Sunday, 28 September 2014

A post modern murder mystery

'Krystian Bala insisted that his violent novel was a sophisticated work of fiction, but Jacek Wroblewski was certain that it held the key to an unsolved murder'.


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Deborah Mitford

'She laughs. Her sense of humour and recognition of the absurdities of life are apparent throughout both her book and our conversation, bearing out her friend Alan Bennett's remark: "Deborah Devonshire is not someone to whom one can say, 'Joking apart . . .' Joking never is apart: with her it's of the essence, even at the most serious and indeed saddest moments."'


Friday, 19 September 2014

'Tarzan the Worst'

'Denny Miller, who has died aged 80, was a former college basketball star picked to play the title role in the 1959 remake of the 1932 classic Tarzan the Ape Man, a version which, by common consent, is probably the worst Tarzan film ever made'.


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Soho Pam

'Pamela Jennings, who has died aged 48, was known in her central London stamping ground as “Soho Pam”; a professional beggar, she nightly brought her considerable powers of persuasion to the clientele of such establishments as The French House and the Coach & Horses'.


The man who wouldn't die

'The plot to kill Michael Malloy for life-insurance money seemed foolproof—until the conspirators actually tried it'.


Everything was fake but her wealth

'Ida Wood never had any intention of renewing contact with the outside world, but on March 5, 1931, death made it necessary. At four o’clock that afternoon, the 93-year-old did something she hadn’t done in 24 years of living at the Herald Square Hotel: she voluntarily opened the door, craned her neck down the corridor, and called for help'.


Closer than that

'The problem is having too much intelligence to add up intelligently'.


My father, the old man

'My parents decided to speak to me in French and Italian, not in my mother’s native Spanish. My mum hadn’t had a happy childhood, so she rarely talked about it. Dad, on the other hand, talked about his childhood a lot and I often think I can hear his voice when I’m in my parents’ kitchen even. He made Italian peasant soup and told me stories from a different era, mainly Rome in the 1920s'.


An astonishing moment from a Bluegrass legend

'The organizers of the event in Raleigh didn’t know for sure until shortly before the curtain rose that Rice would appear. He was introduced by the musicians Sam Bush and Peter Rowan, both of whom have worked extensively with him. He was wearing a pink shirt too large for his thin neck, a red-and-blue striped tie, and a blue suit, with a detail I have never seen before: what appeared to be satin, or maybe grosgrain, lapels. He was terribly thin, and his face was shining in the lights. He looked like a man returned from the desert to deliver a message'.


Walter R. Walsh Dies at 106; Terrorized Gangsters and Targets

'Walter R. Walsh, a world-class marksman who shot clothespins off laundry lines as a boy and went on to become an FBI
 legend in shootouts with gangsters in the 1930s, an Olympic competitor and a trainer of generations of Marine Corps sharpshooters, died on Tuesday at his home in Arlington, Va. He was 106'.


This Old Man

"I’ve endured a few knocks but missed worse. I know how lucky I am, and secretly tap wood, greet the day, and grab a sneaky pleasure from my survival at long odds. The pains and insults are bearable. My conversation may be full of holes and pauses, but I’ve learned to dispatch a private Apache scout ahead into the next sentence, the one coming up, to see if there are any vacant names or verbs in the landscape up there. If he sends back a warning, I’ll pause meaningfully, duh, until something else comes to mind".


The Late Style of Thomas McGuane

"As you get older, you should get impatient with showing off in literature. It is easier to settle for blazing light than to find a language for the real. Whether you are a writer or a bird-dog trainer, life should winnow the superfluous language. The real thing should become plain. You should go straight to what you know best".


A Raised Voice: How Nina Simone turned the movement into music

"My skin is black,” the first woman’s story begins, “my arms are long.” And, to a slow and steady beat, “my hair is woolly, my back is strong.” Singing in a club in Holland, in 1965, Nina Simone introduced a song she had written about what she called “four Negro women” to a young, homogeneously white, and transfixed crowd. “And one of the women’s hair,” she instructed, brushing her hand lightly across her own woolly Afro, “is like mine.”


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The wedding photo from Ground Zero: A shot in the dark

'When Elizabeth Stringer Keefe was given a wedding photo that had been found at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11, it became her mission to try to track down the people in the picture, dead or alive, in the hope of returning the snap to its rightful owner. Thirteen years later, she has finally been able to do just that'.