Sunday 20 September 2015

Tainted Stats

Weekly Stats Report: 14 Sep - 20 Sep 2015


  Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Total Avg
Unique Visits8811066871185711263891
First Time Visits8110663851055310760086
Returning Visits74321345385

Thursday 17 September 2015

Magazine Watch - Crime Scene

It's always nice to come across an interesting new magazine, to discover that this is just the sort of publication you've been waiting for. Crime Scene, the new quarterly from Future Publishing maybe one such magazine.

 Billed as the ultimate guide to crime drama,films,books, TV - it pretty much is that but covers virtually every media format out there. For instance there's a feature on a new podcast called Missing which mines similar territory to the excellent Serial.

The Bath based publishing company may be onto a winner here. There are several mainstream magazines for fans of science fiction and a couple for lover of horror, but until now lovers of the crime genre, and they are many, have been sold short in terms of newsstand magazines. Yep, a gap in the market has been well and truly filled.

The debut issue features a Benedict Cumberbatch, in a publicity shot for the forthcoming Christmas special of the BBC's Sherlock - this one will be set in the proper Victorian setting and Sherlock will puff on his iconic pipe. There is a major feature on Sherlock within the magazine, this includes a talk with series co-creator Steven Moffat. And it is a great feature which includes a detailed synopsis of every episode shown thus far.

Sherlock though is just one part of this 140+ page magazine - there's an interview with James Ellroy, a feature in which Ian Rankin reveals his inspirations and influences. There's a look at the 25 greatest TV detectives of all time - Columbo takes the top spot but I won't reveal the others here and urge you to read the magazine. There are  reviews, news, features and even a fiction extract. The Book review are especially good and detailed and will likely lead to the discovery of new writers and books.

Priced at £7.99 the magazine isn't at the cheaper end of the market but I think it is worth every penny for such an entertaining read. It's intelligently written by writers with an obvious love of the genre.

The magazine is on sale now and is highly recommended.

Monday 14 September 2015

Weekly Stats Report: 7 Sep - 13 Sep 2015


  Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Total Avg
Unique Visits1221077680801055762790
First Time Visits11497727974995358884
Returning Visits81041664396

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Don't Panic - Dad's Army are back

The original cast
It remains one of the best loved and most iconic British sit-coms in television histoy, and next February will see the release of a new movie based on the mis-adventures of the Walmington on Sea Home Guard.

In 2004, Dad's Army was voted fourth in a BBC poll to find Britain's Best Sitcom. It had been placed 13th in a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000 and voted for by industry professionals.The series has influenced popular culture in the United Kingdom, with the series' catchphrases and characters being well known. It highlighted a forgotten aspect of defence during the Second World War. The Radio Times magazine listed Captain Mainwaring's "You stupid boy!" among the 25 greatest put-downs on TV
The new cast

The television series lasted nine series and was broadcast over nine years, with 80 episodes in total, including three Christmas specials and an hour-long special. At its peak, the programme regularly gained audiences of 18.5 million. There were also four short specials broadcast as part of Christmas Night with the Stars in 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1972.

The series was also made into a big screen movie in 1971. The film was popular enough for a sequel called Dad's Army and the Secret U Boat Base to be put into pre-production, but this eventually fell by the wayside and didn't get past the script stage.

 The new movie version is directed by Oliver Parker and hopes are high for a classic movie - the casting is spot on as can be seen in the photographs of the original and new cast shown above.

The first trailer also looks very promising and I'm really looking forward to this one.

The Writing's on the wall for Spectre

Grammy-winning British vocalist Sam Smith has been confirmed as co-writer and performer of the theme song of upcoming James Bond film “Spectre.”

“Sam and Jimmy Napes have written the most inspirational song for ‘Spectre’ and with Sam’s extraordinary vocal performance, ‘Writing’s On The Wall’ will surely be considered one of the greatest Bond songs of all time,”  Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, in a statement.

Sunday 6 September 2015

RIP Warren Murphy co-creator of an American Legend

It is with sadness that I type these words and record the death of yet another legend of the pulp fiction field - Warren Murphy, born in 1933, and best known for the Destroyer series of paperbacks which number more than  a 100 titles and was also the basis for the 1985  movie, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.

Warren Murphy co-created the Destroyer series  with fellow writer, Richard Sapir. The two men worked together for a great many years on the series but when the relationship strained, Sapir left the series and Murphy continued the series with the aid of a series of co-writers to keep up with the considerable demands of series fiction. Sapir briefly returned to the series in 1980 but after his death in 1987, Murphy once again continued the series on his own. He would continue with the series until the 107'th book in the series.

 The series however would be continued by other hands. For in creating Remo Williams the authors had birthed a character that will live on. Indeed Shane Black is currently developing a new movie which will be called, The Destroyer.

"My apparent versatility is really based upon a character flaw: I have the attention span of melting ice cream."  Warren Murphy

Warren Murphy died on 4th September and his daughter, Deirdre wrote on her Facebook page -

Yesterday my heart was broken and my tears fell. My father, Warren Murphy passed away. He was loved and loved by family, friends and fans and I have been amazed and humbled to read the tributes from so many people who he touched. I was so lucky to be able to call him Pop, but I wasn't the only one he touched, each of his children had very special relationship with him and he treated each of us in his own unique way. He truly was an amazing man, he spoke his mind and he influenced so many people. If you were lucky enough to have met him then you are truly blessed. I don't know how I'm going to survive the upcoming political season without him to tell it like it is. Pop you are loved and loved and you will always be in my heart.

As well as his novels Warren also wrote for movie and worked on many scripts including The Eiger Sanction ( he was asked to work on the script by Clint Eastwood himself) and Lethal Weapon II, but it is for the Destroyer books that he will be best remembered. The series was incredibly popular and as well as the books, there was the movie and even a comic book adaptation from Marvel comics.

“Murphy…is the professional’s professional, the hallmark of work of consistently high quality produced in spite of the mercenary peccadilloes of a constantly changing publishing scene. A warm, generous man, he is often the victim of ‘ricochet discrimination.’ The sharp, snide cutting one line retorts and highly prejudiced viewpoints of some of his characters are wrongfully taken to reflect the author’s personal feelings. Nothing could be further from the truth but such phenomena characteristically fail to bother Murphy. He simply philosophizes, ‘It goes with the territory.’”
— St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers. 

Warren's own website HERE carries the following tribute from his son Brian:

It is with great sadness that we must report the passing of my father, Warren Murphy, on Sept 4, 2015.  Murphy passed away peacefully in his Virginia Beach home.  The literary world- no, the  world in general- has lost a true champion.
One of “The Good Guys,” this loss will be felt by many.  Please keep our family, friends and his ever-faithful fans in your thoughts and prayers.
You’re loved and loved, Champ!

Rest in peace, sir - but through your work you will live on.

The Destroyer series:

  1. Created, The Destroyer (1971)
  2. Death Check (1972)
  3. Chinese Puzzle (1972)
  4. Mafia Fix (1972)
  5. Dr. Quake (1972)
  6. Death Therapy (1972)
  7. Union Bust (1973)
  8. Summit Chase (1973)
  9. Murder's Shield (1973)
  10. Terror Squad (1973)
  11. Kill or CURE (1973)
  12. Slave Safari (1973)
  13. Acid Rock (1973)
  14. Judgment Day (1974)
  15. Murder Ward (1974)
  16. Oil Slick (1974)
  17. Last War Dance (1974)
  18. Funny Money (1975)
  19. Holy Terror (1975)
  20. Assassin's Play-Off
  21. Deadly Seeds
  22. Brain Drain
  23. Child's Play
  24. King's Curse
  25. Sweet Dreams
  26. In Enemy Hands
  27. The Last Temple
  28. Ship of Death
  29. The Final Death
  30. Mugger Blood
  31. The Head Men
  32. Killer Chromosomes
  33. Voodoo Die
  34. Chained Reaction
  35. Last Call
  36. Power Play
  37. Bottom Line
  38. Bay City Blast
  39. Missing Link
  40. Dangerous Games
  41. Firing Line
  42. Timber Line
  43. Midnight Man
  44. Balance of Power
  45. Spoils of War
  46. Next of Kin
  47. Dying Space
  48. Profit Motive
  49. Skin Deep
  50. Killing Time
  51. Shock Value
  52. Fool's Gold
  53. Time Trial
  54. Last Drop
  55. Master's Challenge
  56. Encounter Group
  57. Date With Death
  58. Total Recall
  59. The Arms of Kali
  60. The End of the Game
  61. Lords of the Earth
  62. The Seventh Stone
  63. The Sky Is Falling
  64. The Last Alchemist
  65. Lost Yesterday
  66. Sue Me
  67. Look Into My Eyes
  68. An Old-Fashioned War
  69. Blood Ties
  70. The Eleventh Hour
  71. Return Engagement
  72. Sole Survivor
  73. Line of Succession
  74. Walking Wounded
  75. Rain of Terror
  76. The Final Crusade
  77. Coin of the Realm
  78. Blue Smoke And Mirrors
  79. Shooting Schedule
  80. Death Sentence
  81. Hostile Takeover
  82. Survival Course
  83. Skull Duggery
  84. Ground Zero
  85. Blood Lust
  86. Arabian Nightmare
  87. Mob Psychology
  88. The Ultimate Death
  89. Dark Horse
  90. Ghost in the Machine
  91. Cold Warrior
  92. The Last Dragon
  93. Terminal Transmission
  94. Feeding Frenzy
  95. High Priestess
  96. Infernal Revenue
  97. Identity Crisis
  98. Target of Opportunity
  99. The Color of Fear
  100. Last Rites
  101. Bidding War
  102. Unite and Conquer
  103. Engines Of Destruction
  104. Angry White Mailmen
  105. Scorched Earth
  106. White Water
  107. Feast or Famine
  108. Bamboo Dragon
  109. American Obsession
  110. Never Say Die
  111. Prophet of Doom
  112. Brain Storm
  113. The Empire Dreams
  114. Failing Marks
  115. Misfortune Teller
  116. The Final Reel
  117. Deadly Genes
  118. Killer Watts
  119. Fade To Black
  120. The Last Monarch
  121. A Pound of Prevention
  122. Syndication Rites
  123. Disloyal Opposition
  124. By Eminent Domain
  125. The Wrong Stuff
  126. Air Raid
  127. Market Force
  128. The End of the Beginning
  129. Father To Son
  130. Waste Not, Want Not
  131. Unnatural Selection
  132. Wolf's Bane
  133. Troubled Waters
  134. Bloody Tourists
  135. Political Pressure
  136. Unpopular Science
  137. Industrial Evolution
  138. No Contest
  139. Dream Thing
  140. Dark Ages
  141. Frightening Strikes
  142. Mindblower
  143. Bad Dog
  144. Holy Mother
  145. Dragon Bones

Tainted Archive

Weekly Stats Report: 31 Aug - 6 Sep 2015


  Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Total Avg
Unique Visits73801419911211598718103
First Time Visits6873129961071069767697
Returning Visits57123591426

Friday 4 September 2015

Laurel and Hardy

The photograph left, taken in 1956 is the last publicity shot ever taken of Laurel and Hardy; arguably the greatest comedy team the world has ever known. Oliver had been suffering from ill health for some time and a forced diet had seen him shed 150ibs, which was the equivalent of Stan's weight.

The picture evokes mixed emotions - on one hand it's great to see the guys together, firm friends in old age. But on the other hand it is sad to see the team, ever youthful on celluloid, bitten by the ravages of age.

Oliver Hardy died a year later in 1957 and Stan would finally leave this world in 1965. And although the due were finally separated by death they will always be remembered in life as the greatest comedy duo the world has ever seen.

I love these guys and no matter how often I see their films I'm still reduced to tears of laughter - there's something these guys had that no other duo before or since have been able to replicate.

They are favourites with generations of comedians - there's a story Ernie Wise tells of his partner Eric Morcambe not liking the thought of them being in bed together for their comedy sketches. He refused to do it until someone pointed out that Laurel and Hardy often appeared in bed together. After that Eric was more than willing to go along and Morcambe and Wise went on to become Britain's all time most successful and well loved comedy acts.

Back to Stan and Ollie though - they were different, neither of them played the straight man and although it is Stan who is mostly seen as the clown of the duo, it must be remembered that Ollie could do a lot of clowning himself. Their comedy was mostly slapstick but this often hid the subtle cleverness of the team. And even now in the age of digital magic, Laurel and Hardy are still as entertaining as they ever were.

The world is still laughing

God Bless you both.

Age of Kill Review

'He used to be in Eastenders!' my partner pointed to Martin Kemp as she mouthed another of those new giant sized M&M's (the blue ones are the best, by the way).

I nodded, thinking I'm old enough to remember him when he was in that 1980's new romantic band, Spandau Ballet.

The lyrics of their 1983 single which got to No 2 in the hit parade popped into my head - I used to sing it in the schoolyard, all the while flicking my, stiff with too much Falcon hairspray for men, quiff to attract the girls.

Always believe in your soul
You've got the power to know
You're indestructible
Always believe in, because you are

Now my quiff's gone, replaced by a greying mop and Martin Kemp's thrown away his too tight trousers for the  designer jeans and T-shirts of Sam Burke, ex Black OPs sniper in Neil Jones's new thriller, Age of Kill. The blurb tells us that this is Taken meets 24 and there is something in that description. Martin Kemp's character find himself forced into a world of madness when his daughter is taken hostage by a mysterious terrorist. Out of options and with no one to turn to, Blake is forced to carry out the terrorist's evil bidding and must assassinate six seemingly random targets within six hours.  That's one a hour, maths fans.

Director, Neil Jones might have shot this film with a lens dipped in amphetamine such is the speed in which we are hurtled from one incredible set piece to another. Kemp is absolutely brilliant and certainly looks the part and he is supported by a set of quality British actors such as Phil Davies and Dexter Fletcher. One actor deserves special mention and he is Nick Moran who  plays the slimy leader of a far right political group with a performance very much based on Nick Griffin.

There are times when the low budget shows through but overall this is an adrenaline rush of a movie. Available now on DVD and I say go get it.

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Daniel Craig says he may give up his licence to kill so who will be the next 007

Tom Hardy is the current favorite but this doesn't stop suggestions from the realistic to the outlandish. However it must be clear that Daniel Craig is still the current Bond but it is looking more and more unlikely that he will play the part again. Craig recently told Esquire magazine that the forthcoming Spectre will likely be his last Bond film.

The character of Bond, James Bond was created  by Ian Fleming, who employed him in twelve novels and two short story collections. The character has also been used in the longest running and most financially successful film franchise to date, starting in 1962 with Dr. No when Bond, James Bond was Sean Connery.

For the record Bond was NOT English, his father was Scottish and his mother was Swiss.

So Connery (so far) had the best lineage for the role, being a Scot.
Connery despite being a former milkman and body builder could actually act, so that’s a gauntlet thrown down to Clive Owen (at 10/1) and Jude Law (at 33/1) besides anyone who has seen Repo Men will know that Law can’t fight for toffee.

Since Connery, Sean Connery on screen we’ve had an Australian, a Brit, a Welshman, an Irishman and a blond one who often resembles Gollum….

So geography-wise the net is wide open. That means we can’t count out Hugh Jackman (Australian) and Goran Visnjic (Craotian -Chicago-ese) who are both at 18/1 and Aussies Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe who are both at 50/1 (between the two, Crowe would win in a fight, basically he could kill you with a phone).

Other people on the recruitment list of Universal Exports are Orlando (Please don’t mention Johnny bloody Depp) Bloom at 14/1, Julian (there will never be a Bond called Julian) McMahon at 18/1, Gerard (I will appear in ANY film) Butler at 20/1 and Eric (would actually be quite good) Bana (possibly a good money bet, as he did play a very good spy in Munich (the film not the city)) at 40/1.
Also there is Colin (quite a good actor now) Farrell at 50/1, but maybe he’s too “oirsh” (and boy-ish) and I can’t really see him asking for a Martini, shaken OR stirred.

Contenders for the role from years past include Oliver Reed (too pissed), Tom Jones (too busy with the ladies), Lewis (the Professionals) Collins (not to be confused with Lewis Carroll who wrote the Alice books and who would have been a rubbish Bond) and Sam Neil (unfortunately was the Devil). Clint Eastwood was even offered the role in the mid 70's so anyone can be considered.

Further beyond the realms of likelihood (where the big odds live) we have Hugh (too bumbling and camp) Grant at 100/1, Rupert (too gay) Everett at 150/1 and Mike (unknown quantity) Richardson at 2,000/1. Peter Andre also has no odds because he can't act. And Wayne Rooney is contractually obligated to the Shrek franchise so there are no odds available on him being Bond.

And just to round out the field, the true wild cards are Angelina (surely too female) Jolie at 500/1, Russell (surely too feminine) Brand at 600/1, Barrack (no you can’t) Obama at 1,000/1 and David Beckham isn’t REALLY in contention, no matter what you hear, he’s at 500/1.

Fleming thought that Bond should be a “gentleman thug” someone who was equally at home ordering a martini in a dinner jacket and fighting down a darkened alley (in a dinner jacket). This is why Tom Hardy is the Current favourite (plus he did himself no harm by his “audition” role in Inception) he’s at 6/1.

Cary Grant was (would you believe it) one of Flemings first choices for the role, so maybe a smart bet would be on Michael Fassbender at 18/1 who looks the part and also looks like he’d be equally at home, coldly following orders, sweeping an Uzbekistan Beauty called Sofia off her feet, sending food back in a posh restaurant or fighting a couple of Latvian thugs in the street (and winning).

Mind you Daniel Craig saying he will step down could be just a ruse for the actor to get more money to once again don the tuxedo.

Rise of the Krays Review

It's quite a remarkable performance by Simon Cotton as Ronnie Kray that drives this movie, while Reggie Kray, played by Kevin Leslie, doesn't get the same screen time or memorable scenes. Of course the Krays movie everyone is waiting for is Legend in which Tom Hardy play both twins but if this low budget, straight to DVD effort has one thing going for it - it is the fact that it shows the Krays as they must have truly been. There is nothing glamorous about them, they are a nasty, truly evil pair of bastards.

“The reality is the Krays were horrible pieces of work and in our film they come out as horrible pieces of work.” Simon Cotton

The quote on the DVD, comes from the Sunday Sport Newspaper and tells us this is the best British gangster movie ever made - it's certainly not that. Mind you the fact that one of the movie's financial backers was David Sullivan who these days is the largest shareholder in West Ham Football Club and until 2007 was the owner of both the Daily and Sunday Sport newspapers might have something to do with the newspaper's accolade. So maybe the film critic of the Sunday Sport was lent on and made an offer he couldn't refuse. Just maybe he feared waking up in the morning with a horse's head instead of a sexy strumpet beside him.

Still it's not a bad movie, just not a really good one  and could pass the time nicely if you want a gangland fix before the release of Legend next month.

 The Sunday Sport - covers and invents the stories the others won't touch...loads of tits too.


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