Friday 31 December 2010

Dylan and his dog

10 best UK sitcoms/comedy shows ever. Maybe.

1. Steptoe and Son
2. I'm Alan Patridge
3. Ever Decreasing Circles
4. Fawlty Towers
5. Dad's Army
6. The Good Life
7. Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?
8. One Foot in the Grave
9. The Trip
10.Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em

Wednesday 29 December 2010

Ollie in Oz

Dorothy Dwan as Dorothy, Larry Semon as the Scarecrow and Oliver N. Hardy (before he teamed up with Stan Laurel) as the Tin Woodsman in the 1925 version of The Wizard of Oz.

Stan Laurel's Glasgow

A Christmas treat for BBC Radio Scotland listeners as Taggart star Alex Norton takes us on a tour of 1900's Glasgow as seen through the eyes of comic legend Stan Laurel. A city he loved, Glasgow played a pivotal role in his rise to stardom. He would leave an unknown and return one of the most loved stars on the planet.

Hear it on BBC iPlayer:

Italian Noir

Barbara Baraldi

Documentary which profiles a new wave of Italian crime fiction that has emerged to challenge the conventions of the detective novel. There are no happy endings in these noir tales, only revelations about Italy's dark heart - a world of corruption, unsolved murders and the mafia.

The programme features exclusive interviews with the leading writers from this new wave of noir, including Andrea Camilleri (creator of the Inspector Montablano Mysteries) and Giancarlo De Cataldo (Romanzo Criminale), who explains how his work as a real-life investigating judge inspired his work. From the other side of the law, Massimo Carlotto talks about how his novels were shaped by his wrongful conviction for murder and years spent on the run from the police.

The film also looks at the roots of this new wave. Carlo Emilio Gadda (That Awful Mess) used the detective novel to expose the corruption that existed during Mussolini's fascist regime and then, after the Second World War, Leonardo Sciascia's crime novels (The Day of The Owl) tackled the rise of the Sicilian mafia. These writers established the rules of a new kind of noir that drew on real events and offered no neat endings.

Also featuring Italian writers Carlo Lucarelli and Barbara Baraldi, the film uses rarely seen archive from Italian television.

Contains interviews with (as does the documentary on Nordic Noir crime fiction expert and Jack Kirby fan extraordinaire, the inestimable Barry Forshaw.

Available on BBC iPlayer until 2 January:

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Twenty Best Horror Films Ever Made...

... in no particular order

1. Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (1922)
2. The Haunting (1963)
3. Night of the Demon (1957)
4. Cat People (1942)
5. The Changeling (1980)
6. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
7. Jaws (1975)
8. The Uninvited (1944)
9. Psycho (1960)
10. The Innocents (1961)
11. Dead of Night (1945)
12. The Fog (1980)
13. The Devil Rides Out (1968)
14. The Horror of Dracula (1958)
15. The Queen of Spades (1949)
16. The Wicker Man (1973)
17. The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)(though I swing between this and The Masque of Red Death)
18. The Seventh Victim (1943)
19. Alien (1979)
20. The Devil's Backbone (2001)


Brief Encounter

Best British/American films ever made.

1 Ace in the Hole (1950)
2 Casablanca (1942)
3 Random Harvest (1942)
4 Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)
5 Singin' in the Rain (1952)
6 It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
7 Brief Encounter (1945)
8 The Thirty Nine Steps (1937)
9 The Way to the Stars (1945)
10 All That Heaven Allows (1955)

Sunday 26 December 2010

Ron Sexsmith: Lebanon, Tennessee - from Love Shines

Love Shines rocked the 2010 Vancouver International Film Festival with sold out shows, extra screenings and warm critical reception. Exploring the elusiveness of fame and the nuances of the creative process, Love Shines is a must see for all music fans.

“Sexsmith, who reflects on his music and career with wry self-deprecation, wins us over with a candid mix of vulnerability and charm.”

“Canada, we have something to be proud of in this extraordinary man.”
-The Vancouver Observer

For more information on the film please visit the official Love Shines Facebook page.

New Year: New Ron Sexsmith

The title of Ron's long-awaited new album will be Long Player Late Bloomer. The album will be out in North America on Tuesday, March 1, 2011, and in the UK and throughout Europe on Monday, February 28, 2011.

Produced by Bob Rock (Metallica, Bon Jovi and Michael Bublé), Long Player Late Bloomer was recorded in Los Angeles, Toronto and Vancouver during the first few months of 2010. The album features a star-studded cast of musicians backing up Ron in the studio, including guitarist Rusty Anderson (Paul McCartney), bassist Paul Bushnell (Elton John, No Doubt), keyboardist Jamie Edwards (Aimee Mann) and drummer Josh Freese (Devo, Nine Inch Nails).

Ron fans can get their first taste of the album on where "Love Shines" is streaming on the audio player, so go check it out. The track will also be available for sale on November 9 through iTunes Canada and in other territories to be announced soon.

"Love Shines", from Ron's forthcoming release Long Player Late Bloomer, is the title track from the documentary on the making of the album, produced by Bob Rock.

Ron is planning an extensive tour of North America and Europe in the spring of 2011. Stay tuned for more details on that in the coming months.

Saturday 25 December 2010

Friday 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

And if you can't be good: be careful!

Morning At Last: There In The Snow

Morning at last: there in the snow
Your small blunt footprints come and go.
Night has left no more to show,

Not the candle, the half-drunk wine,
Or touching joy; only this sign
Of your life walking into mine.

But when they vanish with the rain
What morning woke to will remain
Whether as happiness or pain.


Winter Trees

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.


To Winter

O Winter! bar thine adamantine doors:
The north is thine; there hast thou built thy dark
Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs,
Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.'
He hears me not, but o'er the yawning deep
Rides heavy; his storms are unchain'd, sheathиd
In ribbиd steel; I dare not lift mine eyes,
For he hath rear'd his sceptre o'er the world.

Lo! now the direful monster, whose 1000 skin clings
To his strong bones, strides o'er the groaning rocks:
He withers all in silence, and in his hand
Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.

He takes his seat upon the cliffs,--the mariner
Cries in vain. Poor little wretch, that deal'st
With storms!--till heaven smiles, and the monster
Is driv'n yelling to his caves beneath mount Hecla.




Nordic Noir

Draw the curtains and dim the lights for a chilling trip north for a documentary which investigates the success of Scandinavian crime fiction and why it exerts such a powerful hold on our imagination.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a literary blockbuster that has introduced millions of readers to the phenomenon that is Scandinavian crime fiction - yet author Stieg Larsson spent his life in the shadows and didn't live to see any of his books published. It is one of the many mysteries the programme investigates as it travels to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland in search of the genre's most acclaimed writers and memorable characters.

It also looks at Henning Mankell's brooding Wallander series, with actor Krister Henriksson describing the challenge of bringing the character to the screen, and it asks why so many stories have a political subtext. The programme finds out how Stieg Larsson based the bestselling Millennium trilogy on his work as an investigative journalist and reveals the unlikely source of inspiration for his most striking character, Lisbeth Salander.

There are also segments on Jo Nesbo, the Norwegian rock star-turned-writer tipped to inherit Larsson's mantle, and Karin Fossum, an author whose personal experience of murder has had a profound effect on her writing.

Ten days to watch on iPlayer:

Thursday 23 December 2010

One for Da...

Blonde on Bobs Xmas Bash 2010: Nothin But Dylan.

When:28 Dec 2010 20:00 - 23:00 One day only. Where:The Black Swan, Peasholme Green, York YO1 7PR. Tel:01904 610899 Price:£8

Lou Beach

Go immediately to



Last night's set list

At The Habit, York: -

Love Song
Is It Only The Moonlight?
The Needle And The Damage Done
Long May You Run
Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Human Highway
I Don't Want To Talk About It

A weird night. Early on the front tables were occupied by what the host described as a bunch of stupid c**ts and I would have to agree. They talked so loud and kept knocking the mike when people were playing. When they left it was fine and a splendid time was had by all.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

The Beach Boys and Brando, 1967

Unfortunately, sound and vision are a little out of sync. Stick with the pretty standard rendition of the awful Barbara Ann for a great God Only Knows and an even better O Come All Ye Faithful - and Brando.