Sunday 29 September 2013

Tainted Stats

Weekly Stats Report: 23 Sep - 29 Sep 2013 


Unique Visits1332081561431361381661,080154
First Time Visits125186142136122121142974139
Returning Visits82214714172410615

Stephen King is in grumpy old man mode and we love him!!!

 Stephen King in an interview with The Guardian newspaper took a shot at both the Twilight series and mega  a 2008 review of Suzanne Collins' first book for Entertainment Weekly, King confessed that he "couldn't stop reading" the novel. And yet King had this to say in the Guardian interview - 
selling Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels. Whilst this was not surprising since King's dislike of the Twilight series is well known it was a surprise for him to also have a go at The Hunger Games.

 "I read Twilight and didn't feel any urge to go on with her. I read The Hunger Games and didn't feel an urge to go on. It's not unlike The Running Man, which is about a game where people are actually killed and people are watching: a satire on reality TV. I read Fifty Shades Of Grey and felt no urge to go on. They call it mommy porn, but it's not really mommy porn. It is highly charged, sexually driven fiction for women who are, say, between 18 and 25. But a golden age of horror? I wouldn't say it is. I can't think of any books right now that would be comparable to The Exorcist." Stephen King 

The interview, which can be read HERE, is an interesting in-depth look King and his work.

Friday 27 September 2013

The secret lives of the topless pulp fiction reading society

Hard Case Crime head into erotic territory for their new novel release, The Secret Lives of Married Women and editor, Charles Ardai is delighted that the book will feature on the cover of next week's New York Times Book Review.

Calling the book a stunning comeback for author, Elissa Wald Mr Ardai wrote in a trade press release:

The book hits stores on October 8, just two days after the Times review comes out, and it's a terrific one -- one of the best-written books we've ever had the privilege to publish and one that'll stay with you a long time after you turn the final page.  It's about two sisters whose lives are transformed by moments of violence, and who discover secrets about themselves that trouble and disturb them...but also tempt them...
And like Elissa Wald's previous books (HOLDING FIRE and the erotic cult classic MEETING THE MASTER) it is about the psychology and sexuality of submission, a topic she writes about with passion, clarity, and deep conviction. It's really quite breathtaking.  Daniel Bergner, author of the recent bestseller WHAT DO WOMEN WANT?, writes, "THE SECRET LIVES OF MARRIED WOMEN pulls back the veil.  It's a page-turner that's propelled forward -- relentlessly -- by a search for truth about desire.  Elissa Wald's unflinching vision makes for addictive reading."  This is Elissa's first new book in 12 years, and it's a stunning comeback.

The Topless Pulp Fiction Society, yes there is such an organisation, are no doubt eager to get their hands on this book.

And just because the Archive can't get enough of drawn and painted cover artwork we present some pictures of just a selection of the stunning cover artwork that Hard Case Crime are famous for.

Find Hard Case Crime HERE

Find the Topless Pulp Fiction society HERE

Thursday 26 September 2013

I was a Teenage Movie Goer


The adverts boasted on the cinema screens when I was a teenage movie goer - these AD's from those long gone days were usually for the local tandoori house, or a transport company. I can remember a particular AD for Lyon's Maid Ice Cream that seemed to run whatever the movie that was playing - thus you'd be tempted to some nice smooth tasting ice cream from your local store whether you were enjoying Star Wars or leaching at Confessions of a Window Cleaner.

Quite often the same advert was shown all over the country but the end of the AD would point you to a local store. For instance I remember a great AD for the Airfix range of model kits and in our local cinema the AD would end with an announcement like Airfix Kits are stocked at Mel's on Cambrian Avenue. Elsewhere the AD would direct the viewer to a store in their own locality.

Perhaps the most famous UK cinema advertising company are Pearl and Dean who were founded in 1953 and are still going strong today. Indeed the company, now a part of the Image Group,  today have contracts in more than half of the UK cinemas and serve the large chains such as Odean, Empire, Showcase and AMC.

 And although their style of advertising have changed since the day of still images being presented on the screen with a narrative from a high class voice that could have come directly from a Harry Enfield sketch, they are still trying to temp movie fans to enjoy a McDonalds after the movie or book a holiday with the local estate agents chain.

Below I have embedded a selection of old cinema AD's that I found on You Tube....enjoy!

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Marvel's Agents of Shield off to a strong start

Marvel's Agents of Shield looks like it's got the chops to become a long running series - the show which takes place in the Marvel universe offers several nods to last year's big screen blockbuster, The Avengers. The piolt certainly delivered the good, though no Nick Fury. 

Agent Phil Coulson who was last seen being killed in the Avengers movie leads the agents in this new all action TV series. The pilot gives us a backstory that his death was faked in the Avengers though there are several hints that this may not be the case after all, which is a mystery that creator, Joss Whedon will no doubt build on over the coming episodes.

The pilot did well stateside opening with 11.9 million viewers which delighted ABC especially as the show went up against strong offerings from both NBC and CBS, and the news coming through reveals that Shield tied with The Voice in viewing figures. 

The show gets its first UK showing this coming Friday on Channel 4.

Back to Gotham City

Warners continue to plunder the comic book vaults and have announced a new series in development - Gotham City Origins will tell the story of the origin of Jim Gordon and the villains that have made their home in Gotham City. It is not clear if the Batman character will appear.

Bruno Heller, creator of The Mentalist, is currently working on a pilot script for the studio.

Monday 23 September 2013

RIP Gary Brandner

I've just heard via the Internet that author, Gary Brandner has passed away.

Born in the Midwest and much travelled during his formative years, Brandner has published more than 30 novels, over 100 short stories, and also written a handful of screenplays. After graduating from the University of Washington, he worked as an amateur boxer, bartender, surveyor, loan company investigator, advertising copywriter, and technical writer before turning to fiction writing. 

Mr Bradner's wife Martine  posted on his Facebook pag
 I must tell you he died Sunday morning of cancer of the oesophagus  All those marvelous e-mails and quips will no longer be forthcoming. A bright light has certainly gone out.

When the Wind Blows...Radio Four

'Blimey,' comes the voice of Jim Bloggs (played by Peter Sallis). 'Blimey.'

It's an incredibly effective moment coming after the speaker bursting roar of a Russian nuclear bomb hitting Britain in the 1983 Radio Four adaptation of When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs.

Brenda Bruce plays Jim's wife Hilda and it is through the eyes of these two aging characters that we see the story of the aftermath of a nuclear attack. Jim is a stickler for rules and he has constructed his fallout shelter by following the instructions in a government handbook. While sheltering the couple reminisce about the second world war which provides much gentle comedy as the play gets darker and darker. Soon the aged couple are suffering from radiation sickness - Hilda loses her hair and her gums start to bleed, while both of them suffer bruising due to the radioactive fallout. They mistake these bruises  for varicose veins as neither of them fully understand the full implications of a nuclear war. As far as they are concerned they have survived the blast and soon things will return to normality.

'When the authorities come, ' the ever optimistic Jim tells his wife. 'They'll probably spray us with some detergent and then we'll be fine.'

However they both realise that things will never be fine again

I've experienced this powerful tale in many ways - the animated film, the original graphic novel and once saw the play staged by a local amateur dramatics group. I've also rocked to the Iron Maiden song based on the original graphic novel,  but this radio version is probably the most effective way I've ever experienced the story. The climax in which the couple pray as death approaches is both touching and chilling.

I'm not sure if the play is available on CD or as a download - An Amazon search revealed only the original graphic novel.

 I found the play on an old C90 cassette that I came across when cleaning out the loft. I remember recording it directly off air in the early eighties when the threat of an imminent nuclear war seemed very real.  The sound quality on the cassette is very good with the exception of a few minutes where there is hissing on the tape, and I plan to convert this tape into a digital copy along with many of the other cassettes. Some of the cassettes are not labelled and I've got to go through them to find what they contains, but I've been recording radio plays for many years and hopefully I'll discover several treasures amongst all these dusty cassettes.

It is worth noting that the two pamphlets mentioned in the play are based on actual official documents.

From the WIKI - Protect and Survive is a public information series on civil defence produced by the British government during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It is intended to inform British citizens on how to protect themselves during a nuclear attack, and consists of a mixture of pamphlets, radio broadcasts, and public information films. The series had originally been intended for distribution only in the event of dire national emergency, but provoked such intense public interest that the pamphlets were authorised for general release. Following the government's abandonment of its nuclear civil defence policy in the 1990s in response to the altered geopolitical situation, it was tacitly acknowledged that Protect and Survive had little real value beyond providing the public with something ostensibly positive to focus its energies on in the last days before a nuclear war, thus theoretically minimising civil unrest

Tainted Stats

Weekly Stats Report: 16 Sep - 22 Sep 2013 


Unique Visits1641741561651601491411,109158
First Time Visits1551621431521431301321,017145
Returning Visits9121313171999213

Saturday 21 September 2013

Sherlock season 3 threat to US screenings

Sources within the BBC are panicked over the possibility that they may not be able to screen the next season of Sherlock in the US, for whilst the copyrights of Doyle's stories are in the public domain in the UK and Canada, this is not so in the US, and a woman who claims to hold the trademark on Sherlock Holmes in to challenge the BBC in court.

Andrea Plunket was the wife of Sheldon Reynolds who owned the Holmes copyright in the US during the 1950's and produced the Ron Howard version of Sherlock Holmes. However the copright later passed over to Andrea Plunket. It seems that Warners received permission from Andrea Plunket to make their big budget series starring Robert Downey Jnr as Sherlock Holmes, but the BBC have made no such requests.

Mrs Plunket is now throwing down a legal gauntlet to the BBC. She insists she retains the copyright to the last ten stories from the Conan Doyle oeuvre in the U.S. More crucially, she claims to have registered as her trademark all the leading characters in the Sherlock Holmes stories and accuses the BBC of breaching her trademark.

And from the NEW YORK TIMES

Friday 20 September 2013

Thursday 19 September 2013

Best Fictional Detective

The UK National Television Awards have introduced a new category for next year's awards in order to recognise the popularity of fictional detectives with the viewing public. The category - Best fictional detective will see the likes of Sherlock Holmes going up against Hercule Poirot. And Nordic Noir's Sarah Lund challenging Midsomer Murder's DCI Barnaby.

 “A brand new category, TV detective of the year, has been introduced to reflect the current popularity of detective dramas." A spokesman for the NTA awards

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Full steam ahead...

It's been a good week for me - yesterday I had the stitches, all 43 of them, out of my forehead following the operation to have the basal cell cancer removed, and although the scar is still visible I am told that in time it will fade to virtually nothing - I will likely look like Brad Pitt, my surgeon joked. More like a coal pit my partner countered, and I'm thinking that I'd much rather look like Clint Eastwood.

 The best news was  that the biopsy results revealed that the cancer had been completely removed.

I'll now have three bi-monthly follow up appointments to ensure there is no further problems and after that I'll be discharged.

I can now get on with my life - the last few months have been a grind and I've found myself completely blocked - unable to write anything. I don't really believe in writer's block but I guess with everything going on I was unable to give my work the concentration it needed. From now on though it is all systems go and I'll be throwing myself fully into my work as well as bringing the Archive back up to speed.

Thank you all, readers of both the Archive and my various bookies - your well wishes have meant a lot to old Brad Dobbs.

Monday 16 September 2013

Deadwood again

I've started re-watching the excellent Deadwood from the beginning - did you know that the word fuck and its derivatives are used 2,980 times throughout the show's three seasons. Just a bit of fun trivia there.

Tainted Stats

Weekly Stats Report: 9 Sep - 15 Sep 2013 


Unique Visits1931711721631371421421,120160
First Time Visits1781551591541311291341,040149
Returning Visits151613961388011

Saturday 14 September 2013

Mr Monk and the Astronaught

Mr Monk and the Astronaut takes the concept of the locked room mystery, the impossible murder  to the extreme and was a really clever episode. This story coming from the end of season four sees the dysfunctional detective, Adrian Monk become convinced that an astronaut killed a woman even if he was in outer space at the time of the murder. Of course we know Monk is correct, he always is, but we have to find out how this seemingly impossible killing was carried out.

Of course I'm not going to give the answer away here - there may be some readers out there who, like me, are only now discovering this wonderful show but all I will say is that it was a bloody clever episode. And yes you can find weaknesses in the logic if you look hard enough but that doesn't change the fact that Monk is one of the best cosy- type crime series in many years. I bloody love this series and am now immediately starting season five.

Season four was filled with some great episodes - a stand out for me was Mr Monk Bumps his Head in which an amnesiac Monk find himself lost far from home and is taken in by the always brilliant Laurie Metcalf who claims to be his wife. She has just returned from a foreign  holiday and claimed she and Monk met there and quickly fell in love and were marries. As well as a top class mystery this episode contains some of the best character scenes of the entire season.

At the heart of the show is the remarkable performance by Tony Shalhoub but the supporting cast are all quite excellent and the chemistry between Ted Levine's police captain and Jason Grey-Stanford's Lieutenant Disher adds considerably to the show. Monk may be over in TV land but the entire eight season run is available on DVD and I'm glad I still have four seasons to go (I've just started season five) and I may just start all over again after watching the very last episode.

Monk - sheer genius!

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special: New poster reveals title

Iron Man 3

If this does turn out to be Downey Jnr's final Iron Man movie then Marvel Pictures have a difficult task filling the iron suit - the film is action packed as expected but the fact that we've had the Avengers movie and seen a goodly chunk of the Marvel universe created on the big screen works against the picture. When the chips are down it seems odd that Captain America, Thor and the others don't show up to help Tony Stark out particularly when the life of the President of the USA is very much on the line. It is also odd given that the movie deals with domestic terrorism and yet Nick Fury or Shield don't turn up. I

That said Iron Man 3 is another entertaining addition to the Marvel movies, with Downey Jnr dominating the movie, though Ben Kingsley is excellent as the Manderin, and there's a great twist there which I won't give away here. Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts has much more to do this time around and no longer is she used as eye candy but this time gets to do some great smashing and bashing of her own.

Iron Man 3 then is OK but it's certainly not up there with the best superhero movies.

Under the knife

Today I underwent surgery to remove the basil cell cancer tumour from my forehead and forty three stitches later I ended up looking like Hammer's version of Frakenstein's monster. However I have been told by the surgeon that there will be very little scarring when the healing process is complete.

The process used was called a Rhomboid Flap - The rhomboid (Limberg) flap can be used to close defects almost anywhere on the body. It is versatile in that a random pattern flap can be raised from any one or all corners of the rhomboid. The defect is filled with tissue of the same thickness and colour, and with good vascularity. 

I've got to go back in a week to have the stitches removed and get the results of the biopsy and, fingers crossed, they will have removed all of the cancerous cells. I'm feeling quite positive about all this.

They do make em like that any-more... or at least they try

The original Team
2005's re-imagined Kojak may have only lasted the one season, but the all new Hawaii Five O's been a success for CBS and next month will see the return of yet another classic TV cop, or rather a new take on yet another classic TV cop when Blair Underwood becomes the paralysed detective, Ironside.

Mind you Kojak is far from dead and Vin Diesel is to play the bald cop for a big screen version of the iconic show. There's also stirrings of another take on both Starsky and Hutch and Macmillan and Wife.

Of course Starsky and Hutch's has already spawned a successful 2004 movie, but most fans will agree that the movie, whilst having some good moments, wasn't a patch on the original TV series.

"All new characters, a new city, new texture, new storytelling, new audience,''  Blair Underwood talking about the all new Ironside.

The new Ironside
In fact such is the nostalgia for the cop shows of the past that TV and movie bosses feel they are onto a good thing by rebooting that which worked in the past. After all, the logic goes, if it was a hit once then there is no reason why it can't be again. This doesn't always pan out - think of the 2009 version of The Prisoner and the dismal 1998 big screen version of the much loved The Avengers - that's John Steed and not Captain America. And remember the remakes of both The Bionic Woman and Knight Rider were major disappointments. And TV remakes of Charley's Angels and The Rockford Files seemed to have stalled at pilot stage.

It remains to be be seen whether the new Ironside will sink or swim but one thing that is certain is that TV bosses will continue to revive much loved TV shows in the hope of once again striking gold.

Monday 9 September 2013

Too old for latex

Iron Man 3 hits DVD today and I snapped up a copy this morning. This was one of the  superhero films I missed at the cinema, and although I enjoyed both previous Iron Man movies and loved The Avengers I think I'm getting tired of superhero movies. Either that or I'm getting too old for them - Man of Steel failed to excite me and for the most part I found it boring and the third Dark Knight movie, Dark Knight Rises I felt was deeply flawed. Those tacked on endings, all that bollocks about the auto-pilot, left a sour taste on what was otherwise  a brilliant superhero trilogy. Though in truth I don't think the Nolan Batman movies were really superhero movies at all, but rather dark crime thrillers that just happened to feature a man in a cape. So maybe the Dark Knight movies don't really count when talking about superhero movies.

The big news at the moment is that Superman and Batman are to team up in a movie and then after that Warners will make the long promised Justice League film... I'm underwhelmed by that and don't really give a toss. Mind you I'm not that bothered by the prospect of new Star Wars films either, so maybe I am turning into a grumpy old man after all.

I actually bought two DVD's today - Iron Man 3 and then the new Blu-Ray edition of The Treasures of Sierra Madre. I've seen Sierra Madre perhaps a dozen times and can't wait to watch the new Blu-Ray edition. And at the same time I don't think I could sit through The Man of Steel again.

So what is it? Am I a grumpy old man or is it the fact that Hollywood doesn't really make movies for grown ups these days? Whatever the reason I do suspect I'm too old for latex but I'm going to give Iron Man 3 a spin....expect a review here later this week, as well as a look at the new Blu-Ray of Treasures of the Sierra Madre.

 I expect Fred Dobbs will kick Tony Stark's arse.

Tainted Stats

Weekly Stats Report: 2 Sep - 8 Sep 2013 


Unique Visits2311791891621612032071,332190
First Time Visits2051661611541441881981,216174
Returning Visits26132881715911617

Saturday 7 September 2013

Tommy Lee Jones Dukes up for new western

Here at the Archive we didn't think the Coen's True Grit  was a patch on the John Wayne original, so the news that another Wayne classic is to be re-made should have us all nervous. But the fact that Tommy (Lonesome Dove) Lee Jones is behind the project has made us prick up our ears. Tommy Lee Jones is to write, direct and star in the re-make. The Cowboys seems a smart choice for a re-make given that it is not  as beloved as say The Searchers, Rio Bravo or Red River, which film purists will say should never be touched.

The film will be made for Warner Brothers who are hoping for a late 2014 release.

Time to saddle up again folks

Friday 6 September 2013

Bestselling Black Horse titles at Amazon 6/9/2013

The Afterlife of Slim McCord (Black Horse Western) by Jack Martin (29 Nov 2013)

  • £13.75 Hardcover prime
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The Highwaymen (Black Horse Western) by Owen G. Irons (31 Jan 2011)

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The Comanche Fights Again (Black Horse Western) by D.M. Harrison (28 Jun 2013)

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    Pope's Bounty (Black Horse Western) by Aaron Adams (30 Sep 2013)

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    A Rope for Iron Eyes (Black Horse Western) by Rory Black (31 Oct 2013)

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    She Wore a Badge (Black Horse Western) by Steve Hayes (31 Jul 2013)

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      A Bullet for Kilbane (Black Horse Western) by Vance MacKenzie (31 May 1999)

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        Corrigan's Revenge (Black Horse Western) by J.C. Kincaid (27 Apr 1989)

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        Where Legends Ride (Black Horse Western) by Paul Wheelahan (30 Mar 2001)

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          The Long Ride Back (Black Horse Western) by Peter Taylor (28 Sep 2001)

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