Saturday, 28 March 2009

Unimportant things

Memed by Lianne.

1) Put the link of the person who tagged you on your blog
2) Write the rules.
3) Mention 6 things or habits of no real importance about you. Please see below.
4) Tag 6 persons adding their links directly.
5) Alert the persons that you tagged them.

I’m tempted to say that everything about me is important, but these things are relative, so here goes -

1. When I was 17, I spent a night in the police cells. I was fitted up - it wasn’t me Guv. Honest.

2. My Grandad (pictured above) was an extra in the 1944 drama documentary Western Approaches, directed by Jack Cardiff.

3. My favourite song (right now) is I’ve Been Loving You Too Long by Otis Redding, especially the fade out at the end (Cryin with my heart and soul that I love ya, I love ya, I love YA, GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY, I LOVE YA.)

4. I think I’m quiet good at impressions. Especially Michael Caine. I may, however, be deluded in this belief.

5. Someone once said I look like Kiefer Sutherland. Admittedly, she was a) drunk and b) not wearing her glasses, so it's possible she may have been deluded in that belief.

6. My job title is Space Range Merchandising Team Leader. I don’t know what it means either.
In return, I meme The Dali Llama, Salvador Dali, Ozzy Osbourne, Ossie Ardilles, The Wizard of Oz and Osama Bin Laden*,

*and Binners, don’t forget to leave a forwarding address. Not seen you since ‘01. Where you been hiding, you mad bastard? Hope u been keeping out of trouble.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Raiders of The Lost Ark - Story Conference

Hello. I always knew some day you'd come walking back through my door. The Mystery Man has an epic transcript of a Raiders Story Conference between Lucas, Spielberg and Kasdan available for download here.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Red Riding

I was expecting big things of Red Riding after a week of laudatory reviews, and Part one was certainly a strange and grim fever dream of a film. It was technically brilliant in every department, not least the art design and cinematography, which gave it a wonderfully beige quality that eerily evoked old photos of the ‘70‘s. Unfortunately, it was shot with a strange detachment that made it hard to really engage with any of the characters. For all the fantastic actors featured, none of them seemed to have much to do.

The story was basically Chinatown set in West Yorkshire, with the ending of Taxi Driver tagged on, and this was the biggest problem - I just didn’t believe it. Bent coppers and dodgy property developers are a staple of 70’s drama, but these were just so damn evil it stretched credibility. Sean Bean was great as the smug, corrupt, racist, and (it’s very strongly implied) child murdering Property Developer. He‘s certainly a contender for villain of the year: He gets the police to torture and murder journalists, and to gleefully cover up his killing of women and children. Police violence and corruption was undeniably terrible and endemic in the seventies, but this sort of conspiracy is more at home in James Ellroy’s 1940’s LA than Yorkshire in the year of our Lord 1974.

The central case was very obviously inspired in part by the murder of Lesley Molseed and the false conviction Stephan Kisko, whose substitute is here presented as so obviously incapable of murder that only a conspiracy could explain everyone else believing his guilt. The truth was probably more prosaic - the police were under pressure to close the case, and willing to convince themselves and everyone else that the nearest available weirdo did it. It was about conviction rates, not conspiracy.

It’s the sort of institutional dysfunction that The Wire deals with brilliantly, and it‘s a tale that’s worth telling. Unfortunately, this story is told from the journalist’s point of view, so the investigation is seen here only from the outside.

David Fincher’s superb Zodiac is similar in many respects - telling the story of a famous crime from the 1970’s mainly from the point of view of a journalist, but Fincher sticks obsessively to the facts. In real life, Lesley Molseed wasn’t killed by an evil capitalist protected up by a corrupt establishment. She was murdered by a taxi driver, Ronald Castree, who was convicted based on DNA evidence in 2007.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Local short story competitions*

Two short story competitions you might want to know about:

The inaugaral Bournemouth Short Story Competition (yup, another BSSC) is open for entries. Stories under 3000 words. Closing Date 31st March. £5 entry fee, top prize of £100.

The more established Bridport Prize advertises itself as the richest open writing competition in the English language, with a top prize of £5000! Yes FIVE GRAND! Stories under 5000 words. Entry fee £7, closing date 30th June.

I've just been honing an old short story that was 3,462 words down to fit the BSSC2 criteria. It's new length - 2,999 words. :)

*not just for local people