Friday, 13 May 2022

Strange New Worlds: At last the real Star Trek is back

 


Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, the latest series in the long running franchise is seriously refreshing after all the angsty, boring  star trudges of recent years. 

It's arguably closer to the original series than any other version of the show, and does away with the season long arcs that were getting tiresome in favour of episodic storytelling and genuine chemistry between the cast members.


Beam me up.....

Friday, 25 February 2022

Ode to my dram

 I've always liked a dram of whisky - or whiskey since I often stray from the Scotch variety - but over these last few years I've gotten into the drink in a big way. That is I've stopped just drinking the stuff, though I do a fair bit of that, and started to evaluate what it is that makes that golden liquid in the glass so alluring. Drinking whisky/whiskey is more than the simple act of glass to mouth and swallow; it is a journey across fragrant pastures, through fields of corn and grain, into oaky casky caverns, charred walls of grapey residue. A red nosed Tomb Raider, exploring, seeking, longing sustenance - that orgasmic water of life.  Time ages perfection! It is the feel of fresh rain, of golden sun and brisk breath-taking winds.



A drink like no other - there's history in each and every drop, lives lived, deaths died, lies told and scolds sighed. It is more than than that , so much more...that precious treacly gold which I imbibe.


Here's to you all.


Thursday, 16 December 2021

THE REAL BOND IS BACK

 Details of Anthony Horowitz’s third official James Bond novel, With a Mind to Kill, have been revealed ahead of publication in May 2022. 

The third Bond book by Horowitz, a novelist and screenwriter, is part of a deal between Jonathan Cape, Vintage and Ian Fleming Publications. It will be published on 26th May.

With a Mind to Kill opens with M’s funeral,” the blurb reads. "One man is missing from the graveside: the traitor who pulled the trigger and who is now in custody, accused of M’s murder — James Bond. Behind the Iron Curtain, a group of former SMERSH agents want to use the British spy in an operation that will change the balance of world power. Bond is smuggled into the lion’s den — but whose orders is he following, and will he obey them when the moment of truth arrives?

“In a mission where treachery is all around and one false move means death, Bond must grapple with the darkest questions about himself. But not even he knows what has happened to the man he used to be.”

The cover has an explosive image of smashed glass resembling an eye, and was created by in-house Vintage designer Kris Potter.

Horowitz is the only author in recent years to have been invited by Ian Fleming Publications to write successive, official James Bond novels. The collaboration began in 2015 with Trigger Mortis (Orion), followed by Forever and a Day in 2018 (Vintage). He followed in the footsteps of William Boyd’s Solo (Vintage) in 2013, the American thriller writer Jeffery Deaver, with Carte Blanche (Hodder) in 2011, and Sebastian Faulks, whose Devil May Care (Penguin) was published to mark Ian Fleming’s centenary in 2008.   


Sunday, 5 December 2021

Get Back and Re-evaluate Paul McCartney


People are taking different things from Peter Jackson's edit of the Beatles  Twickers sessions, entitled Get Back that recently aired over eight plus hours on Disney +. But for me (I'll start a sentence how I fucking want to. That's rock 'n' roll) , a lifelong Beatle (there's nothing better) fan the vibe, the message, the word I get is that it's time to re-evaluate Paul McCartney.

 Of course Jackson's edit is not 100% truthful - the pressure is just too much and Yoko is presented as less than the annoying fucker she likely really was. If you watch the original Beatles Let it Be movie and then  Jackson's latest mammoth edit then the truth about the Yoko (remember she firmly holds the reign of the John Lennon brand)  is probably somewhere in-between. If you think she sat around knitting and on occasions uttered a series of unmelodic yowls, the sound of pain and anguish, then you're just a little bit fucked up. No doubt, the victim of reality TV and the dumbing down of the brain cells that fire, spark, and evaluate in the viewer. You can only watch so much consuming of kangaroo anus and bonding sessions between false fuckers, before you're critical facilities are as fucked up as the average Jeremy Kyle viewer.

All you need is love, baby!


After all this time (it was more than fifty years ago today! That's half a fucking century) nothing could be really truthful and all that gold tinged celluloid can be made to tell any story that is required, meet whatever agenda is needed to keep everyone happy. Fuck that though - it's time for some peace in the neighbourhood. Yoko bashing is no longer necessary, Lennon myth-making has run its course, and now it is time to look at the Beatles as they were - that is what made up the Beatles.

There is no doubt that Beatles were four hearts combined - the Ringoist, the Lennonesque, the Harritualist and the Maccamelodist that made the band greater than its parts. None of these quarter parts would ever equal the wonder, the sheer magic of the whole but the truth must be spoken and it is McCartney, that dude who looks more and more like Murder She Wrote with each passing year who was the heart of the latter period Beatles and since that heart stopped Beating it is the Macca who has continued to push the boundaries of what popular music can be.

One day the Press to Play album will be considered a fucking epic masterpiece because it  fucking is, even if Press is a shit song.

Watching Macca pull the song Get Back from thin air in the Jackson edit has drawn loads of comments - magic, wonderous, brilliantoid - but this is what songwriters do and McCartney is arguably (fuck the facile arguments) the greatest pop./rock songwriter the world has ever known. I saw two Magpies, We're open tonight, the other me wags the long tailed winter bird. I mean get real - stop dissing the genius and for every Ebony and Ivory there is a Looking for Changes to restore the equilibrium.

Macca rocks!!!!


That's what Get Back shows - I've always maintained that the Beatles as a functioning unit ceased to be after Revolver and that from Sgt. Pepper's onwards it was the Paul McCartney band. Sure John and George (actually George came up with his best stuff during this period) contributed a lot of greatness but Macca was the driving force. McCartney seemed to be the only one who cared - the others were burnt out from being the most amazing musical force the world had ever known. Paul was still Beatle-Paul while George was fast vanishing into mysticism, Lennon was in ego destroying and self indulging smack head mode and Ringo was Bricky building. It's all too much but listen to reason folks because you're mother should know.

Let's imagine (all the people) that's it's 1968 - John's off tripping the light fantastic, George's discovering that we all live on within you and without you, Ringo's coming up with a cool sand/cement mix and Paul's...well, Paul's all over the place and soaking up influences from the Asher's eclectic mix of friends and friends of friends. These Liverpool scallywags have done good but whilst the others are content to enjoy the trappings of wealth and fame Paul is still pushing boundaries. John Lennon may have been the original Punk, but Paul was the nutty professor on acid.

The recent album, McCartney III shows this...acid or otherwise.

It's that deep deep feeling in the carrot patch.


So let's re-evaluate Macca - let's pull him from his Beatle past, his ever present past, but remember the Beatles may have split up but Paul never stopped being Beatle Paul. He's still, after all these years, Beatle Paul.

Once you're Beatle Paul you are always Beatle Paul.

Ram is astounding - continues to astound with each passing listen, Venus and Mars is actually better than Band on the Run which in itself is actually AOR gold and if you Listen to what the man said then you may stumble across Electric Arguments which is  amazing. There's a lot more too - Don' Be Careless Love and That Day is Done from Flowers in the Dirt or No Values from the stroll down Broad Street, or the Pound is Sinking while we play Tug of War. There's so much in Beatle Paul's solo work that will astound you and with a little luck carry you on through life.


I got married last year, to a girl I'd known forever and directly after the ceremony (Hand in Hand was played in place of  the wedding march) we went and had a snap at the Abbey Road crossing.

The Beatles and me...we go back a long way.

















Sunday, 28 November 2021

Beck for Christmas

 THE KILLING TIMES have reported on an all new series of Beck which will premiere on Christmas Day in Sweden, with a UK showing in the wings - great news for fans of all things Nordic Noir -Beck – A New Life will be the first of four new films.

Swedish broadcaster C More says: “This season, the Beck group is facing more complex cases and also major private challenges.”

A body is found floating in the water near Liljeholmen. The body belongs to a 39-year-old Danish citizen with a solid criminal record and a member of a notorious Danish drug
gang. When his car is found near suspicious premises, Alex and Josef start guarding it. 

Saturday, 20 November 2021

TERROR LEVEL RED - An Explosion of Free......

 

In a special promotion the eBook version of The Reluctant Terrorist is free to download from Amazon for the next three days.

That's an explosively good deal!

Go, get it.


From the pen of G. M. Dobbs, creator of the Granny Smith series.

Set deep within the picturesque Welsh valleys lies the quiet village of Gilfach. Nothing ever happened in the village until - the peacefulness is shattered by a confusion of killer clowns and a full-scale terrorist hunt.

John Smith is an everyday sort of man with everyday concerns. He spends his time working at the local supermarket, walking his dog and arguing with his domineering wife, Rose. However, John Smith, thanks to a bizarre series of events, most of which were beyond his control, finds himself with the tag of Britain’s most wanted.
John Smith is the reluctant terrorist.


It's an eccentric dimwitted character book. Sort of like a set in Wales version of a Florida set Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen, Bill Fitzhugh novels. It ends up not being a bad novel at all. ****

Happy Birthday Kindle

 Last week marked 14 years since the Kindle first burst onto the scene - Back in 2007 Amazon had intended to revolutionise reading with its eReading device and here in 2021 I think it can safely be said that it is a case of mission accomplished.

The Rocketbook.


It was ten years previously, in 1997, that the first true eReader was created and this was the Rocketbook. It was created by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, voracious readers who saw a future where everyone was reading electronically. 

They initially took their prototype to Jeff Bazos and for a short while it looked like Bezos and Amazon were going to run with the Rocketbook, but the fact that books had to be hard-loaded, via a USB cable, soured the deal and Bezos passed on the design.

"Bezos seemed impressed but had some reservations. To download books, a customer needed to plug the e-reader into his computer. We talked about wireless but it was crazily expensive at the time. It would add an extra four hundred dollars to each unit and the data plans were insane.”  Martin Eberhard


The pair then took the device to Barnes and Noble and a deal was struck at once. In its first year the Rocketbook sold over 20,000 eReaders.



The Rocketbook, now a device largely forgotten to history, was the father of the modern eReader, and it would take another ten years before Amazon did get in on the so called future of reading when it launched the first ever Kindle device.

 This time books could be loaded by wi-fi, the resolution of eInk had improved and Amazon launched the device with 90,000 eBooks available in its eBook store.

The first generation of the Kindle sold out within five and a half hours of its launch - Amazon had a massive hit on their hand. 

At the same time Amazon also launched their Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) store which allowed anyone to easily publish a eBook to their platform for sale to eager Kindle readers out there, and many many writers, as well as spivs who suddenly developed a literary ambition, did.

In 2009 Amazon launched the next generation Kindle, offering some improvements on the original clunky device.

True, there have been a few missteps - The Kindle DX for one was short lived and the Kindle Voyage, a deluxe eReader never really took off in the way Amazon expected. 

To be fair the Voyage was a very good eReader, but it didn't really do that much more than the Kindle Paperwhite, and maybe the timing of its launch, when tablets were starting to take off, worked against it. In the end Amazon discontinued the Voyage. The company would eventually score a success though with deluxe eReaders and the current Kindle Oasis, my own reader of choice, is a great seller despite being the most expensive eReader out there.


" My top objective was to make the Kindle disappear.We want to provide the ultimate reading experience—so a person forgets that he's using a device." Jeff Bezos


And now in 2021 the Kindle has become synonymous with the eBook industry - sure there are other great devices out there from other companies, but it is the Kindle that holds the biggest market share across the world, and the devices we use today offer a truly immersive experience. Bezos always said that he wanted to device to disappear in the reader's hand, for them to be sucked into the story and that aim has been met tenfold.


Happy Birthday, Kindle.