Thursday 29 November 2012

Last night's set list

At The Habit, York: -

The Elderly Brothers: -

The Price Of Love
Crying In The Rain
Hello Mary Lou
Bye Bye Love

A bizzare evening where the audience fluctuated between packed and empty several times. It was perishing cold outside mind. The set was warmly received so we're looking forward to the gig on the 9th December - be there or miss out.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Monday 26 November 2012

Recalculating 2

They said it couldn't be done!

Recalculating by Paul Muldoon

Arthritis is to psoriasis as Portugal is to Brazil.
Brazil is to wood as war club is to war.
War is to wealth as performance is to appraisal.
Appraisal is to destiny as urn is to ear.

Ear is to grasshopper as China is to DDT.
Tea is to leaf as journalist is to source.
Source is to leak as Ireland is to debt.
Debt is to honor as arthritis is to psoriasis.

Wait. Isn't arthritis to psoriasis as Brazil is to Portugal?
Portugal is to fado as Boaz is to Ruth.
Ruth is to cornfield as wave is to particle.

Particle is to beach as pebble is to real estate.
Realty is to reality as sky is to earth.
Earth is to all ye know as done is to dusted.

From Songs and Sonnets by Paul Muldoon, published by Enitharmon Press (£9.99)

Saturday 24 November 2012

Men of the Tyne Winter 2013 mini-tour

Larry Hagman RIP

Dallas Actor Larry Hagman dies aged 81
Actor Larry Hagman, who played the villain JR Ewing in the long running television soap Dallas, has died at the age of 81.

24 November 2012

The actor played the role of JR for more than a decade and was at the centre of one of the most famous cliffhangers in television history when the character was shot in the third season.

Hagman, who had suffered from cancer and liver disease, died in hospital in Dallas, Texas. He had recently reprised his most famous role in a new series of Dallas broadcast earlier this year.

"Larry was back in his beloved Dallas re-enacting the iconic role he loved most," his family said in a statement to the Dallas Morning News.

"Larry's family and close friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday. When he passed, he was surrounded by loved ones. It was a peaceful passing, just as he had wished for. The family requests privacy at this time."

Linda Gray, a long-time friend who starred alongside Hagman in Dallas as his on screen wife Sue Ellen Ewing, was by the actors bedside when he died.

She described him as her "best friend for 35 years", according to her agent.

In a statement to the BBC, her agent said: "He was the Pied Piper of life and brought joy to everyone he knew. He was creative, generous, funny, loving and talented and I will miss him enormously."He was an original and lived life to the full."

Hagman was born in Fort Worth, Texas on September 21 1931, the son of actress Mary Martin and lawyer Ben Hagman, a biography on his official website said.

While in England with the US Air Force he met and married his wife of almost 60 years, Swedish designer Maj Axelsson. The couple later had two children.

He became a star in 1965 in the TV comedy series I Dream of Jeannie, in which he played an astronaut haunted by the beautiful blonde genie, played by Barbara Eden.

But it was in 1977 when he landed the role of merciless oil magnate JR Ewing, the character at the centre of the show Dallas, that his worldwide fame was cemented.

The series ran for 13 seasons and on November 21, 1980 more than 350 million people tuned in to find out "who shot JR".

Hagman refused to be defined by his most enduring role, acting in films such as Nixon and Primary Colors.
But he also had health problems. In 1992 he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and three years later he had a liver transplant.

In October last year he discovered a tumour on his tongue and was diagnosed with cancer, and underwent six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation before it went into remission in March.

Earlier this year he appeared in a new 10-episode series of Dallas, broadcast in thge UK on Channel 5 and on TNT in the USA, with a second series in production and due to run next year.

See also:

Thursday 22 November 2012

No advertising??

Last night's set list

At The Habit, York: -

The Elderly Brothers: -

All I Have To Do Is Dream
To Know You Is To Love You
Handle With Care

Another night of musical fun, the highlight of which was  a dog sitting by his master listening attentively to the guy's songs - you just couldn't make it up - magic!

And now a blatant plug for an Elderly Brothers gig at The Habit on the evening of Sunday 9th December 2012 - be there or miss out!

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Join us in prayer...

The next few games may decide our season...

Monday 19 November 2012

British Crime Film by Barry Forshaw

British Crime Film by Barry Forshaw – review

PD Smith
6 November 2012

In this scholarly but lively survey of British crime films from the 1940s to the present day, Forshaw tracks down the ways in which the genre has offered "keen insights into the society of the day". Films such as Robert Hamer's It Always Rains on Sunday (1947) present an "unvarnished picture of crime and lives lived in quiet desperation", while the more recent Kidulthood (2005) by Noel Clarke shows that "alienated, disenfranchised youth" remains as central to the genre as in the 50s. From police corruption, dealt with in David Greene's The Strange Affair (1968), to paedophilia – the subject of Cyril Frankel's Never Take Sweets from a Stranger (1960) – crime films have consistently tackled subjects that mainstream film-makers have avoided: it is, argues Forshaw, "the cinema of the unacceptable". He considers class divisions, sexual taboos, censorship, corporate crime and violence, as well as the "grimly urban" settings of many of the films, such as Newcastle in Get Carter (1971). He proves himself to be an expert guide.

Barry Forshaw talks about British Crime Film: Something to be Proud Of

Today’s guest blogger is from crime fiction critic Barry Forshaw. A former Vice-Chair of the Crime Writer’s Association Barry is a writer and journalist whose books include British Crime Writing: An Encyclopaedia and The Rough Guide to Crime Fiction. He is also the editor of the crime fiction website Crime Time. His latest book is British Crime Film: Subverting the Social Order – a comprehensive social history of British crime film.

The British (or, perhaps, the English) have a problem with being proud of things these days. It may be a legacy of the less admirable aspects of Empire, but while other nations allow their chests to swell with patriotic pride (look at the Scots; for instance), the English have a more ambiguous attitude when it comes to celebrating their own achievements. The recent, much-trumpeted opening ceremony for the Olympics featured extensive sections of rap (British, perhaps – although it might be argued that it’s a quintessentially American phenomenon), but the one short burst of Elgar was virtually the only acknowledgement of the prestigious musical tradition in this country, and there wasn't even any real faith invested in the second Elgarian Olympic moment at the closing ceremony, interrupted within seconds of it starting by Timothy Spall's hectoring, pantomime impersonation of Winston Churchill.

Nevertheless, when it comes to self-deprecation – why, we’re bloody good at that. Moreover, perhaps we have reason to be; there was much national soul-searching over the recent decimation of Army ranks (widely felt to be a dumping on the scrapheap of men who had dedicated their lives to the service of their country) which was widely covered. And this strange conflict between British pride and shame had me thinking of one thing we can be proud of: the long, impressive legacy of crime movies made in this country. What's more, one of the most famous, The League of Gentlemen, had as a crucial part of its narrative Army men who felt they had been thrown on the scrapheap (and turn to crime). Topical, eh? And writing British Crime Film, I was reminded – again and again – how often this branch of popular cinema had its finger on the pulse of many key notions of Britishness (and even Englishness).

In many ways, the modest critical standing of much British crime cinema has afforded it a rich seam of possibilities. Genre cinema was for many years treated with critical disdain (consolidated by the fact that audiences – while enjoying it – regarded the field as nothing more than entertainment).

From Robbery to Get Carter
Throughout its long and colourful history, British crime cinema has encountered a series of problems peculiar to the genre. While the subject of the heist or ambitious robbery (in films such as Quentin Lawrence’s Cash on Demand (1961) or Peter Yates’ version of the Great Train Robbery, Robbery (1967)) has been relatively unproblematic, there are certain areas that proved to be incendiary when the films were examined by the British Board of Film Censors (the name of the organisation was changed in a piece of Orwellian rewriting to the British Board of Film Classification – appropriately, in 1984); and it’s not hard to discern the reasons for the fuss. In the 1960s, the BBFC made little secret of the fact that it regarded its role as maintaining the rigid status quo of society as much as protecting the vulnerable, biddable public from sights that would cause offence or (worse still) inspire imitative behaviour. The 1961 Joseph Losey film The Damned featured scenes of gang violence in the original screenplay submitted to the Board, and inspired a strikingly nannyish response. The earlier Brighton Rock (1947) had caused a similar fuss. As so often in the history of British film censorship from the 1940s onwards, it is the ‘dangerous influence’ of popular cinema that was seen to be as threatening as any graphic violence or sexuality (although the latter elements in crime films were firmly fixed in the popular imagination as depicting more explicit erotic activity and female nudity than more mainstream product). Ironically, though, the most iconic of modern British gangster films, Mike Hodges’ Get Carter (1971), casts a notably cold eye on its ruthless protagonist, however charismatically he is played by Michael Caine. There was an ideological distance between British filmmakers and their criminal subjects – these films did not deal in hero-worship, despite the compelling energy of their protagonists.

Class and sex
Studying the British crime film from the mid-1940s to the present offers a microcosm of the events that shaped the nation, from the election of the post-war Labour government through the subsequent shift from middle-class drawing-room drama to the new dominance of northern-based realist drama. There was a changing view of class and a freeing-up of previously rigid sexual attitudes. However, most significant was the new, more jaundiced take on the certainties of the establishment (the government, the legal profession or the hidebound moralism of the press). And the often-iconoclastic impulses of the crime film could be read as a commentary on the shifting sands of moral viewpoints.

Subversive? Perhaps. Finally, though, this is an imposing parade of truly impressive films that we in Britain can point to with pride. Writing British Crime Film was my attempt to celebrate this striking legacy. A legacy that is, thankfully, alive and kicking.

British Crime Film by Barry Forshaw is published by Palgrave Macmillan and is officially published on Monday 3 September 2012.

Sunday 18 November 2012

M. R. James' Mr Humphrey's and his Inheritance...

One of the few existent ITV adapations of one of James's works, this was made for Yorkshire Television's schools' music programme, Music Scene, in 1976. It's currently available as an 'extra' on the DVD of Casting the Runes*, a disappointing 1979 adaptation of James' story for ITV, directed by Lawrrence Gordon Clark, who was responsible for the BBC's excellent Ghost Stories for Christmas in the 1970s.  Mr Humphreys and his Inheritance has the visual feel of the BBC works, but its prime aim was to demonstrate the use of non-diegetic music on screen, something those BBC stories used in minimalist but much more effective fashion. The atmospheric tension and the central performances also fall short of those BBC programmes and it would seem this version posted on Youtube has been cut as the running time is usually given as 20 minutes; nevertheless, it's an interesting adaptation of one of James' lesser tales.

 The full text of the story is here, if you're too cheap to buy one of the many James' collections readily available:

For those who want to dig deeper, an analysis of the story can be found here:

* The infinitely better film version, Night of the Demon (1957) is discussed here:

Saturday 17 November 2012

Donald Fagen on Letterman...

And here's a couple of earlier appearances on Letterman:

Friday 16 November 2012

Paul Buchanan and The Blue Nile - the early years revisited...

Back to the source of The Blue Nile

Thursday 15 November 2012

Be Careful There's Baby In The House...

Last night's set list

At The Habit, York (with Ron): -

You Are My Sunshine
Handle With Care*
Let It Be Me
Love Hurts
You Got It

Some amazing music  last night in The Habit. Just an eclectic mix of styles - too good really.

* dedicated to Jack Alexander Gordon - and rightly so, what a guy!