Thursday, 3 July 2008

Alex Cox @ The Barbican, Friday July 4

Alex Cox's work is screening in a partial but essential retrospective at the Barbican this month, to tie in with the publication of his excellent new book X Films from I.B. Tauris, and I will be chairing a Barbican Q&A session with Senor Cox this coming Friday night July 4, 8.30pm. Do get along if you can.
Some of the flavour of the book can be gleaned from Cox's provocative blog: it's not a memoir so much as a highly detailed, hugely compelling tour through the making of each of the items in his body of work - beginning with his graduation project at UCLA, through Repo Man, Sid and Nancy, Walker et al, up to the current Searchers 2.0. As such it is a workbook for any would-be cineaste of the independent stripe, and a vital contribution to film history, insofar as it records with honesty and exactitude what were the creative decisions behind some bold and unclassifiable films made by a huge talent.
I'm really looking forward to this event, and hope there'll be a lively cinephile crowd, as befits the man and the occasion. If I can dig them out of whatever box they're currently in I will take along my shabby shop-bought VHS of Repo Man and my cassette (cassette!) of the movie's awesome soundtrack, as talismans, if you will. You will recall that repo men, unlike the rest of us in general, spend their lives getting into tense situations (esp. while getting cars out of "bad areas") and we should all try to do likewise now and then...

Monday, 30 June 2008

Daren King, and Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads

I'm very pleased to share literary representation (that's Tibor Jones & Associates) with Daren King, whose fiction, from Boxy an Star to Jim Giraffe to the recent Manual, has been delighting and defying classification among readers of taste for most of the last ten years. And I'm fairly pleased to have got my boat-race onto the picture section of Daren's website by way of the shot herewith of myself and the editor whom Daren and I also share, the famous Lee Brackstone of Faber and Faber. The main reason for a smile is that I remember the particular Night In The Pub when the photo was taken - it was the Princess Louise on High Holborn, always a canny boozer but recently remodelled to an even higher standard. And it was, of course, just a night in the pub, not a photo session. The ales will have been Samuel Smith's, since that's what you get in a Samuel Smith's pub. Lee has a look - does he not? - of a man just beginning the evening, one that will surely see him progress from the arm down to the chair itself. As for me, what about the state of that bloody cardigan?

10 Bad Dates: Salon Critics Pick

A nice write-up here (scroll down some) from Louis Bayard in Salon, which I used to read very regularly but seem to have spent less time with in recent years, the more fool me. "It's been a long time", the man says, "since I've come across a set of lists quite so piquant and entertaining as Ten Bad Dates With De Niro." That was the intention, sir, glad to be of service.
I'm in good company among the Critics Picks in question, since there's also citation of Anthony Mann's Man of the West on DVD, and the new documentary about Roman Polanski's rape conviction, an affair from which the shadows seem at last to have properly receded.