Friday, 19 September 2008

Rose McGowan & the heartbreaking old cause

She has a look of the Irish, that Rose McGowan: she'd put me in mind of the girls one would see out on a big Friday night in Belfast or Dublin. She was born in Firenze, though, but her father's an Irishman. This all comes out because of the stew over her remarks about the IRA at a Toronto press conference held for the movie she's in that's adapted from the memoir by the Provo informer Martin McGartland. 'I imagine', said Rose, 'had I grown up in Belfast, I would 100 per cent have been in the IRA. My heart just broke for the cause.' McGartland doesn't sound too happy about the movie in any case, and he's definitely not pleased with Rose now ('Rose McGowan's comments were insulting to victims of IRA terrorism and she should apologise. It's easy to say this sort of thing when you live in LA.' Ouch.) Even the producers of the movie have had to distance themselves from their own talent. Whether the publicity helps or hinders the picture, I don't know: IRA touts are not the most promising commercial subject, and a right old moral thicket from which to try to pull out a genuinely good picture. I haven't read McGartland's book, but there have been some good accounts of informing on the 'Ra (Eamon Collins' Killing Rage) and others that are at least interesting (Sean O'Callaghan's The Informer). Yet they all tell the same essential story: 'My people were being oppressed and so I joined an organisation I considered revolutionary, so as to strike back. But to my horror this organisation also numbered among its members some rather disreputable characters...' It's a good yarn, and it works for people, but it could never be reckoned as the whole truth.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Sean Penn: Hayatı ve Zamanları...

My track-record with foreign-language editions of my books has been hit-and-miss, frankly, but some of the 'hits' give me amusement, such as the fact that there is a Turkish edition of the book I did with Sean Penn out there somewhere, though I've never held a copy of it in my hand. I assume, though, that Hayati is Turkish for 'Life' and Zamanlan stands for 'Times.' I could be wrong, though. When Sperling & Kupfer published the book in Italian they conferred on it the subtitle 'Un cattivo ragazzo', and I know no Italian but my wager is that that little phrase translates as 'A bad boy.' I'm not sure whether Crusaders will get rendered in many other languages (other than Geordie) in my lifetime, but I do believe there's an Indonesian version in the works. Which goes to show that we are the world.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Debt: formerly considered the best thing money could buy

Some naïve part of me has always supposed that when a bank died, the collapse/explosion would be something akin to the death of a star in the cosmos. No such phenomena attended the end of Lehman Brothers, though glancing across the covers of today’s papers (in some surprise, having seen/heard no news bulletins for 48 hours), I saw a lot of well-groomed and utterly gutted young professionals consoling one another after hasty clearings of desks.
What did Lehman reckon were its odds that Secretary Paulson would bail them out instead of ruling it were a better thing that the bank fell? That would be an interesting set of figures.
Meantime I have now caught up with the reportage and analysis, some of which is to the effect that Lehmann’s demise is a testament to functional capitalism and the survival of the fittest. This time, maybe. I won’t be celebrating, not least because for umpteen reasons I couldn’t be neutral about the state's efforts to keep Northern Rock afloat last year.
I suppose one silver lining is that, for a while at least, investment banking should now be seen as a career option roughly as hare-brained as putting your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington.

Monday, 15 September 2008

October Esquire on sale now.

Per yesterday's remarks: I know it's out there now, and I commend it to you warmly. I know it contains my piece on Jar City and also a serial extract from a book I oversaw editorially at Faber and Faber, which is a memoir by the movie producer Michael Deeley entitled Blade Runners, Deer Hunters & Blowing the Bloody Doors Off. I'll maybe say more when I've got my copy and paddled through it.

Mike Ashley's literary leavings

Kevin Keegan has never been considered a wordsmith, though I hear his autobiography is a decent read, and he may even have written some of it. But KK certainly is, as everyone knows, a highly effusive speaker. I'm not thinking of the 'I'd love it' outburst so much as his coming to the steps of St James's after he'd sold Andy Cole to Man U, just to tell the gathering of vexed fans what his logic had been.
Conversely, Mike Ashley, the hoping-to-be-soon-ex-owner of Newcastle United, is not a man to speak his mind before a microphone or indeed on any public stage, but he and his cronies clearly love to write and circulate statements, screeds and rebuttals. Ashley put out a big fat one under his own name on Sunday night, just so that everyone understood he was looking to sell the club and that he and his money were feeling sorely unappreciated by all those Geordie tossers. In fairness, Martin Syed at the Times has taken Ashley's side on this one. So much for fairness.
The only point I feel is worth lingering over (beyond Ashley's refusal to address the fact that he either lied to Keegan about transfer policy or else reneged on a major pledge) is Ashley's bleat that he can't take his kids to SJP anymore, on police advice. I can't do better than the riposte of True Faith on this score: "Please. If he wants to go to the match – go in the bloody director’s box like every other football club owner, put on a proper shirt, blazer and a decent pair of strides and act your age."

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Jar City now in cinemas; very good

A writer friend of mine ran into my wife at a party last week and told her I was 'on the poster' for Jar City, Baltasar Kormákur's Icelandic policier that has just been released into UK cinemas. (It's a couple of years old in its country of origin, where it's known as Myrin.) 'On the poster' in the sense that some line or other from my positive write-up of the movie for the October issue of Esquire has been pulled out and used for promotional purposes. I haven't seen the October Esquire yet. Have you? Nor have I seen any Jar City posters plastered around London yet, as opposed to those for Tropic Thunder, say, or Guy Ritchie's new one. But I hope the rumour is true. One likes to be of service when service has been freely given.