Thursday, 10 July 2008

Crusaders in paperback / audio interview & readings online

I could be wrong, but I think the 'mass-market' B-format paperback edition of Crusaders is published into shops on July 31 2008. Forgive me if one more time I plough through the press cuttings. You only get to pitch your first novel once, or - in this case, allowing for the 'second-bite' principle of the mass-market edition - twice. So, what they said was:
‘A magnificent state-of-the-nation epic.’ Financial Times
‘A powerful, assured literary debut that will create loyal congregations of devoted followers.’ Independent on Sunday
'The most impressive, most important literary debut in yonks ... Dostoyevskian in scale and ambition… gets to the cantankerous heart of modern Britain.' Tatler
‘A terrific debut: an intelligent state-of-the-nation epic.’ Mail on Sunday
`An almost Tolstoyan seriousness of purpose... a weighty achievement in every sense.’ Guardian
'A refreshingly ambitious and strikingly accomplished first novel' Independent
‘In Crusaders, the north-east has found a new champion.’ New Statesman
‘A bold novel, one well worth quarrelling with.’ Times Literary Supplement
‘Its narrative force and the drive of its characters (even the bit parts), so sharply realised as to be utterly engrossing.’ Scotland on Sunday
‘A very good novel. And it is radical too.’ Glasgow Herald
‘A big, generous fiction debut that resurrects a whole tradition of British writing - the state-of-the-nation’s-morals set piece, more familiar from Victorian literature - and breathes new life into it... A novelist to watch.’ Sunday Times
‘Ambitious, truthful, perceptive and heart-breaking... It has sat well alongside The Brothers Karamazov on my bedside table... I admired this novel more than I can say for tackling some big, important, impossibly complex issues boldly and full-on... It is a book with a heart and a soul and courage and conviction and I commend it to you.’ Susan Hill
Crusaders' dedicated page on the Faber website is here. I'm also most grateful for the presence on the Faber site of some very extensive MP3 files related to Crusaders. Here is a long-ish interview between myself and George Miller about the writing and the themes and true-life context of the novel. And then there are four short-ish readings from the novel, by myself. Here is a bit from the early chapter describing Reverend Gore's return to Newcastle by train in September 1996. Here is a bit from one of the 'flashback' chapters: 'Big Steve' Coulson, in the summer of 1988, struggling with unplanned parenthood and a new threat to his authority as Newcastle's number-one doorman and tough nut. Here is an extract from Gore's first fractious audience with Dr Martin Pallister MP, at Pallister's flashy Newcastle office. And here is something from one of the many lovers' spats between Gore and Lindy Clark.

New Sight & Sound on sale. Includes Sean Penn.

As discussed previously, Sean Penn's account of his jury presidency at Cannes back in May, "as told to" me, appears in the new Sight & Sound now at newsagents near you. 'President Alpha Dog' is the headline they sportingly plumped for.
The expression 'alpha dog' is one I first heard from Penn's lips, applied to the redoubtable director Bob Rafelson, who didn't work in pictures for a few years after an altercation of some sort on the set of Brubaker. Nick Cassavetes, son of John, with whom Sean worked on She's So Lovely, went on to make a picture called Alpha Dog, released in 2006. (In my brief experience of him Cassavetes too would qualify for the Alpha Dog label, as would a lot of the guys who work with him.) But if I remember rightly from some time spent wandering round Marin County where Penn resides, in one picturesque little hamlet there is also some kind of prestige salon/boutique for canines called... you guessed it. So who can rightly say where it all began?
The picture herewith includes Catherine Deneuve, who is definitely not an alpha dog, more of an exquisite cat, maybe a little more zaftig these days but still setting the aesthetic standards in multiple categories. As Penn told me in respect of the special palme she was awarded, like that also bestowed on Clint Eastwood, "we all benefit from the endurance and quality of those two peoples’ contribution to film."

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

New Esquire on sale II

Just for the sake of form, or in the name of promotion, here's the cover of aforementioned August Esquire.

Monday, 7 July 2008

New Esquire (UK) magazine now on sale. Includes good writing.

The August issue of Esquire is now out on the stands, and I am privileged and enthused to say that it includes my first contribution as the magazine's new regular monthly film columnist. The piece in question is a joint review of two newly released documentaries taking as their subject the Coalition invasion and occupation of Iraq - these being Heavy Metal in Baghdad and Standard Operating Procedure. Among the cultural references dropped clunkily therein are the luminous names of Keith Moon, Pablo Neruda, and Seymour Hersh. And midway I make gratuitous reference to my IFC/Channel 4 documentary (I say 'my' because I wrote and presented, but actually Saul Metzstein directed, and very well) The Name of This Film is Dogme 95. (Online I can't see any of the fine reviews this doc received after its UK broadcast premiere, but here's a nice notice from Chicago's Ray Pride.)
Back to the August Esquire: which of the two Iraq pictures under review did I prefer? Guess... Either way - and, frankly, regardless - it will be worth your while picking up Esquire this month.