alexsarll: (default)
Just over a week now since I got back from Prague; the now-traditional late anniversary trip which has taken us ever further afield, first Margate, then Bruges, and this year Mitteleuropa. The first time I've flown in getting on for a decade, too, and I still can't abide the ridiculous mixture of security theatre and profiteering which we still have to go through on account of one half-arsed terror scheme all those years ago.
In Berlin, which even more than Paris seems to have made too many concessions to the automobile, we almost wholly failed even to skirt the fringes of the city's famous nightlife. True, it can't have helped that we were there on weeknights in January, but mostly we tired ourselves out sufficiently doing the hits (museums, Wall fragments, the Brandenburg Gate) that evenings in with Lidl fizz were a welcome wind-down. The exception being the black light crazy golf, which was a truly consciousness-expanding experience (not something one often hears said of golf), even given we left the cocktails until after. And then, a train along the Elbe, all castles and crags. Well, I say that; first there were interminable plains which made East Anglia look fascinating, but I try to forget those. But then the romantic riverside, and then Prague itself, one of the very few cities which to me is a thing in itself rather than a monoculture ultimately traceable to a cutting from one London district. This was my third visit, and I hope it won't be my last, for each time there are new riches, or at least new riches to me - the Cubist cafe, the old Jewish cemetery and the Municipal Hall have all been standing since long before my first time there, way back in the nineties. There's a lot more English spoken now, which I put down to the stag parties and the Internet; also a lot more Thai massage places, which I'm pretty sure will just be the stag parties. But it's still Prague, still cheap by any standards other than the past's, still enchanted. And long may it remain so.

Since I returned, I've managed to be busy without being particularly social, in part because I was already booked elsewhere on the night of the month's big people-I-know-gig. Still, worth missing the odd show to see Daniel Kitson, who remains, well, Kitson - more comedic this time than sometimes, more play than storyteller, but still a law unto himself. Ditto Birdman, a film I like despite it being up for awards from the Academy, whose general cluelessness is finally beginning to become more widely apparent now they've snubbed The Lego Movie (I'm not saying they're the world figures most in need of hanging from lamp-posts, but I would like to see them on that list). Even at the Union Chapel, for my first Daylight Music of the season, I managed to miss many of the people I knew on account of it being unusually full of people I didn't. Who could have known that the mainstream draw they needed was Amelia Fletcher singing about chickens, Sarah Cracknell's new sixties-style side-project, and Darren Hayman doing William Morris?

There's still a ton of other stuff I should write up - most of Autumn and Winter is jotted in drafts somewhere - but let's post this now, at a sensible length, rather than strive eternally for something compressed and complete.
alexsarll: (default)
Just tried watching Alex Cox's Repo Chick. Now, bearing in mind that I consider an evening watching the Blu-ray extras of Repo Man to be a good evening (especially the Harry Dean Stanton interview)...just no. The idea of using Matchbox cars and model railway sets (plus green screen) in order to do your film on the cheap is quite heroic, but the feeble satire of the Paris Hilton/Kardashian/whoever lead just leaves a void at the heart of it all, and not in a good way.

I've not written anything about films I've seen on here in ages, have I? Some of them don't really need it - it should be easy enough to guess that I've seen Guardians of the Galaxy and loved it, because demographics. Ditto The Lego Movie (genuinely an incredibly smart film as well as a thoroughly fun one - layers within layers, and a desire to interrogate itself of which most 'serious' films can only dream). Then you get stuff like Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, or X-Men: Days of Future Past, where it's worth going to the big screen for the spectacle, even if the film doesn't quite hold together. Or, in the latter case, is about 80% nonsense. As against the first Hunger Games which I saw pretty much by accident, but made a very coherent job of surfing the zeitgeist, at least until the last ten minutes. Oh, and finally got around to Frozen which is...OK? Better songs than Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, but I'd otherwise rank them pretty similarly - passable, but no Pixar. Some cults I can parse; other ones perplex me.

A little less obviously:
Chronicle, Max Landis' found-footage superhero film. Very compelling, if slightly derailed the second you realise one of the newly-empowered teens is clearly a men's rights activist avant la lettre. Also on a skewed superhero tip: The Specials. Rob Lowe, James Gunn, next to no budget, fake documentary style. Flawed, but fascinating. I hope the superhero cinema boom will enable more of these odd little subgenre pieces, rather than swallowing them.
Becket: only the second best film in which Peter O'Toole plays Henry II, but given the other one is The Lion in Winter, that's still no small accolade.
Sightseers: my least favourite Ben Wheatley film. But again, when you consider the competition...
The Philadelphia Story - I saw this on stage years back, with Kevin Spacey and some other people of note, none of whom I can now remember. They were fine, but they weren't Katharine Hepburn, or Jimmy Stewart, let alone Cary Grant. What a cast. What a film.
This Is Tomorrow - Saint Etienne's documentary about the Royal Festival Hall. The most profoundly restful film I've ever seen.
'His Heavy Heart' - the concluding segment, for now, of Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins' short film cycle. Essentially, David Lynch directing Vic & Bob. I hope a DVD release will get the whole project the wider audience it deserves.
Charlie Chaplin's The Circus went round at least twice as a backdrop in a restaurant. I don't really get most of the silent clowns at all, but Chaplin always makes me smile if not laugh, even in such a chopped-about setting.
Tarkovsky's Stalker - so this is the shared source Jeff Vandermeer, M John Harrison and the rest have all been 'homaging' lately. On the other hand, I tend not to struggle to stay awake in their versions, so they certainly bring something to the party.
alexsarll: (pangolin)
Sylvester McCoy!
Giles Coren. Ale Meat Cider.
Syllables all gone.


In advance, I hadn't been sure whether or not I was going on the Slutwalk. There just felt like too many potential pitfalls in the set-up. Too many cogent objections had been raised - in particular the artist formerly known as Belle de Jour seemed like someone worth taking seriously on the topic (though in the event I think her concerns were misplaced - I saw a couple of big contingents of sex workers, not getting any apparent gyp). And yes, the bloody Socialist Workers were out as usual, trying to hijack proceedings - but beautifully, many people were grabbing their NO MEANS NO placards and then stripping off the SWP identifiers. Which sums up why I'm glad I went - for the most part, people just seemed to Get It. It was OK to be dressed up, or undressed, or just dressed normally. Everyone was being really good-natured. It reminded me of the first time I went on a Reclaim the Streets in the mid-nineties, and they weren't being all Two Minute Hate about the protest, they were going Situationist-inspired and taking the approach 'What if you gave a party and everyone came?' Hence music and playfulness soundtracking proceedings as often as slogans. I've missed that. Even as I spent the noughties becoming increasingly convinced that most of the world's problems would be solved by a few (thousand) bullets in the right heads, it was good to be reminded of the nineties when we had the less glamorous, more systemic problems which came with the End of History, problems which seemed better transcended than directly opposed. That was all thoroughly incoherent, wasn't it? What I'm trying to say, in contravention of the obligatory Father Ted banner, is Up With This Sort Of Thing.
(Up too with Zoo Lates, probably the most classless event I've attended in London, with everyone from the Sloanes to the Essex stereotypes happily mingling and cooing at penguins. There were even a couple of furries out in public - I rather hoped the lion would get loose so they could experience the full spectrum of life as a zebra)

As regular readers will know, I love the films of Powell & Pressburger, and consider A Matter of Life and Death to be the single best film ever made by anyone, ever. But I haven't even watched all the films of theirs I own on DVD (because then there'd be none left to see!), and I only just got round to Powell's controversial solo outing Peeping Tom. And what a strange creature it is. It looks like a P&P film, in the depth of colour and the sheer Englishness, but you can tell from the off that something is very, very wrong. And that uncanny quality, the sense of a nasty stranger in a much-loved friend's clothes, must have been a factor in the damning critical reception it got. But if it hadn't been received with a level of anger and incomprehension that ended Powell's career, you almost suspect he'd have been disappointed. And where could he have gone? You'd only have something like Henry VIII, sat there awkwardly at the end of the Complete Works when Shakespeare has already said his grand farewell in The Tempest. But not said it so fondly, for this is a poison pen letter to cinema, a mea culpa, a prescient warning that "all this filming isn't good for you". Michael - that shy young man from the sample on St Etienne's So Tough, who always seemed so nice - is one of the most psychologically consistent psychos I've ever seen in a film, resisting that collapse into generic Evil Loony which they mostly make. It's very, very good, but I don't know that I ever want to watch it again.
(Addendum: I'd taped it from TV in 2005, and beforehand there was a fragment of Film 2005 in which Jonathan Ross was talking about promising child actor Dakota Fanning. Dakota Fanning whom I last saw having all the sex and drugs in The Runaways. What a difference six years make)
alexsarll: (bernard)
Jacques Tourneur's Night of the Demon is perhaps best known as the source of "It's in the trees! It's coming!" on Kate Bush's 'Hounds of Love', but Mark Gatiss' recent history of horror made some mention of it, and got me rather intrigued. And yes, it's very good, a proper old-fashioned frightener like Dead of Night. It's an expansion, adaptation and updating (albeit only to the fifties, when you can smoke in airports and board moving trains and shoot mentals up with speed and not get in trouble when they run out of a window - happy days) of MR James' 'Casting the Runes', and like so many screen takes on his stories, it works a lot better than you might expect. This in spite of the producer overriding the objections of screenwriter, director and star and showing an actual demon, which is clearly a cheap and dated model effect - yet somehow still works.
(As in the James original, the sorcerous villain is named Karswell, which in fifties accents sounds quite like Carsmile, leading one to occasionally wonder what [livejournal.com profile] carsmilesteve is up to. This becomes particularly acute at one seeming mention of Carsmile's Demon, which I could only picture as an indie cousin of Maxwell's Demon)

I read a piece in the paper about Patrick Keiller's Robinson films shortly after reading an essay by him which was one of the better contributions to a somewhat disappointing anthology called Restless Cities. The two I watched both consist of Paul Scofield narrating the thoughts and journeys he takes with this Robinson, over (mostly) still camera shots of...nothing in particular. London feels very Saint Etienne - at one stage Robinson wishes, like 'Finisterre', that the 19th century had never happened - but where St Et love London, Robinson is more pessimistic even than his fan Iain Sinclair, thinking of it as "a city full of interesting people, most of whom...would prefer to be elsewhere". "As a city it no longer exists" he claims, in 1992, seeing only the worst in the future. And of course we know that the fears of 1992 were misplaced then, but they seem more applicable now. One can only hope that this is the human tendency to forecast doom again, and that they are once more misplaced*.
Robinson in Space, the sequel, roves further afield, making "a peripatetic study of the problem of England", looking at the out of town shopping centres and the container parks, talking about the present of a country whose past includes the Martian invasion of the late 19th century, Sherlock Holmes and Dracula as surely as it does Thatcher and the dawn of the motorways. The library's DVD seized up at the end, but somehow it didn't much matter.

If you'd told me ten years ago that Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie could make a film together that would look boring, I would not have believed it, yet trailers for The Tourist entice me not at all. And yet, Depp remains a hero.
"I think it was Michael Eisner, the head of Disney at the time, who was quoted as saying, ‘[Jack Sparrow is] ruining the movie.’ Depp reveals to Smith, however, that he remained unfazed by the studio’s hysteria. “Upper-echelon Disney-ites, going, What’s wrong with him? Is he, you know, like some kind of weird simpleton? Is he drunk? By the way, is he gay?… And so I actually told this woman who was the Disney-ite… ‘But didn’t you know that all my characters are gay?’ Which really made her nervous.”

Bit of a misfire of a weekend, all told. One party I'd intended to rendezvous with relocated, and if ever there was a night when you didn't want your boots to somehow extrude an internal nail, it's got to be one where you're attempting a glam stomp. Which then of course left me unfit for Tubewalking on Sunday. Oh, and These Animal Men's new incarnation is distinctly samey, but that may be because all their effects pedals were snowed in. Still. One goes on.

*Speaking of things misplaced, Michael Bywater's Lost Worlds: What Have We Lost & Where Did it Go? is not the book one might expect. At first it seems a little fogeyish in its laments for Meccano, proper doctors, the rubbishness of modern music - but Bywater knows that for all the arguments he can muster against modern music, they're also a generational obligation, not to be trusted. He knows that the proper doctor may have had a reassuring manner, but that most of the time he couldn't do much to stop you being ill. He knows, in short, that the past was often not all it's now cracked up to be. Many of the entries have a sting in the tail, as when he moans about how everywhere in Europe smells the same nowadays - but then twists and says how much better that is than the smell of fire and burning flesh 60 years ago. And he writes beautifully: "The gifts of life do not turn to dust, nor does loss cast a shadow. Loss sheds its light on what remains, and in that light all that we have and all that we have had glows more brightly still."
alexsarll: (seal)
On Friday I went into town to collect comics and elephants; I was particularly enamoured of Green Park's Happy Herd. Because London apparently wasn't hot enough, in spite of cash machines being painful to the touch, the bus I lazily got home had the heaters on. And then got stuck in traffic. Thanks for that. Got home and lay in front of the fan for a while to recover prior to the evening. Because it's not as if AFE normally has at least a small drag contingent anyway, this month they decided to go all out and take that as the theme, so I was obliged to join in. To those who have seen the pictures on Facebook, I apologise. A good night nevertheless. This being the first part of lovely [livejournal.com profile] xandratheblue's birthday celebrations, the second part taking place in Richmond on Saturday with Pimm's where [livejournal.com profile] augstone, in spite of being a colonial and a novice, very nearly won the croquet. Shocking.
Obviously, being civilised, we paused for Doctor Who, and mostly cried - for me it was the stars and the Enoch Soames (except not) scene. I was surprised that they didn't go near the ear (I was convinced the beast would get it during the death throes), the 'godmother' line has taken some working out, and I could have done without bloody Athlete, but otherwise that was just lovely. I'd like a return to historicals which don't feel the need to wedge in an alien, but in the meantime this sidelined the monster nicely and came pretty close. Certainly I enjoyed it a lot more than the other Who I got through this week, Enemy of the Daleks, which being written by an antipodean, uses the cane toad situation as the framework for a Dalek story, with disappointing results - and remarkably, even worse incidental music than Athlete.

Aside from the excellent Dave spy spoof 'Zimbani', the other recent viewing worth noting is that I finally got round to watching Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, one of those TV adaptations of such an era that pretty much everyone in it, even the tiniest roles, is an actor of massive stature. Patrick Stewart turns up for about five minutes and doesn't even speak, for heavens' sake! The Valeyard, aka the voice of St Etienne's Finisterre, is the main support, but ultimately Alec Guinness owns the show, even the episodes in which he barely appears. It's that voice, which always leaves me wondering, would it be worth sounding like that if the price were being as beaten as Alec Guinness' characters always seem to be? Almost.
alexsarll: (Default)
Here's a bit of a join-the-dots: sadly I can't make it myself, but on Saturday, Stewart Lee is reading from one of the founding texts of psychogeography, Arthur Machen's 'N'. Which is also a very good horror story. The story is about Stoke Newington, and so it's an appropriate part of the Stoke Newington Literary Festival, which also has an appearance by China Mieville. China Mieville was apparently meant to be reviving Swamp Thing, and work on the comic was well advanced, but has now been binned - because rather than a Mature Readers series, DC want Swamp Thing back in their main superhero universe. Even though most of that universe has lately been telling 'mature' stories anyway, in the sense meaning 'immature', all blood and guts and angst. Even though Swamp Thing going Mature Readers was where America discovered Alan Moore, where the groundwork was laid for Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison going over there, where - to simplify ever so slightly - American comics became worth reading. And they're backing away from the chance to do that again (edit: here's more on what we've lost). Which makes me worry that DC is still on the wrong lines. Which is particularly unfortunate given Paul Cornell (a name Doctor Who fans should know) is apparently about to sign an exclusive with them. I already felt some trepidation - his best comics work all having been at Marvel, most notably the cancelled, glorious Captain Britain & MI:13 - but looked forward to what he was going to do with Lex Luthor in Action Comics. Still, I don't want him trapped in a company which makes such reliably bad editorial decisions lately. On the other hand, his most recent output elsewhere was BBC medical horror pilot Pulse, and that wasn't very good. As a massive hypochondriac, I expected it to make difficult viewing - but because I would be getting freaked out, not because I was so bored by the parade of cliches, played mainly by actors you recall being quite good in something a few years back but not having seen much of lately. I don't know, maybe people who like medical drama - and I know there are plenty - will enjoy it more. I did notice that contrary to advance hype, while Cornell scripted, it was based on an idea by someone else. That may explain it.

Wednesday was always going to be interesting; Dickon's new event, Against Nature, at Proud, with The Vichy Government and the Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra on the same bill. Proud's South Gallery turns out to be significantly less vile than the other bit; it could still have done without the staff pointedly rearranging the furniture while Dickon and [livejournal.com profile] retro_geek were trying to keep people dancing after the acts, but those who did stay were treated to the unexpected ballroom dance skills of [livejournal.com profile] keith_totp. Vichy were distorted to fvck - which is how I like them best - and MFMO were deeply numerous, appropriate given they had two new songs about fleas. Plus, improvisational tales of Empire and derring-do from Jingo & Butterfield, who apparently caused one walk-out, clearly from humourless nitwits. All in all, a good night, which is not something I ever thought I would say about Proud.

A venue I used to love was the Garage, which finally reopened about a year back now, but to which I'd not been until a surprise trip last night. It's disconcertingly clean and shiny now, and has a higher ceiling, but that's probably for the best because it was always a bit of a sweatbox so yesterday could otherwise have been Hellish. I was there to see the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, always a band where I've quite liked what I heard but failed to investigate further. And after last night, I possibly understand them even less - which is not a bad thing. I had them down as, more or less, the slightly less daft Horrors - but at its finest moments, the gig could almost have passed for the Sisters. The singer reminds me of that kid everyone vaguely knew who wanted to be Dave Wyndorf, and almost made it work. The crowd were a real mix - punks, psychobillies, retro chic kids, and one man who looked like Mugatu from Zoolander modelling his new 'scary clown' look. Also, much more mixed-race than rock crowds tend to be. I enjoyed it, but I still didn't entirely feel it, if that makes sense. The best explanation I can manage is that they sound quite Earthbound, something I've only experienced once before, when seeing of all people Eric Clapton (don't ask). I think all the bands who really sing to me are trying to escape the sublunary sphere - whether through traditional transcendence, the reflection in a nightbus window or just via someone else's pants. And here I don't hear that.
alexsarll: (Default)
So here I sit in the library on a dismal day at the fag-end of a decade on which nobody quite seems able to put their finger, but a decade at the start of which I wouldn't have been sat writing anything like this, having been strictly a messageboards and emails boy. The post-christmas milestones have been passed; thank you to all who made my birthday, and I remain amazed that the Freaky Trigger pub crawl could find an OK and a great pub within minutes of where I worked for eight years but neither of which I had ever entered (and about how many viable post-apocalyptic Ant&Dec TV formats there are, but over that topic it is probably best to draw a veil). Which means now it's just about waiting out the last 36 hours. Back home, my CD player currently contains one of the first great albums of the previous decade, St Etienne's Foxbase Alpha (albeit in that most noughties of formats, the 2CD deluxe reissue) and a burned copy (the second most noughties format) of what may be one of the next decade's first great albums, the new one from Los Campesinos!. I have no idea what I'm saying here, I just felt the moment should be marked, even if it's not much of a moment.
alexsarll: (crest)
Withnail & I cast, director reunited for self-indulgent but fun radio show in which they talk about the making of the film. Bit of a disconnect for those us who now mainly associate Paul McGann's voice with Doctor Who audios.

The only downside of weeks off is not having 52 of them a year. Have been contentedly moseying around London, reading in parks, being inexplicably good at bowling and watching others prove somewhat disappointing as trappers. Only the North so far - from Golders Green to Barnsbury, but even that has so much in it (Arthur Machen knew that London was a sort of infinity, even if he was hampered by not having the word 'fractal' yet and having to talk around it); I think I'll head West later, that being my terra incognita and my having no plans today past the haircut.
The MP3 player is really coming into its own on these wanderings, too - whether it's Stars on the nightbus, or Beirut and St Etienne in the sun. Not Los Campesinos! so much, though; they were my most-played for a while, but since I got them on the DLR as we emerged from the Bank tunnel and into the sunshine pre-Tubewalk...well, that was just too perfect.

Finally saw Robin Ince last night; I realise I'm a couple of years behind the comedy curve here but he's bloody brilliant. And before the gig, our new leader cycled past the venue. It may have been for the best that none of the acts saw him.

Another day, another attempt to undermine the BBC - this time by claiming that Head of Fiction Jane Tranter is some form of localised Stalin, intent on asserting control over all BBC drama and comedy output. Nobody seems to have noticed the key flaw in this scenario; almost every piece of British TV fiction worth watching comes from the Tranter empire, and it's not as if there's a uniformity among them. A little too much emphasis on 'feelings' and 'human interest' in shows which should be about something more interesting, perhaps, but that's endemic across UK and US TV, so I'm hesitant to blame its expression in BBC programming on one woman.
alexsarll: (howl)
Sentences which could easily be misinterpreted: "I was mourning the end of a long-term relationship with a massive bender."

Grant Morrison has abandoned The Authority, putting most of the blame on the predominantly poor reviews the first issue received. What? Where would he be, where would we be, if he'd quit Animal Man or Doom Patrol or JLA over the reviews which missed the point? Even with his current Batman run, a lot of people were underwhelmed until he deployed the issue that pulled it all together. On top of which, this is a man who more than anyone else understands art's roots in magic. That first, brilliant set-up issue of The Authority began with our world, our poor hero-less world...and then threw in The Authority to save us. You can't leave a spell like that half-cast, man! And for pity's sake, it was only meant to be a four issue run anyway. If he'd been on schedule in the first place, it would all have been written before those bad reviews even appeared.
I'm still looking forward to his DC Universe stuff, obviously. But this has really dented my respect for him.

It's little more than a month since I first saw The Long Blondes live; this time I knew the new album and they played 'You Could Have Both', but I still have my reservations, and they come down to one thing: Kate Jackson's not the 'Kate Jackson' of the songs. I say this not as any criticism of her, you understand - only with the same sense of regret as accompanied my realisation that Viggo Mortensen is not actually Aragorn. I love the Blondes' music for its loneliness, the predatory gleam in its eye, its desperation. My kind host [livejournal.com profile] cappuccino_kid tells me that in the smaller shows in earlier days, more of that sort of stuff came across. But at a triumphant Forum show, with the crowd singing back every line...well, Kate's too busy having fun to get caught up in all that angst, and who can blame her? It suits some of the songs (from 'Guilt' onwards, the show really comes alive) but I am forced to conclude that, like St Etienne among others, for me The Long Blondes are a band where the live incarnation just isn't quite what I'm after.

Hushang Golshiri's The Prince seems to be accounted quite the classic of Persian literature - Golshiri was imprisoned by the Shah and no more popular under the ayatollahs, which always augurs well. Nor have I any criticism of James Buchan's translation, or his introduction (which one critic correctly classifies as "lucid"). The problem is...there's only so far a translation can go. The back cover told me of an ageing prince looking back on his life and his dynasty's extinction, which made me think of Lampedusa's The Leopard; the tone sounded somehow akin to that obscurely poisonous quality in Mishima. These are both writers I've enjoyed in translation, and yes, there are resemblances to both. But the hallucinatory shifts in identity, the portraits unconfined by their frames...these reminded me more of Polanski's Repulsion or Cronenberg's Spider*. Imagine trying to write those out as prose. Now, imagine trying to translate that prose. Oh, and all the characters are obliquely identified historical and political figures about whom your translation's readers are unlikely to know much, if anything. Imagine a Mongolian reading The Damned United, or a member of a remote tribe whose first encounter with Western literature is The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier, and you will have some handle on my frustration.
The LoEG comparison's an interesting one, because straight after finishing The Prince I read an earlier, simpler Alan Moore - the recoloured 'Killing Joke'**. A book Moore has damn near disowned, purportedly because he doesn't feel it means anything in the wider world - it's just about Batman and the Joker being very similar, and since they don't exist, so what? Well, I'm not so sure about that. It's not his finest hour, for sure - like most of his DCU work bar Swamp Thing it's maybe a little sketchy, a little hurried. But would it mean anything to someone who'd never encountered these characters before? I think maybe it would. A murderous madman says all it needs is "one bad day", and any one of us could end up like him; another madman tries to prove him wrong. That's universal, isn't it? At least as much so, I would contend, as Golshiri's last scion of a deposed dynasty, at once ashamed and envious of his royal ancestors' excesses. Batman and the Joker don't exist - but nowadays, do faded princelings? Only a handful in the gossip columns; for the rest of us, strictly by analogy.

*Yes, I know it was a book first. But still...
**Yes, the new colouring job is much smarter, much more evocative, and simply better. But perhaps not so much so that the book's worth buying again if you already own it. Handily, I didn't, and this was free.

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