Friday, 10 October 2008

Crusaders review on Bookgeeks

There's a very thoughtful Crusaders notice just gone up on the Bookgeeks site, written by Simon Appleby, with a lot of attention paid to some of the internal parallels of character and theme and situation and whatnot. He goes on to say, "Crusaders is a very well-written, tightly-plotted and above all character-driven novel, and Kelly puts his fascination with film to good use with some very cinematic scenes, while the phonetically-rendered Geordie dialogue quickly becomes second nature for the reader... I did not know what to expect from Crusaders - but having finished it, I am kicking myself for not having read it eight months ago." That's great, and I hope a good few other potential readers who were resistant to a £14.99 Royal format paperback back in January might feel themselves drawn to the svelte £8.99 B format now in stores...

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Roman Polanski - Wanted and Desired: BBC4 Monday Oct 13th, 10pm

I'm pleased to see the much-admired Polanski doc airs on BBC4's Storyville strand next Monday. The blurb goes likes so: "Thirty years ago, Roman Polanski was convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. After serving 42 days in prison, he fled the US and has never returned. Roman Polanski - Wanted and Desired reopens this complex and controversial case and explores what happens when one of the world's most famous directors gets trapped inside one of his own movies."
I just now re-read the chapter of Polanski's memoir Roman wherein he revisits the sexual episode with the young girl during a Vogue Hommes photo-shoot; his subsequent arrest, to his apparent surprise; those 42 scary days he spent in Chino jail on the orders of the curious Californian Judge Rittenband; and his flight to London and then Paris once he realised that further and protracted punishment might be in store.
So I'm curious to see how the doc tells this tale. I'm aware Rittenband is a controversial figure; also that the girl, now a woman, who has forgiven Polanski, is nonetheless considered a victim of a grave assault by those who have studied the police reports.
The only thing that bugs me about that blurb above is the stuff about Polanski 'getting trapped inside one of his movies', which piles into an especially high load of old media horseshit about Polanski. They first said that in 1969, after Charles Manson's ratbag hippie acolytes murdered Polanski's pregnant wife, and why? Because he'd made Rosemary's Baby. It's slovenly journalism that exhibits a strange and sudden newsman's piety toward the supernatural. Does it work in reverse too? Is Polanski 'trapped' inside The Pianist since the Nazis murdered his mother in a concentration camp?
Anyhow, we shall watch and see...

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Money: formerly the best thing money could buy

I had to go straight to Reuters this morning just to feel as goddamn low as possible, in this case with some coverage of the IMF’s latest grim World Economic Outlook. The facts, as bald as we know 'em to be - ‘the world economy is now entering a major downturn in the face of the most dangerous shock in mature financial markets since the 1930s.’ The IMF confirm that Europe and the US are in a special pit of hell, but China and India, if looking at slower growth, will be ‘supported by solid private consumption.’ Lucky them. But we’ll be tightening our belts round this household, no bloody fear.
Still, I couldn’t quite resist checking in on Hamish McRae at the Independent, since he was offering the headline ‘Amid all the panic, there is some good news.’ And to his mind the good news can be summarised thus:
- ‘The Bank of England can and will cut interest rates, which will make things easier for borrowers and for the commercial banks themselves.’ (A prediction Gordon Brown had the pleasure of confirming as reality around lunchtime.)
- ‘the vast majority of British people will be able to go on servicing their mortgages… the home loans the banks swap for cash at the Bank of England will not involve any loss to the Bank or ultimately the taxpayer.’ (I like this faith in the Good Old Vast Majority of British people currently renting their homes from the banks...)
- 'There is virtually no theoretical limit to the amount of money a central bank can create… The big point here is that the modern state has enormous financial power. Providing confidence in its own competence is maintained it can borrow on an almost unthinkably large scale.’ (If this is good news then I'd rather get back into my little pit of hell and wait for the burning to stop. Still, confidence of all kinds is what we're after right now.)