What Say You, Kubrick Fans?

I read Doctor Sleep a few years ago and liked it okay. Maybe the movie won’t suck, I dunno. It’s somewhat reassuring that the director is Mike Flanagan, the same guy who helmed Gerald’s Game and The Haunting of Hill House for Netflix. There’s already a backlash on the Internet (because of course there is) for leaning heavily into Kubrick’s film – but I get it.

Me? I’m cautiously optimistic.

What I’m Reading Right Now

I somehow made it to 50 without ever reading any of Raymond Carver’s short stories, but I’m fixing that now with this collection. Great stuff! Little depressing slices of life that any bastard can relate to. Perfect bedtime reading …

By the time of his early death in 1988, Raymond Carver had established himself as one of the great practitioners of the American short story, a writer who had not only found his own voice but imprinted it in the imaginations of thousands of readers. Where I’m Calling From, his last collection, encompasses classic stories from Cathedral, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, and earlier Carver volumes, along with seven new works previously unpublished in book form. Together, these 37 stories give us a superb overview of Carver’s life work and show us why he was so widely imitated but never equaled.

I picked this one up in hardback at Barnes & Noble for a few bucks. Chabon I’m quite familiar with, having read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Wonder Boys, and Werewolves in Their Youth. I honestly believe Chabon is one of our greatest living writers. Anyhoo …

In 1989, fresh from the publication of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to his mother’s home in Oakland, California, to visit his terminally ill grandfather. Tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, Chabon’s grandfather shared recollections and told stories the younger man had never heard before, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried and forgotten. That dreamlike week of revelations forms the basis for the novel Moonglow, the latest feat of legerdemain from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon.

I Said Goddamn

$250.00! Cheap!

This deluxe two-volume slipcased set explores seven-time Academy Award–winner Rick Baker’s 40-year journey as a special makeup effects artist

From the gory zombies of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and the staggeringly lifelike Bigfoot in Harry and the Hendersons to the creative builds in Men in Black and the groundbreaking effects in An American Werewolf in London, Rick Baker’s special effects, makeup, and prosthetics count among some of Hollywood’s most enduring achievements.

This deluxe, two-volume slipcased set is replete with more than 1,000 four-color images and original sketches. It covers the makeup artist’s 40-plus year career in which he’s earned seven Academy Awards, one Emmy, and three British Academy Film Awards, among numerous others.

Imprint: Cameron Books
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Price: $250.00
Trim Size: 10 1⁄2 x 13 1⁄4
ISBN: 978-1-944903-43-5
EAN: 9781944903435
Page Count: 736
Illustrations: More than 1,000 color illustrations
Format: Two-volume set, hardcover with slipcase

EDIT: Rick Baker’s Instagram is here. Definitely worth a look.

Sigh

Goddammit, this book came out almost nine years ago – and I completely missed it! (I blame Fat Elvis.) If’n yer curious, it’s a collection of all the interview transcripts Jon Savage used for his 1991 masterpiece, England’s Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond.

753 pages!

In The England’s Dreaming Tapes, Jon Savage has gone back to the source to re-create, in original interview form, the extraordinarily disparate and contentious personalities who emerged in the mid-70s as the harbingers of what became known as punk.

Here in uncut form is the story of a generation that changed the world in just a few months in 1976. In interviews with all the major figures of the time – including all four original Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Chrissie Hynde, Jordan, Siouxsie Sioux, Viv Albertine, Adam Ant, Lee Black Childerss, Howard Devoto, Pete Shelley, Syl Sylvain, Debbie Wilson, Tony Wilson and Jah Wobble – Jon Savage has produced a book huge in scope, vision and generosity of perspective.

The England’s Dreaming Tapes will surely become the final word and the must-have oral history of the music, fashion and attitude that defined this influential and incendiary era.

I have a sickness.

This One’s For You, Monkeystador

So there’s a British fellow named Thomas Morris. He was a BBC radio producer for 17 years, but he’s a full-time writer now – with a blargh. I’ll just let him tell it …

I began writing this blog while writing my first book The Matter of the Heart, a popular history of heart surgery … The book traces the evolution of the discipline from its origins in the late nineteenth century to the present day, and looks at some of the most exciting recent developments in the field. Researching that book entailed many hours spent reading early medical journals. These publications are full of extraordinary and often scarcely believable stories, which though irrelevant to the book seemed too good to waste. In my spare time I’ve collected some of the most quirky, bizarre or surprising cases I’ve encountered, all drawn from the pre-twentieth century medical literature.

Here’s his most recent entry (and trust me, that’s a pun), A Watch Spring, a Bean and a Clove of Garlic. And may I just add, OUCH.

Morris has a new book that I’m about to buy. It looks a bit like this …

Thief Or Hermit?

Did you ever think to yourself “fuck this shit! I’m checking out of society…”? Well, this fucker up in Maine did, and he checked out for 27 years until he got caught. he basically set up camp in the woods not far from some cabins around a lake. To get by he stole food and fuel from the nearby cabins. He kinda freaked out the locals, because not one ever saw him.

Eventually he was caught in the act and went to jail for a short period of time. He just couldn’t handle society. The sad thing is that the author has now made this guy the most popular man in Maine, and it wouldn’t surprise me if someone makes a movie out of this.

I basically told you the majority of the book, but it’s an interesting story and a fast read if you want to delve a little deeper.

我在读什么

I picked up something a little different after finishing John Dies At The End. Jernigan is David Yates’s 1991 debut novel about a brilliant loser. Check out this uplifting description …

Well conceived and well written, this book examines the tragedy of a man whose life epitomizes failure on every level. A victim of circumstances, Peter Jernigan is now emotionally crippled and psychologically impoverished. His already distorted personal relationships, skewed further by a dependency on alcohol, sweep him forward, with horrifying swiftness, into a nightmarish cycle of failure, loss, and spiritual death. Bright but unsuccessful, Jernigan drifts through a bleak life that only becomes worse. He has lost his father and wife in successive accidents and now must deal with the adolescent traumas of his only son. His encounter with the divorced mother of his son’s girlfriend promises to lighten his life but instead complicates it even further. A disturbing first novel, Jernigan will cause readers, especially men, to shake their complacency and perhaps reevaluate their own circumstances.

What’s not to love?

Oh! My copy of There Was A Light: The Cosmic History of Chris Bell and the Rise of BIG STAR showed up yesterday, too. And of course, I jumped right in.

One surprising thing I’ve learned so far is that Chris Bell’s family lived in a house across the street from the one I grew up in. I missed them by about ten years, but still, what are the odds?!

There Was A Light

Today on the Please Kill Me blargh, Bruce Eaton, author of Big Star’s Radio City (33 1/3 series) chats up Rich Tupica, author of There Was A Light: The Cosmic History of Chris Bell and the Rise of BIG STAR, the recent Chris Bell biography.

Check it out here!

Just as an aside, when social media first made me aware of the Chris Bell book, I didn’t make any plans to read it. The whole thing seemed rather sketchy, a paperback written by an author I wasn’t familiar with, published by HoZac Records. I wasn’t a huge fan of that cover (it’s growing on me), and besides, it was $40.00! For a paperback! When it sold out, I figured that was that.

But since then, all I’ve seen are glowing reviews. So when I read the PKM piece this morning, I checked the HoZac site for a status update. Second printing is shipping now, and I’ve got a birthday coming up.

After FIVE solid years of painstaking research and hard work, Rich Tupica’s epic tome on the deep end of the BIG STAR story is ready. At 400+ pages, There Was A Light is stocked with a wealth of previously-unseen color photos, personal ephemera from the Bell family’s archive, as well as everything Ardent Studios could jam in, it’s nothing short of breathtaking stuff! Starting with intense coverage of Bell’s childhood bands and continuing deep into his post-Big Star solo work, this book delves into the details beyond the documentary, distilling countless hours of minutiae into a riveting oral history of one of rock’n’roll’s most beloved cult bands, and a trip through Memphis underground music history like no other.

Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to me
I look like a monkey
And snobby rock books ain’t free

Reading Is Fundamental

What are any of you bastards reading these days? Believe it or not, I put down the band bios for a minute and I’ve been enjoying the hell out of John Dies At The End. It’s got kind of a MIB vibe, if the agents were a couple of twenty-something college dropouts.

In this reissue of an Internet phenomenon originally slapped between two covers in 2007 by indie Permutus Press, Wong — Cracked.com editor Jason Pargin’s alter ego — adroitly spoofs the horror genre while simultaneously offering up a genuinely horrifying story. The terror is rooted in a substance known as soy sauce, a paranormal psychoactive that opens video store clerk Wong’s — and his penis-obsessed friend John’s — minds to higher levels of consciousness. Or is it just hell seeping into the unnamed Midwestern town where Wong and the others live? Meat monsters, wig-wearing scorpion aberrations and wingless white flies that burrow into human skin threaten to kill Wong and his crew before infesting the rest of the world. A multidimensional plot unfolds as the unlikely heroes drink lots of beer and battle the paradoxes of time and space, as well as the clichés of first-person-shooter video games and fantasy gore films. Sure to please the Fangoria set while appealing to a wider audience, the book’s smart take on fear manages to tap into readers’ existential dread on one page, then have them laughing the next.

Get Me This

Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made

He read hundreds of books on the man and broke the information down into categories “on everything from his food tastes to the weather on the day of a specific battle.” He gathered together 15,000 location scouting photos and 17,000 slides of Napoleonic imagery.

He would shoot the film in France and Italy, for their grand locations, and Yugoslavia, for their cheap armies. These were pre-CG days, and he arranged to borrow 40,000 Romanian infantry and 10,000 cavalry for the battles. “I wouldn’t want to fake it with fewer troops,” he said to an interviewer at the time, “because Napoleonic battles were out in the open, a vast tableau where the formations moved in an almost choreographic fashion. I want to capture this reality on film, and to do so it’s necessary to recreate all the conditions of the battle with painstaking accuracy.”

You could make it yourself if you want, as every single bit of information pertaining to the project has recently been published in the form of a book called Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made.