlet Citadel:

"You sit on satin and guzzle wine the people sweat for, and talk of divine rights of sovereignty — bah! I climbed out of the abyss of naked barbarism to the throne and in that climb I spilt my blood as freely as I spilt that of others. If either of us has the right to rule men, by Crom, it is I!"


The Scarlet Citadel was the second Conan story to be printed by Weird Tales magazine (circa 1933) and involves an older, wiser Conan as king of Aquilonia.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

THE SHADOW WAR: MISSION TWO!

THE SHADOW WAR: MISSION TWO!

NEWS FROM THE YOUNG BOND DOSSIER

The Danger Society files at Eton contain a key to a national security threat...The second mission in The Shadow War is online now at YOUNGBONDSHADOWWAR. COM.

This time you’re off to the world famous Eton College to uncover a clue in the files of the Danger Society.Who knows, you may even bump into James Bond himself!

This groundbreaking Young Bond alternate reality game, written by Charlie Higson and designed by Six to Start, takes intrepid players through adventures in the world of Young Bond and his new adventure, By Royal Command.

Good luck.

WORLD ESPIONAGE BUREAU!

WORLD ESPIONAGE BUREAU!

The World Espionage Bureau is touting it’s latest novel:

THE LIE DETECTOR

JUST PUBLISHED! GET YOUR COPY TODAY!

It was just a simple polygraph, but the lies only started there. A thrilling journey through the spy underground: covert operations, shady deals, weapons merchants. Lies!

CLICK HERE TO READ A SAMPLE.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY!

In my book, the cover alone is worth the price!


MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. ON e-BAY!

MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. ON e-BAY!

HERE’S ANOTHER e-BAY AUCTION OF RARE MAN FROMU.N.C.L.E. MEMORABILIA.


Original publicity/press kit/materials for the 1960s TV show, "THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.".

Here is a COMPLETE year by year publicity stills and production info.

Season 1 : has 6 B/W stills, 8 pages production info/bios., photo captions.

Season 2 : has 5 B/W stills, and 12 pages production info/bios., photo captions.

Season 3 : has 4 B/W stills, and 28 pages production info/bios., & photo captions.

Season 4 : has 7 B/W stills, and 30 pages production info/bios., & photo captions.

Then there is a 5th set covering the series in general, maybe a syndication kit, with 7 B/W stills, and 19 pages production info/bios., & photo captions.

These are all originals, from the 1960s. Not sure if these were produced as the series was produced, or if these were made up afterwards for syndication. I believe these were made up during original production, because of the way the info is written, and some other materials I got at the same time from MGM were all from production.

Also, episodes are not offered for syndication by season. There is a total of 29 stills, and 99 pages of production information.

Still sets are all complete, they can be verified by the photo caption sheets. These have been in my personal collection since I got them in 1990. This is the only set of all 4 seasons I have, or had.


Also there is one file folder. These are from old MGM files. All materials are in unused, excellent condition. Original press/publicity kit, NOT a fake, or commercial product.


TO CHECK OUT THE AUCTION CLICK HERE

HERE'S JOHNNY!

THIS FELINE APPEARS TO BE CHANNELLING HIS INNER JACK NICHOLSON IN THE FAMOUS SCENE FROM 'THE SHINING' . . .

I DON'T KNOW IF THIS IS THE SAME KITTEN, BUT THERE IS CERTAINLY NO LACK OF AMBITION . . .

ROBERT E. HOWARD - WORMS OF THE EARTH!

ROBERT E. HOWARD - WORMS OF THE EARTH!

PURPLE PROSE DOESN'T GET MORE PURPLE THAN WHEN IT FLOWED FROM THE PEN OF CONAN'S CREATOR, BUT YOU LUST GOTTA LOVE THIS STUFF...

"I am a Pict, a son of those warriors who drove your brutish ancestors before them like chaff before the storm! -- who flooded the land with your blood and heaped high your skulls for a sacrifice to the Moon-Woman! You who fled of old before my race, dare ye now snarl at your master?"

Robert E. Howard - Worms of the Earth

THE MANY FACES OF 007!


- Click here for funny video clips

PEANUTS VIA BUKOWSKI!

PEANUTS VIA BUKOWSKI!

A good number of years ago I was fairly obsessed with novelist/poet Charles Bukowski. He still remains to me a genuine treaure – what Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson wished they could have been when they weren't trying to be Hemmingway.

Bukowski’s style is rude, crude and confrontational – certainly not to everybody’s taste – and it is parodied hilariously in this take on what would have occurred had Charles Bukowski written Peanuts instead of Charles Shultz.

TO CHECK IT OUT CLICK HERE

BE WARNED THIS IS NOT PG 13 STUFF.

A tip of the Fedora to The Rap Sheet for the link.

THE SPY'S BEDSIDE BOOK!

THE SPY'S BEDSIDE BOOK!

Edited by Graham Greene and Hugh Greene, The Spy’s Bedside Book was originally published in 1957, but has just been reprinted with a new introduction by former head of MI5, Britain's counterintelligence service, and current acclaimed espionage novelist, Dame Stella Rimington.

The LA Times printed an indepth book review today:

Both categories will come to mind reading "The Spy's Bedside Book," a charming curiosity from 1957 now happily reissued by Random House's Bantam imprint. Bedside miscellanies once were a mainstay of English publishing. There were popular collections of excerpts and quotations published for fox hunters, anglers, cricket aficionados and bird-watchers -- to recall just a few. "The Spy's Bedside Book" was shrewder, more pointed sort of work, deftly selected and edited by Greene and his brother Hugh, who probably was best known as director general of the BBC. Graham Greene, of course, had been actively employed by Britain's foreign intelligence agency, MI6, and may have enjoyed an on-again-off-again relationship with the security services for much of his life. Hugh -- a correspondent in prewar Berlin -- served in the RAF during World War II as an interrogator of captured German airmen.

What they produced in this curious miscellany was a volume that serves not simply as a companion to espionage fiction, but as a kind of spy's how-to, right down to tips on secreting messages in boiled eggs and how to disguise maps in diagrams of butterfly wings (thanks to Sir Robert Baden-Powell, who actually did that). Other writers and secret agents represented include John Buchan, W. Somerset Maugham, Joseph Conrad, William Le Queux, James Fenimore Cooper, Rudyard Kipling, W.H. Auden, Eric Ambler and Benedict Arnold's confrere, the luckless Major Andre. (Erskine Childers, the author of the 20th century's first and still classic spy novel, "The Riddle of the Sands," is curiously absent.)

This original volume came with a preface by Graham Greene and an afterward by Hugh. Both are included here, along with a new introduction by Dame Stella Rimington, former head of MI5, Britain's counterintelligence service. She artfully ranges across the history of espionage fiction -- she doesn't omit Childers -- and usefully distinguishes between novels of detection and spy stories. Rimington rightly places Greene's own books in the "realist" tradition of espionage fiction, alongside Conrad and John le Carre.

TO READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW CLICK HERE

SILKS – DICK FRANCIS BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN!

SILKS – DICK FRANCIS BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN!

To this day Dick Francis remains my all time sentimental favorite author. I still remember, when I was starting out to write novels, taking apart a paperback copy of Francis’ novel For Kicks, spreading the pages out on the floor on my office in an effort to glean his secrets of pacing and plotting.

The result of this effort was my novel Chapel Of The Ravens. And it would be very hard for you to imagine my shock when I received a letter from Francis, whom I did not know at the time, from the Bahamas where he had read and enjoyed Chapel Of The Ravens while he was on vacation. I would later learn correspondence like this from Francis was fairy rare, so the letter remains a personally valuable part of my literary collection.

Over the years, I’ve met and enjoyed Francis’s company on several occasions. Both he and his late wife Mary were always gracious. The silly controversy over whether Franicis himself or Mary wrote the books was just that – silly. They wrote the books together and never made out as if the process was any different.

Now, at 87 and a few years removed from Mary’s death, Dick is back writing again – this time with his son Felix. And, I for one am very grateful to have a new yearly Francis novel.

I thought the first official collaboration, Dead Heat, between Francis and Felix made for an excellent return, and I have even higher hope for Silks – which has just been published.

Thanks to The Rap Sheet, I was able to catch up with this recent article from The LondonTimes, in which Francis and Felix talk about their writing collaboration.

A tiny old man in a large Oxfordshire kitchen is neatly writing postcards to America despite the fingers misshaped into question marks. There are five others in the room – his son Felix, Felix’s girlfriend, Felix’s girlfriend’s daughter, a carer and a photographer – but Dick Francis, the octogenarian royal jockey turned novelist, never stops writing; nor does he look up to inspect another arrival until he’s completed the address, right down to the zip code.

I begin to understand the methodical drive that takes a man from winning post to top of the bestseller list, time after time. Every year, after he finishes a novel, he begins his Christmas cards, sent in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, and fires off letters in between. His light frame is now frail. Last year he had a triple heart bypass and a foot amputated, yet he’s still the most commanding person in the room. He signs his postcards “Legless Dick”.


TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK HERE

A tip of the fedora to THE RAP SHEET

ELI STONE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON!

ELI STONE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON!

THIS IS THE BEST SHOW YOU DIDN’T WATCH LAST SEASON . . . I’M EXCITED CBS TOOK A CHANCE AND RENEWED ELI STONE FOR A SECOND SEASON, AND I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT DIRECTION THE SHOW WILL TAKE . . . GO TO YOUR LOCAL DVD RETAILER IMMEDIATELY AND PICK UP THIS JUST RELEASED FIRST SEASON COLLECTION AND GET CAUGHT UP ON WHAT YOU’VE BEEN MISSING.

Here’s the cover copy:

The jury's still out on whether San Francisco attorney Eli Stone is a modern day prophet or simply suffering from a brain aneurysm that causes wild hallucinations. Judged by audiences and critics alike to be one of the quirkiest, most original comedic dramas on television, Eli Stone: The Complete First Season includes all 13 surprising and inspiring one-hour episodes of the show that proves it's never too late to be one of the good guys.

A corporate litigator with a reputation for ruthlessness, Eli Stone is transformed from ambitious go-getter to reluctant do-gooder when a vision of George Michael singing "Faith" inspires him to re-examine his life. At first, skeptical of his powers of prophecy, his visions eventually remind him of the destiny his father once predicted for him: "You're going to help people."

Jonny Lee Miller, Natasha Henstridge, Loretta Devine, Matt Letscher. Four-disc set with 13 episodes, $39.99. Extras: Featurette on the creation of the show, visual effects featurette, extended pilot episode, bloopers, more. (Disney).

BY ROYAL COMMAND ARTWORK REVEALED (OFFICIALLY)!

BY ROYAL COMMAND ARTWORK REVEALED (OFFICIALLY)!

Wednesday 3rd September sees the publication of By Royal Command, the fifth instalment of the globally popular Young Bond series and the eagerly anticipated unveiling of its cover. In keeping with the royal theme of the novel, the artwork is in striking red, black and silver with an embossed union-jack and regal-red edged pages.

By Royal Command sees James Bond thrown into the midst of a dangerous, spy-ridden plot that threatens to put both King and country at risk. Set between the two World Wars and moving between Eton and the chilling slopes of the Austrian Alps, By Royal Command sees the young James Bond put to the test as never before. Not only are his bravery and loyalty on trial, but the arrival of a pretty, young maid at Eton also teaches him a lesson of the heart.

The Young Bond books have to date sold over three quarters of a million copies in Britain alone and have been translated in to 24 different languages. The series was launched with SilverFin in March 2005 and was followed by Blood Fever, Double or Die and Hurricane Gold.

DESKTOP TITANIC!

DESKTOP TITANIC!

In the wake of my previous post, my darling daughter-in-law (and Titanic – note the capital T – fanatic) tiped me to this delightful addition to your desktop . . .

It’s rocky in the sea of office survival. And statistics show that workers are drowning: 80% are stressed; 77% are completely burned out.

With waves of paperwork and pressure, who wouldn’t want to send distress signals from their desks?

To save a friend – or yourself – with a sympathetic lifesaver, we offer you Desktop Titanic.

With its mini maritime-disaster replica and 32-page book including life-saving tips to stay afloat in the office, life can go on!

FOR FUTHER CLICK HERE

Then there is also the always tasteful Titanic Coloring Book:

Impressive illustrations dramatically portray events leading up to and including the sinking of the "unsinkable" White Star liner. Descriptive captions accompany 29 realistic drawings of the Titanic at dock in Southhampton, England; passengers dining, strolling on deck, and relaxing in the elegant first class lounge; the ship striking the iceberg; more.

FOR FURTHER CLICK HERE


DISASTER DIORAMAS!

DISASTER DIORAMAS!

Ever thought you might like a disaster diorama to spiffy up your cubicle and help alleviate work boredom through a fun activity using common office supplies?

To satisfy your desires Spitefuls presents the first of hopefully many disaster dioramas Perfect for your cubicle, office, or desk… it’s sure to bring lots of hours of conversation and quizzical looks from fellow coworkers. And who doesn’t want quizzical looks from their coworkers?

FOR THE FREE DOWNLOADABLE TEMPLATES CLICK HERE

All your favorite disasters.... now in smaller paper form!

Coming Soon . . . THE ALAMO!

THUGLIT ISSUE #27!

THUGLIT ISSUE #27!

THE NEW ISSUE OF THE HARDBOILED EZINE THUGLIT IS AVAILABLE NOW!

TO CHECK IT OUT CLICK HERE

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

JAZZ BAKERY SPECIAL EVENT!



DON LAFONTAINE, R.I.P.

DON LAFONTAINE, R.I.P.

You may not know the name, but you know his voice. Today we mourn the loss of the man who, for decades, has been the voice of
movie trailers.

Don LaFontaine died yesterday in Los Angeles. He was 68.Thirty years ago, LaFontaine was working as a recording engineer on the promo for Dr. Strangelove, one of the first films to use specialized trailers for promotion. Don found that he had a knack for writing copy and editing music and effects for the spots, and he started specializing in movie trailer work. But his real break came when the announcer he’d hired for the Gunfighters of Casa Grande trailer didn’t show up. Don read the copy himself, just hoping to sell the script and technical effects to Columbia Pictures. To his surprise, they hired him to do the voice work for their promos, which led to other gigs in the industry.

His vocals have been heard on more than 5,000 trailers. He also coined many of the movie trailer clichés that are still commonly used today, such as: “In a world where…” and “Nowhere to run…” and “Now, more than ever…” He’ll be missed.

A tip of the fedora to Mental Floss

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY!

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY!

It’s been a long time since I’ve read an epistolary novel (composed entirely of letters – 84, Charing Cross Road is a well known example), but I have no doubt the delightful Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will become a classic of the genre.

The letters comprising this small charming novel begin in 1946, when single, 30-something author Juliet Ashton (nom de plume Izzy Bickerstaff) writes to her publisher to say she is tired of covering the sunny side of war and its aftermath. When Guernsey farmer Dawsey Adams finds Juliet's name in a used book and invites articulate – and not-so-articulate – neighbors to write Juliet with their stories, the book's epistolary circle widens, putting Juliet back in the path of war stories.

The individually-voiced letters form a whole greater than the sum of their parts – each bringing a different aspect to the story and each moving the novels inner structure along. Juliet herself seems to have stepped out of the pages of one of Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence novels's, her quips are clever, her attitude both brave and yet vulnerable.

This is absolutely one of the most delightful books I've read all year. The characters are real, the relationships are unique, and Juliet is hysterically funny, as well as warm hearted and genuine. The pages fly by as you can’t resist starting the next letter after finishing the one before. And while you will learn a little of what happened to Guernsey during World War 2, you will learn even more about love and friendship. Highly recommended!