Literary Review http://www.culturecatch.com/literary en A Fetal Warrior Acts Cutesy http://www.culturecatch.com/node/4121 <span>A Fetal Warrior Acts Cutesy</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>June 11, 2022 - 17:50</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/literary" hreflang="en">Literary Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/915" hreflang="en">children&#039;s book</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2022/2022-06/pfreddy_supreme_court.jpeg?itok=9kaSWAC3" width="1200" height="1600" alt="Thumbnail" title="pfreddy_supreme_court.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Back in early June of 2019, while meandering about the BookExpo at New York's Javits Center, one of the industry's hugest trade shows, I started browsing the offerings of a Christian book distributor, thinking I could pick up a free gift for my rather devout sister-in-law.</p> <p>The choices were profuse. However, what caught my eye was what I thought at first a children's picture book. A thin, little tome, a mere 19 pages with a cover drawing of a contented soon-to-be-born babe in its mother's stomach. This turned out to be <i>The Adventures of Pfreddy the Fetus: Pfreddy Travels to the Planning Parenthood Place</i>.</p> <p>The author of this book was, I assumed, using a protective pseudonym, B. E. Nyce. The bit braver, not untalented illustrator was one Gary Donald Sanchez, who also illustrated several children’s books by a David Haave, including the enticingly titled <i>My New Boots for My Daddy’s Farm.</i></p> <p>The publisher of both titles is Xulon Press, a Christian self-publisher. Cost per title for any author with the right view point and some cash is currently $2,399 with some additional costs noted. You might or might not have heard of some of the titles being promoted on their book site: Tanora Parham's <i>Distracted: Moving from Satan’s Plan into God's Purpose</i>; Elena Restituyo's <i>The Man Called Covid-19: The Greatest Magician</i>; and Stan Cunningham's <i>The King and the Clop</i>, a story about the donkey colt that Jesus rode on into Jerusalem.</p> <p>Now back in 2019, I thought this was something to write about. So arriving home, I immediately placed <i>Pfreddy</i> on the top of my to-do pile, where it lay semi-forgotten for 36 months, eventually buried under various films' production notes, a colonoscopy report, and 8x10 glossies of some Corey-Haim like star. (I was cleaning out my files from my teen-mag editing days.)</p> <p>What finally spurred me into action was seeing Audrey Diwan's <i>Happening</i> at the recent New Directors/New Films Festival. In this grippingly honest, no-holds-barred film, a 23-year-old lit student seeks an abortion in 1963 France, an act for which she, her doctor, and anyone else who aids her can be sent to prison. The <a href="https://youtu.be/HAQVYYqj3Ro" target="_blank"><i>Happening</i></a> is being screened now in theaters while our governmental institutions are reenacting the same plotline in our courts.</p> <p>But back to Pfreddy with the annoying "P" that seems to have been added to avoid copyright infringement. Yes, there was once a <i>Freddy the Fetus </i>by Ted Lupo, which was "distributed in the interest of merrier maternities [by] the makers of Filibon® Prenatal Supplements."</p> <p>Anyway, you should know at this point that Pfreddy's sex has not been designated, although a male preference is voiced.</p> <article class="embedded-entity align-center"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2022/2022-06/phreddy-cover.jpeg?itok=mnMYxgtR" width="427" height="649" alt="Thumbnail" title="phreddy-cover.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Moving on, the pre-babe's adventure begins with a <b>"Yahoooooooo! I'm alive. Well, almost alive. I'm a fetus. </b></p> <p><b>"A fetus is a miracle that grows in a mommy’s tummy and becomes a human being . . . . My story starts when my mom met a man with a red ’57 Chevy. She loves vintage cars. Wait a minute. I forgot that she said not to start there, so I'll begin in another place.</b></p> <p><b>"I remember being in a cozy safe place, just spinning around. I love spinning; it's soothing."</b></p> <p>Hey! Is Pfreddy recalling being a sperm? Would kids comprehend what mom did with that Chevy driver?  What is Mr. Nyce going for? Is this a satire? (I know B.E. is a Mr. because his dedication goes: "To my four favorite former fetuses: Eric, Megan, Kelly and Bryan and their wonderful mother Kathryn.")</p> <p>Yes, this is not a book for juveniles. The purpose here is clearly is to guilt trip pregnant women into not having an abortion. They are warned to especially avoid entering through the doors of their neighborhood "Planning Parenthood Place," because not only will they be decimating a wonderful life, the robins will also stop singing. (Depressed birds are pictured on page 16.)</p> <p>Oh, by the way, a Fairy God-Fetus, who makes an early appearance, has bestowed Pfreddy with the power to have lengthy discussions with their Mom and also the ability to converse with other fetuses in other tummies. But the Mom-talks are the best.</p> <p><b>"Do animals abort their pregnancies?"</b></p> <p><b>"No."</b></p> <p><b>I asked her, "Then why do people abort their pregnancies?"</b></p> <p><b>She said, "Because they can."</b></p> <p><b>"Why?"</b></p> <p><b>She said, "Because the Supreme Court said they could."</b></p> <p><b>I asked: "What is the Supreme Court?"</b></p> <p>After a few more back and forths about aborting <b>"fetuses before they become viable," Pfreddy asks, "Are the judges' doctorates in medicine?"</b></p> <p><b>She said, "No."</b></p> <p><b>I said, 'It's nice they hold so many degrees, but have they ever held a fetus?"</b></p> <p><b>My mom shook her head sadly and said, "I don't think so."</b></p> <p>What's insidious here is Nyce's fabrications about Planned Parenthood (PP) giving those who are pregnant only one option: to abort. What about the organization's invaluable and extremely affordable (sometimes free) services for those in need of general health care, STD testing, emergency contraception (the morning-after pill), birth control information, and HIV services -- and that's just for starters. (<a href="https://www.plannedparenthood.org/get-care" target="_blank">https://www.plannedparenthood.org/get-care</a>)</p> <p>In any case,  one day, on the way to PP, Pfreddy and his mom, who might subconsciously just want to get rid of you know who, meet a woman who's just aborted her twins at PP. Though upset, this traumatized soul, who's in tears, still has to rush back to her house to prepare for a "Save the Seal" rally that night. "<b>She wanted to look her best in case it was on the six o’clock news." </b>Nyce seems to be arguing that these "baby-killers" really take the cake.</p> <p>But what's scary about this book is not solely the distorted content. There's a seductiveness here in the engaging drawings and what might be deemed a highly imaginative pro-life take on the issue. That <i>Pfreddy</i> might just wind up as a Christmas stocking stuffer and succeed with its dishonesty is the unnerving part.</p> <p>But to be honest, I am almost looking forward to the sequel. You can bet Pfreddy the Fetus will be carrying an AR-15 assault weapon in utero.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4121&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="fYse9L2_y9DZyg2HWWvfVJ-7chUBs7KTiCrq7-iA998"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 11 Jun 2022 21:50:50 +0000 Brandon Judell 4121 at http://www.culturecatch.com Survival As Polite Defiance http://www.culturecatch.com/node/4114 <span>Survival As Polite Defiance</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>May 17, 2022 - 16:13</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/literary" hreflang="en">Literary Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/879" hreflang="en">auto biography</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div style="text-align:start; -webkit-text-stroke-width:0px"> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2022/2022-05/an-accidental-icon-book-cover.jpeg?itok=Nty4pZ-t" width="1108" height="1556" alt="Thumbnail" title="an-accidental-icon-book-cover.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article></div> <p><em>An Accidental Icon</em></p> <p>by Norman Scott (Hodder &amp; Stoughton)</p> <p>Had his life gone as others had planned it, Norman Scott's would have long been over. An unsolved murder on the moors of Southern England, his body discovered beside that of Rinka, his adored great dane. Plans have a tendency to warp and change so Scott thankfully remains alive and well. His life, one worthy of writing about, but not an easy trip to have survived and prospered through. He transcribes with great candour, details that make their awfulness seem strangely benign. A perfect mix of farce and tragedy, it represents a world most fiction writers would steer clear of for fear of being disbelieved, though it also perfectly proves that revenge is a dish best served stony cold.</p> <p>To modern eyes Scott was a victim of grooming, though one with an innate tendency to survive. Sexually abused by his remote and imperious mother, after a term in remand at her behest for the puported theft of a bale of hay, and a stay psychiatric care, this needy youth fell under the gaze of the exploitative and powerful politician Jeremy Thorpe, once seen as a future Prime Minister of England. When he got his hands on Scott he repeatedly performed the first of many acts of rape. He also kept his National Insurance papers thus hampering his victim's right to paid work. An act of imperious control that would became Thorpe's eventual self-generated nemesis.</p> <p>As with many whose human peers emotionally disappoint them, Scott developed a passion for animals, horses primarily, and dogs, that yet remains, although he has also maintained a loving relationship for the past quarter of a century. Fame is often a poisoned chalice that falls upon those least prepared to savour and survive it. With more twists than dime store pulp fiction, Scott traverses the <em>Swinging Sixties</em> in a medicated haze of prescription drugs. Along the way he has affairs, the most notable being with the artist Francis Bacon, is befriended by the ballerina Margot Fonteyn, and the heir to the Guinness dynasty. He also forges a successful career as a fashion model and designer, whilst surviving a myriad of suicide attempts, a plethora of prescription drugs, and a brief stint of homelessness where he takes up residence in the cubicle of a public toilet.</p> <p>Along the way his on-off-on affair with Jeremy Thorpe, a charming, ambitious man, but also in the closet. Scott becomes a problem which Thorpe decides to solve by having his lover murdered. The dog becomes the first and only victim since the murder weapon jammed twice. Eventually a vulnerable young man is thrown to the lions of the establishment at a time when homophobia was a moral right and not a facet of ignorance. Scott, duly crucified and shamed lost the court case, but the damage to Thorpe's career was irredeemable. A hollow victory that saw him fade from public view.</p> <p>With the ensuing years and the emergence of new evidence Scott has been reassessed and understood, portrayed with tremendous aplomb and sympathy by Ben Whishaw in the film <em>A Very English Scandal</em> which starred Hugh Grant as a brilliantly cadaverous Thorpe. Norman Scott emerges from these pages as a sanguine and genial soul, who when young was his own worst enemy. Now eighty-two he lives quietly in an ancient cottage on Exmoor surrounded by his menagerie. A grandfather of four, and a father of two, he is a modern personage who has lived beyond the time of simple labels to become <em>An Accidental Icon</em>. A man perfectly entitled to having the last word.</p> <p>Here is a book that deserves to be <em>The Naked Civil Servant</em> for the modern world. Affectionately dedicated to his late friend April Ashley, it is a crash course on survival, a source of pleasure as well as inspiration that leaves the reader with the warmth of a lingering inner smile. An example that truth prevails against the odds, sometimes.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4114&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="Kxghi54nRvFfwa5TIAN1VJ06iIQSL1fh6MyCoCZp_Fs"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 17 May 2022 20:13:41 +0000 Robert Cochrane 4114 at http://www.culturecatch.com Then For Now http://www.culturecatch.com/node/4105 <span>Then For Now</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>April 23, 2022 - 17:29</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/literary" hreflang="en">Literary Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/612" hreflang="en">fiction</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="675" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2022/2022-04/they-kay-dick.jpeg?itok=bt5ybCSL" title="they-kay-dick.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Photo by Helen Craig. Flask Walk, London May 1962</figcaption></figure><p><em>They</em> by Kay Dick</p> <p>(McNally US / Faber &amp; Faber UK)</p> <p>By the time the novelist Kay Dick published <em>They</em> in 1977, she hadn't unleashed a novel since 1962 when <em>Sunday</em> appeared. That had been heralded as the first in a sequence that stubornly failed to materialise, as did her projected biographies of Colette and Carlyle. Advances paid were returned to the publishers and she, bedevilled by writer's block, garnered a reputation as a troublesome force, as well as an unreliable one. Deadlines for reviews were missed, and she became an exacting and techy presence. </p> <p>These flaws were assiduously detailed by her former friend Michael de la Noy (1934-2002) in his obituary for her published in <em>The Independent</em>, over which he was roundly castigated. Though not untrue it was a slanted, unfair affair. Peter Burton (1945-2011), the writer and editor, another of her friends turned acquaintance, confided he'd turned down the brief for fear of falling into the trap that de la Noy undoubtedly had. Dick published a final novel in 1982 <em>The Shelf</em> a dissection of a lesbian tryst, and after that a literary silence descended till her death in 2001.</p> <p><em>They</em> was not a commercial success, garnered a few cursory, if non-plussed reviews, won an obscure literary prize, and was remaindered within two years. It is easy to see why. The novel is like nothing else she'd previously published. Dick's books were generally thinly disguised fillets of her own history served as fiction. <em>They</em> arrived devoid of those expectations and that context. A cuckoo of a work in her literary nest.</p> <p>Hard to categorise it has elements of nightmare and fable, but possesses a haunting directness, a beautiful brevity of style. Her language is crafted and direct, effortlessly pared into ten interlocking pieces, a nightmare delivered in prosaic terms.</p> <p>The central figure is never identified, a genderless figment of the reader's choice who exists in a world where the arts are under siege and emotions percieved as a flaw and a curse. Books vanish. Galleries emptied. Art is destroyed, their creators arrested to be reprocessed and returned mindless and submissive to a bland and sterile existence. All this is the work of "they" who are never explained, merely mentioned as a threat, a dangerous force seen distantly. There are elements of sci-fi without a space-age backdrop, which is rural England whose pastoral elements have been imbued with aspects of menace. A chilling and dystopian fable. A sinister work of tremendous panache that has survived to find a belated, audience, it would make a claustrophobic and haunting movie.</p> <p>Dick's vision smacks of the harnessing of her creative and emotional fears, her paranoia, and unease. The book is never abstract, but has an element of disconnect at its heart. On reflection, it is not without context when viewed agaist the early days of her career. It is forgotten that she was by the age of 26 in the 1940s, the first female head of a publishing house in the UK. Good friends with George Orwell, Dick was the mitigating force, as evidenced by his inscription in her copy of <em>Animal Farm</em>, in getting that work published. Orwell's influence permeates <em>They</em> and is therefore a novel imbued by personal association, albeit in a lost context. A lingering influence that wasn't considered relevant in the seventies.</p> <p>This is a book that richly deserves its strange return journey of recognition. Discovered in a charity shop in Bath for fifty pence, it has travelled swiftly forwards for genuine and deserved rehabilitation. The subject of an intense bidding war by publishers, and with accolades from Margaret Atwood and Edna O'Brien, my guess remains were she around, Kay Dick's exacting requirements and demands would have stalled, or derailed her moment of rediscovery. I never met her but via her former partner, the novelist Kathleen Farrell 1912-1999 felt the tremors and witnessed the rumblings of her mercurial, insecure nature.</p> <p>Hers is a life worthy of reassessment and with <em>They</em> that process has begun. A striking figure, prone to outbursts of charm and generosity, as well as awkwardness, she struck a poised stance with her monocle, tweeds, and cigarette holder. A friend to the poet Stevie Smith, the novelist Ivy Compton Burnett, an associaton that culminated in an illuminating book, she remains a glimmering filament from a glittering literary time. </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4105&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="sffpiFGpFCQ1j6Enqb3m4YQetKcbRRppGvo8Oazz2Io"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 23 Apr 2022 21:29:03 +0000 Robert Cochrane 4105 at http://www.culturecatch.com Grazing in the Stacks at The Library of America http://www.culturecatch.com/node/4099 <span>Grazing in the Stacks at The Library of America</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/7162" lang="" about="/user/7162" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Gary Lucas</a></span> <span>April 12, 2022 - 15:05</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/literary" hreflang="en">Literary Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/911" hreflang="en">criticism</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2022/2022-04/img_5544_1.jpeg?itok=Rno5Lhqw" width="1200" height="1160" alt="Thumbnail" title="img_5544_1.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>More goodness / gracious from The Library of America after lunch uptown at the Century Club yesterday with old friend Max Rudin, publisher of <em>The LOA</em>, who a) picked up the tab, and b) invited me back to graze in their offices on 62nd Street, where I lay my hands on these two treasure troves of wit and style.</p> <p>Pauline Kael of course needs no introduction, I devoured her first anthology <em>I Lost It at the Movies</em> while in junior high. Always a scintillating read even when I disagreed with her assessments of various films (she was so right in praising Bertolucci's <em>Last Tango in Paris</em> but so wrong about excoriating Antonioni's <em>La Notte</em>. But opinions are like, um, you know what. Style is everything when it comes to reviewing anything especially films -- which is why Renata Adler and later Anthony Lane were / are so good in picking up the Kaelian banner at <em>The New Yorker</em> viz. their film reviews. A nice person (sometimes), when Pauline was Chief Film Critic at <em>The</em> <em>New</em> <em>Yorker</em> she very kindly mentored a friend of mine at Yale and gave this fledgling writer a leg up to get a short story of his published in the pages of the mag. He went on to have a successful career as a screen writer in Hollywood.</p> <p>b/w</p> <p><em>The Cool School</em> -- in which my late friend and collaborator (yep) Glenn O'Brien collects various hipster scribblings, heavy on the Beats and assorted mavericks -- including old buddy Richard Meltzer and (to quote Charlie Parker on Dizzy Gillespie) "his worthy constituent" Lester Bangs (another long gone friend).</p> <p>The best here imho is an excerpt from legendary post-war Left Bank ex-pat Iris Owens, who ran with George Plimpton and <a href="https://www.theparisreview.org"><em>The</em> <em>Paris Review</em></a> crowd back in the day, with an excerpt from her (relatively straight) novel <em>After Claude</em>. Iris also btw wrote possibly the most filthy, daring and provocative hard-core pornography for Maurice Girodias's celebrated Olympia Press Traveler's Companion Series under the pseudonym Harriet Daimler. (True confession: Iris was a dear friend of mine.) Check out <em>Sin for Breakfast</em>, <em>The Woman Thing</em>, and <em>Darling</em> if you can find them. This anthology's main sin of omission, in my book though, is that it's fairly light on inclusion of the old principia feminina.</p> <p>I mean -- no Eve Babitz? Emily Prager?? Virginie Despentes??? Kathy Acker????</p> <p>Glenn? GLENN?</p> <p>Glenn O'Brien has left the building.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4099&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="td_9CjsBSaKu8AvMIJC8UHzzp0_h_Ewmt9ACu4ZRFRw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 12 Apr 2022 19:05:35 +0000 Gary Lucas 4099 at http://www.culturecatch.com The Name's Bond http://www.culturecatch.com/node/4092 <span>The Name&#039;s Bond</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/7162" lang="" about="/user/7162" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Gary Lucas</a></span> <span>April 7, 2022 - 10:41</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/literary" hreflang="en">Literary Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/826" hreflang="en">biography</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <article class="embedded-entity align-center"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2022/2022-04/bond_iron_curtain.jpg?itok=HmA_XuLr" width="1103" height="1103" alt="Thumbnail" title="bond_iron_curtain.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p> </p> <p>Just finished reading <em>Bond Behind the Iron Curtain</em> by Ian Fleming's nephew James Fleming -- a fascinating discursive book handsomely illustrated and published by The Book Collector (UK) -- which gathers, translates, analyzes and lovingly reproduces several major Soviet-era hit pieces in print on Bond published in Pravda, Izvestya and Novy Mir, no less -- all of them denouncing Bond as a typical Western sexist swine / capitalist stooge and thug in the service of British royalist and imperialist ambitions to overthrow glorious Mother Russia. </p> <p>The best one of these hit pieces published (almost at the same time as the film of <em>From Russia With Love</em> came out in 1963) is an extremely well-written attack in Izvestya by Jewish intellectual Maya Turovskaya, obviously on the KGB's payroll (Rosa Klebb's doppelgänger?) Now none of Ian Fleming's books had been published in Soviet Russia officially of course at that time (nowadays, they are available freely there in Russian translations).</p> <p>In fact, both the books and films were banned in the Soviet Union for years. <em>Pravda</em>, the official newspaper of the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League, denounced them by saying:</p> <blockquote> <p>"James Bond lives in a nightmarish world where laws are written at the point of a gun, where coercion and rape is considered valour and murder is a funny trick."</p> </blockquote> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity align-center"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="880" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2022/2022-04/russia_with_love_film_still.jpg?itok=FWqIEo1u" title="russia_with_love_film_still.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="880" /></article><figcaption>From Russia With Love</figcaption></figure><p>But samizdat copies had been circulating for years in Russia -- as did prints of the early films -- and anyone lucky enough to travel out of the country was instantly made aware of the worldwide Bond-mania (way bigger than Beatlemania) exploding in the global culture, courtesy of hit screenings of the films in cinemas around the world, which reached its fullest efflorescence with the release of the movie <em>Goldfinger</em> in 1964, followed by 1965's <em>Thunderball</em>. </p> <p>Also in this little gem of a book is an attack on Bond by Karel Zeman (hard to believe that this is the celebrated Czech film director and animation pioneer of the same name -- but it well could be), published in Prague magazine<em> MY</em> in their March '67 issue -- as well as an amusing account of a 1989 attack on Bond in Polish communist journal <em>Trybuna Ludu</em> (<em>People's Tribunal</em>), just happening to coincide with the appearance of a bootleg translation of <em>Moonraker</em> in Polish aimed at the Polish market (no publishing royalties were paid to either Ian Fleming, or to the Polish communist government, apparently -- hence their attack).</p> <p>In light of the current geopolitical situation, this book is a scintillating read and elucidation of the Soviet mindset, which seems to be back with us in full effect (unfortunately). </p> <p>Where is James Bond now when we really need him ???</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4092&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="zEGRCS2tLPaiA4_1KpzbO5xAxb2iAabLxamJOmlwzpU"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 07 Apr 2022 14:41:35 +0000 Gary Lucas 4092 at http://www.culturecatch.com That's Why The Lady Is http://www.culturecatch.com/node/4072 <span>That&#039;s Why The Lady Is</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>January 10, 2022 - 13:44</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/literary" hreflang="en">Literary Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/553" hreflang="en">celebrity obit</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2022/2022-01/april-ashley-obit.jpeg?itok=4fLcg0gP" width="1200" height="952" alt="Thumbnail" title="april-ashley-obit.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><strong>April Ashley - Model, Socialite and Trans Rights Campaigner</strong></p> <p><strong>29th April 1935 - 27th December 2021</strong></p> <p>Certain lives read like unlikely fictions -- plots extreme in their stretching of belief, too unlikely to be considered real life -- do sometimes occur. One such journey of existence was the fabled, often troubled sojourn of April Ashley, socialite, Vogue model, activist and occasional actress, born a boy in a working class, impoverished district of Liverpool on 29th April 1935. Pretty and exhibiting obvious feminine characteristics from his earliest days, it proved an unhappy childhood, bookended by a belittling, abusive mother, and a kindly, but mostly drunken, father, home on shore leave from the Royal Navy. The outside world was no less accepting. Had Charles Dickens ever annotated a tale of a trans life, Ashley's had all the elements of his genre of story telling, dark, dramatic and unsettling.</p> <p>In 1951 in a desperate attempt to ignore herself and fit in with the expectations of a post-war England, a spell in the Navy proved a futile venture. A suicide attempt in Los Angeles followed and after returning to Liverpool, a stay at her own behest, in a mental institution where treatment consisting of electro-shock therapy and copious drugs, but after a year, the contradictions remained. A brave attempt at conformity had failed, but from that arose a sense of self-reliance and acceptance and a desire to become the person within. Even the authorities couldn't alter what nature had ordained. Rejected at home, the bright lights of London beckoned with the genesis of dressing as a woman and a life on her own terms.</p> <p>During a holiday in France she began working in revue as a dancer at the Le Carrousel club in Paris where she was entrusted with a letter to Dr. Georges Burou, a pioneer in gender reassignment surgery, by Coccinelle, the first French citizen to undergo the procedure at his clinic in Casablanca. In 1960, already taking oestrogen, and having saved enough money via her work as a dancer, she presented to Burou for the gruelling seven hour operation. As she went under he whispered "Au-revoir, Monsieur" and as she came round greeted her with the words "Bonjour, Mademoiselle!" April Ashley had finally arrived. She was only the second UK citizen to undergo the such surgery.</p> <p>Back in London her stunning appearance swiftly earned a career as a leading lingerie model and a bit part in the final Bob Hope and Bing Crosby vehicle <em>The Road To Hong Kong</em>. All was going well, but disaster struck when a former friend sold her story to a tabloid newspaper. The sensational headlines destroyed her modelling career and her name was removed from the the film when it finally appeared in 1962. Ashley retreated to Spain where she found work modelling, and as a hostess in clubs, and a greater sense of tolerance. She also encountered the minor British aristocrat, the louche Arthur Corbett, who was still married. A courtship ensued, and then marriage, which was never consummated, and then more controversy when the nature of their union was exposed. Ashley, like any spurned romantic heroine, fled the Costa del Sol in the arms of a Spanish nobleman.</p> <p>In 1970, having swanned across Europe for much of the intervening decade, she instigated court proceeding against her former husband, who counter-sued. The case dragged on for three long years with considerable press attention, the judge finally ruling that Ashley was "at all times a man" and their union was't recognized in law. Unbowed, she opened a restaurant in London with a friend called "April &amp; Desmond's" which was a social success and a culinary disaster, but nobody bothered much about the food since they were having such an extraordinarily good time, as indeed was April, whose hedonism resulted in a couple of heart attacks. By 1975 she'd deserted the capital in favour of the Welsh border town of Hay-on-Wye, and then on to San Diego where she found gainful employment in an art gallery. As the new century dawned she was living in France.</p> <p>In 2001 the European Court Of Human Rights struck down the judge's ruling over her divorce and her campaign to have trans rights enshrined in law finally bore fruit in 2005 when she finally was presented with a birth certificate confirming her status as a woman, a feat achieved with the help of an old friend from former times, John Prescott, who by then was the deputy Prime Minister of the UK. Where previously the incoming tide had threatened to consume her, Ashley found a new celebrity as a pioneer and icon. Invited to speak at Oxford, appear on the chat show circuit, she had finally arrived at a point of acceptance. In 2012 she was awarded an Order Of The British Empire by the Queen "for service to transgender equality" and in 2015 became an honorary citizen of her home city Liverpool. An exhibition about her life ran there for a year. </p> <p>As she aged Ashley became an imperious figure, a cross between Margaret Thatcher and the Countess Spencer. A woman who'd been wooed by Elvis Presley, who'd partied with John Lennon and Mick Jagger, and counted INXS singer Michael Hutchence, the actor Omar Sharif, amongst her lovers. She was a muse for Picasso, but declined the advances of Salvador Dali to paint her in the nude. It all seems rather unlikely for a a life begun as a boy in in 1930's Liverpool. Ashley once confessed that she as a child before she went to sleep would whisper to the night "Please God when I wake let me be a girl." She granted her own wish in the end. A movie of her life starring Catherine Zeta Jones never made it into production. Her second autobiography was pulped as her collaborator on her her first volume claimed she had plagiarised his work. Another drama in a life bedecked by incident. She married for a second time, but that union ended in divorce a decade later.</p> <p>The English singer-songwriter John Howard's new album <em>Look</em> is a concept affair based around his friend's spectacular life, he played piano in her restaurant in the '70s. Due for release in March, it is a heartfelt compliment, and fitting tribute, but one that must now sadly arrive, as a posthumous one for a life lived at such a pace it altered the grain of existence.</p> <p>April Ashley died in London after a short illness.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4072&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="AZGUgZDK9LdHBvMsYsGMok6KlzuCnUvIXYCLICL3G2s"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 10 Jan 2022 18:44:22 +0000 Robert Cochrane 4072 at http://www.culturecatch.com History of War http://www.culturecatch.com/node/4051 <span>History of War</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6" lang="" about="/user/6" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ken Krimstein</a></span> <span>October 11, 2021 - 10:41</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/literary" hreflang="en">Literary Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/906" hreflang="en">history</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><meta charset="UTF-8" /></p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2022/2022-05/the-fall-of-france.jpeg?itok=OLfoNcoN" width="267" height="400" alt="Thumbnail" title="the-fall-of-france.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><strong><i>The Fall of France: </i><em>The Nazi Invasion of 1940 </em></strong></p> <p><strong>by Julian Jackson (Oxford University Press)</strong></p> <p>History tends to be written by the winners. How interesting and how poignant it is, then, to read a history of loss, specifically the way that France -- glorious, democratic, politically and artistically advanced France -- folded in three weeks' time to the Nazis during the first half of the first year of World War II. Julian Jackson's <i>The Fall of France</i>, while not written with the style of a Nabokov or the wit of a Wodehouse, has the power to shake you to the pit of your stomach, and to make you ask questions that reverberate to the bottom of your soul. And keep turning the pages in a blur all the while.</p> <p>It's not a new book, it's a few years old. But I don't think it's merely the ravings of a dyspeptic, misanthropic mind to say that this brief history packs more emotional punch than almost any novel or memoir I've ever read. And, even though it recounts a historical event that took place a couple of generations ago, it's as pressing and urgent as anything in today's papers (or webpages.) And that's not even beginning to talk about the characters. If memoirs of abuse are all the rage, Jackson's <i>The Fall of France</i> could be the memoir of our modern world's abusive childhood. How Churchill arrived in France just as the battle was being begun and how he asked about the French reserves and how he was told, "Aucune" -- None. How the wisest, most lauded military myths of Napoleon crumbled, with generals crying and the free world being defended by a handful of long in the tooth, ill-equipped second-tier reservists. How these men, who even if they were first tier, couldn't have help but been shattered by the amplified whirring of the diving Stuka bombers. How the best laid plans evaporated and accidents and mistakes ruled the day. You don't have to be a military history buff to get the sense of utter confusion that reigned as the Maginot line was circumvented, the Ardennes crossed, the Meuse forded, the village of Sedan broken. This is life lived large -- where heroism and stupidity snuggled up next to one another.</p> <p>Jackson boldly tears away the piety that caused France and French historians to obliterate 1940 from their calendars, and begins to tear away the cloth and examine the truth of the war verses the myth; the toxic anti-Semitism that doomed the French coalition that could have held off Hitler, the deep seeded anti-French and pro-Hitler feelings that guided England, and that, if not clouded by the hindsight of victory, could have painted Churchill and his cronies as much of dimwits and cowards as the French regime. This is, in fact, the first warning shot of a kind of brutally honest revisionist history on the war we will be seeing more of as the final surviving veterans of the war pass away. It proves that truth is much stranger than fiction. Jackson quotes from the diaries of French foot soldier Jean Paul Sartre. He dips into diaries of scholar soldiers and citizen soldiers, Frenchmen who, instead of cowardice, show unbelievable bravery: one Marc Bloch, who had no sooner marshaled a ferry of soldiers to safety in the midst of the Dunkirk retreat than he turned around and sent himself right back into the fray, into the middle of Nazi-occupied France.</p> <p>In the midst of this swirling narrative emerges a nefarious woman, the mistress of the final free French president Reynaud, Helene de Portes who is making policy, snooping on meetings, and making mischief, and who was saved universal ignominy by her accident of dying in car crash at the end of 1940.</p> <p>The story is all the more fascinating because it is <u>true</u>. Or at least as close to truth as a recounting of events that happened can be. Jackson comes to no clear conclusion, which is the most unsettling part of all. The best he can do is reclaim some repudiations, call into question others, and posit that the decisive action of France's sudden fall propelled the World War from a regional conflict to a global one, a battle whose reverberations are still being felt today. His lesson is that there is no lesson. And that is the most chilling ramification of this tome for our time, or any time.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4051&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="QPpH8ZgvvI5gPLip4U7ixv8vgxYaSiaDSzqbaW9ur8I"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 11 Oct 2021 14:41:24 +0000 Ken Krimstein 4051 at http://www.culturecatch.com A Lost Way of Listening http://www.culturecatch.com/node/4044 <span>A Lost Way of Listening</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>September 28, 2021 - 17:48</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/literary" hreflang="en">Literary Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/441" hreflang="en">music</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2021/2021-09/god-is-the-radio-book-cover.png?itok=9EslWT7c" width="915" height="1419" alt="Thumbnail" title="god-is-the-radio-book-cover.png" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><em>God Is In The Radio: Unbridled Enthusiasms</em> 1980-2020 (Omnibus Press)</p> <p>by Barney Hoskyns</p> <p>Over the past four decades <a href="https://barneyhoskyns.com" target="_blank">Barney Hoskyns</a> has been a consistent chronicler of music, an arbiter of taste and a beacon of consistency. He writes with the passion of a true fan and the discretion of an astute critic. A perfect amalgam of the heart and the soul. This appositely entitled compendium of his musings. borrowed from The Queens Of The Stone Age, <em>God Is In The Radio - Unbridled Enthusiasm</em> is fifty pieces culled from forty years of sifting and discerning. Both an Aladdin's cave for the curious and a benchmark for the already initiated, it cuts through the years with an incisive enthusiasm as a crash course on the pitfalls and joy of the music industry. Hoskyns is equally at home writing of Frank Sinatra and Television. Steely Dan to Mary J Blige. Music to him is a universal force and categories are there to best ignored. Quality is paramount, and despite the variety of sounds he presents his readers with, they do not jar when collected under a single cover. A deft act in itself.</p> <p>As a guide to appreciation he is the perfect scribe. Of that generation when music was a physical thing, something to be sought out, discovered and pondered over, his book is also an elegy to a disappearing way of listening. The digital age has reduced appreciation to a verbal demand. Evenings spent engrossed in album sleeves and the small print on 45s, the design of record labels and covers, are no longer a unifying experience. The presence of music is now a small speaker in the corner. Vinyl and compact discs are stored away in attics or cellars or given to charity shops, deemed as the physical clutter they sadly represent to a clinical mind. The relationship most now have with music is a fleeting one, new songs played as background, or listened to on phones. Like fine art reduced to a photocopy, something has been lost. A death of passion is evolving. If sex was a listening thing it would be a far less beguiling experience.</p> <p>Hoskyn's passions are deep and committed. The title of the book encapsulates the loss. Before we were chained emotionally to keypads, the aural glimpse of a song from a radio, the waiting for something to arrive was enough, was all and was sufficient. It became something akin to possession and had to be found. A quest would evolve. Journeys would be made to listening posts and record stores. The object was one of desire and there was a kind of love at play. A need to own a song. Now everything is uber available much of that almost religious passion has flown. Hoskyns is the embodiment of such a fervour; his articles are prayers, hymns and parables, be their subject Tom Waits, The Beach Boys, Sly Stone, or Stevie Wonder. He desires music as a life enhancing force, something to share and inspire. Something to live for.</p> <p>This book is a guide for those who wish to listen. A chronicle from an evolving world where hearing has become a fleeting experience, his words make one want to commune with the artistic offerings of someone you know only through their songs, preferably alone in a darkened room, or to animatedly talk to friends about -- to share, discover or remember. Perhaps the tortured briefness of the lives and outpourings of Sandy Denny and Judee Sill, the wistful eloquence of Sufjan Steven, or the grunge dynamics of Nirvana. Read an article at random and then go and buy the album. This is a wonderful swathe cut through the rich world of records and discs. A perfect bran tub of delights. Even as a download, this world of riches can still be yours.</p> <p>A book that perfectly evolves, an air of suggestion, an index of rewarding possibilities. </p> <p>An indication that passion yet remains.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4044&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="9iDMwuDN_EtPfrtp4k_PzuAFD83drX1B64bu1i2aDo8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 28 Sep 2021 21:48:42 +0000 Robert Cochrane 4044 at http://www.culturecatch.com All The Rage http://www.culturecatch.com/node/4027 <span>All The Rage</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>June 16, 2021 - 13:20</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/literary" hreflang="en">Literary Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/832" hreflang="en">LGQBT</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7IRbYeUgeOI?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Jayne County with Rubert Smith: <em>Man Enough To Be A Woman</em> (Serpent's Tale)</p> <p>If you are an iconoclast and live long enough, society eventually catches on by catching up. Quentin Crisp, that original outcast of the 1930s became a virtual Manhattan mystic in old age, a powdered, lilac haired queer seer. Given the present plethora of "Drag" in the media, what once were vices are now mainstream follies of light entertainment, with something lost in that process, since much of the shock and awe is diluted and neutered. Jayne County was a pioneer. "Drag before drag" and "trans" before the word entered common parlance. She took risks, was in the face of anyone who dared look in her direction, and shocked more than the simply shockable. A rebel with a cause she has survived and prospered. An American fable and a movie that's begs to be made, her life is unlikely, her tales tall, made more so by their being true.</p> <p>It all began in rural Georgia. Wayne Rogers was born into a working class, Baptist family in 1947. His mother was a restless window shopper of faiths, next came Methodism, and later the Worldwide Church Of God. Tolerance was in short supply. His father drank and had an affair. His was a childhood imbued with echoes of Truman Capote's <em>Other Voices Other Rooms</em> and J.D. Salinger's <em>Catcher In The Rye</em>. There was also the problem of Wayne's emerging otherness. With a head full of early rock and roll records, obsessed by horror movies, and a penchant for make-up and lipstick, Wayne was rapidly being true to himself whilst being like nobody else. Soon his friends were the reprobates of Atlanta. Miss Cocks who was always blowing, Chatty Cathy who never stopped taking, Miss Hair who was ever preening, and Miss Car who was constantly obliging in the back seat or the front. It eventually became a matter of survival over sanity that Wayne left town and headed to New York City, dropping Rogers and adding County as his surname along the way.</p> <article class="embedded-entity align-right"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2021/2021-06/jayne-county-memoir.jpg?itok=Ya5n3xeR" width="329" height="499" alt="Thumbnail" title="jayne-county-memoir.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>In the Big Apple it was inevitable that he/she would fall into the orbit of Andy Warhol and his cavalcade of hanger on freaks, his trinity of trash, Candy Darling, Jackie Curtis, and Holly Woodlawn became his friends. Having already appeared in various outre plays, one with Patti Smith, County ended up in London in Warhol's, <em>Pork</em> with Cherry Vanilla and Tony Zanetta. This was the direct link that forged David Bowie's connection to Warhol and subsequently Lou Reed. Though signed to Mainman, Bowie's management, nothing of County's work as Queen Elizabeth surfaced from the deal despite recordings being made and $200,000 being spent on a lavish stage production <em>Live At The Trucks</em>. County has long maintained this was simple sabotage but it is just as likely to have been casual carelessness, though Bowie wouldn't have been averse to stalling anything he perceived as competition. The name wasn't a swipe at British Royalty, but an affectionate reference to a famous Atlanta queen who worked in a department store in drag for years before being exposed. Perhaps even the Glam scene with all its "peek-a-boo" androgyny and flirtation with alternative sexuality wasn't quite ready for County in a dress festooned with condoms singing "You Gotta Get Laid To Stay Healthy (And I'm the Healthiest Girl In Town)" Wayne County was in the epicentre of the legendary Stonewall riots when drag queens finally turned on the police after decades of abuse and intimidation.With the burgeoning of punk County took his own version to outrage to London forming the Electric Chairs and releasing "(If You Don't Want To Fuck Me Baby) Fuck Off" in 1977 and appearing in Derek Jarman's iconoclastic film <em>Jubilee</em>.</p> <p>This is memoir of a lost time of spit and glitter that ought to have been extended. It was first published in the Nineties and bar an added intro and outro, remains a delightfully brazen sequence of polaroids, but is frustratingly brief. That is my sole complaint about a fascinating jaunt through times that are sadly becoming distant and wistful, almost halcyon. People perhaps rarely write their absolute life themselves, that job usually falls into other, later hands, but via this chaotic cavalcade Mss County emerges as the pioneer she was and thankfully, most certainly, remains. The resolution of a revolution.</p> <p>It can only be hoped that she is penning a sequel of her 21st century years in a life few can, or would dare to try and equal.</p> <p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Man-Enough-Woman-Jayne-County/dp/1713542846">Order thru Amazon</a></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4027&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="HBlAmPq-ZCdePIMvb3NI2g78f_LNPJNSDKr809j8jZg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 16 Jun 2021 17:20:56 +0000 Robert Cochrane 4027 at http://www.culturecatch.com An L.A. Smile in New York City http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3998 <span>An L.A. Smile in New York City</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>January 30, 2021 - 17:59</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/literary" hreflang="en">Literary Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/332" hreflang="en">poetry</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2021/2021-01/jerry-brandt-smile.jpg?itok=6BoWOsJ6" width="1200" height="1216" alt="Thumbnail" title="jerry-brandt-smile.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><em><strong>AN L.A. SMILE IN NEW YORK CITY</strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>for Jerry Brandt 1938-2021.</strong></em></p> <p>She looked like a fashion model</p> <p>on her way home from a photo shoot,</p> <p>and if she wasn't one she should have been,</p> <p>blonde hair gracing elegantly tanned shoulders</p> <p>a thing of beauty and desire,</p> <p>and she knew it,</p> <p>as did you and I.</p> <p>Immediately you shot her</p> <p>your best porcelain L.A. smile.</p> <p>She looked at you dismissively</p> <p>like you were a piece of shit</p> <p>and walked haughtily by,</p> <p>and you knew it as did I.</p> <p>Immediately you let rip</p> <p>'What is with this fuckin' city now?</p> <p>You smile at someone and you get that?</p> <p>Things have changed and I just don't understand it'</p> <p>But you did and you had,</p> <p>an elegant man in your mid-sixties</p> <p>with cachet slowly in decline</p> <p>despite the lace shirt and fine shoes.</p> <p>I leant across and whispered</p> <p>'But Jerry it's the way that you were smiling!'</p> <p>infering a piranha sensing dinner,</p> <p>and it became your turn to give me that kind of look.</p> <p>I sensed another outburst brewing</p> <p>but it slowly broadened from insulted shock</p> <p>into a smile accentuated by a lazy shrug</p> <p>as we sauntered on along in fading sunshine.</p> <p>- <em>Robert Cochrane</em></p> <p>30th January 2021.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3998&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="Y9bH-y4LS4oPpxGM22Zj7QUUIDS7EGV9KnxL1uQUsrE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 30 Jan 2021 22:59:31 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3998 at http://www.culturecatch.com