Saturday 23 January 2010

New Arrival

It's always nice to get a delivery on a Saturday morning, even though I was initially cursing the Postie's name for ringing the doorbell at 8.30am – I just figured he was trying to get hold of one of the other flats, as usual. But no! It was for me! And it was this:

The 1965 first edition of the first Modesty Blaise novel I ordered. Fast work, Mr. Postie! Really nice condition, a wee bit of foxing and browning on the page edges, but the jacket's fairly clean (spine slightly sunned, few minor losses at top and bottom of spine), and it's not price clipped. Twelve quid. Usually you'd expect to pay at least £60 (and I've seen a similar condition copy in Brighton for at least that).

Note deployment of nerdy book collecting terms like "foxing" and "sunning" above. Jesus. What a tedious turd I am.

Friday 22 January 2010

Spandex Review

As in, a review of my friend Martin's fab comic Spandex. Not by me, mind. By J. Caleb Mozzocco, a perceptive, encouraging, and indeed glowing review, which can be found here. Well done Mart, and well done Mr. Mozzocco – nice to see a reviewer really get where Martin's coming from. Er, so to speak.

Thursday 21 January 2010

Stray Thoughts

I think I've got another longish post brewing, but I haven't had time to do owt about it (and having now written this, I'll probably end up forgetting what it was gonna be about in the first place), so in the meantime, here's what's rattling round my mind.

The Polish DVD of Ripley Under Ground turned up. Haven't had a chance to watch all of it, but I checked the first few minutes, and it's not in Polish, and you can turn off the Polish subtitles. Huzzah. From the first couple of minutes, it looks like Tom Ripley has been transposed to London, living in a shabby flat and performing at a theatre. Interesting, and that does sort of make sense considering what comes later (in the book that is), and also if the filmmakers wanted this to be a standalone movie, which I think they did. More once I've watched all of it.

I've just ordered a copy of Peter O'Donnell's debut Modesty Blaise novel, first edition, for a very low price, considering it can go for anything up to £100 or so. I launched Titan Books' series of reprints of the Modesty newspaper strip in 2004, but although I liked the idea of the characters, the strip never really grabbed me, probably because when you work on something it's hard to step away and appreciate it without recalling the trials and tribulations that went into putting it together (and oh the trials and tribulations at Titan...). I've got enough distance now, and many people – including, I seem to recall, Peter himself – reckon the novels are a better read than the comic strips, so I'll give it a go.

(I still fondly recall spending an afternoon with Peter at his home in Brighton, interviewing him for the bonus features in the first few volumes of the reprints. A lovely man.)

I'm also pondering ordering the first couple of Gregory Mcdonald's Fletch novels. I read most of the series years ago and absolutely loved them, but I've been reading Dennis Lehane's excellent Shutter Island this week, and Lehane's way of writing long stretches of dialogue reminded me of Mcdonald; the Fletch novels are almost like screenplays, with very little description. It's all in the dialogue, and brilliant dialogue at that. So I think I'll get hold of Fletch and Confess, Fletch and revisit them.

And that's yer lot fer now.