After holding back on my spending for a few weeks I put in an Amazon order last week which arrived over the weekend. It was a music led delivery with three collections from the Proper Boxes range, an Avid Records retrospective and a double whammy of a book and its film version:
So we have Mark McShane’s classic crime novel Séance on a Wet Afternoon and the film version starring Kim Stanley and Dickie Attenborough, a book/film I am aware of thanks to an episode of the classic sitcom Steptoe & Son called “Séance in a Wet Rag and Boneyard” in which Albert is almost conned into marrying the mother of a fake psychic, although the episode does end with a slight suggestion that she might not be quite the Charlatan Harold thinks she is…
Unlike The Hunger Games series, I will read the book before I watch the film and see how the two compare.
I have also purchased the “complete” series of Doomwatch, which was an environmental(ish) science fiction thriller series written and created by Cybermen creators Kit Pedlar and Gerry Davis. It stars Simon Oates, John Paul and Robert Powell before he was Jesus and a Detective. It contains all the surviving episodes and the unbroadcast episode “Sex & Violence”, will have aged well? Probably not, but it will at least be a good example of how scientific paranoia of 70s seemed.
Music wise there is The Essential Joe Loss which is a two disc compilation part of Avid Record’s retro line which has included Al Bowlly, the Ray Ellington Quartet (of Goon Show fame) and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band amongst others. Joe Loss was a British band leader who had the distinction at the age of 21 being the youngest man to front a big band in the UK and he was a band leader for over 60 years with him remaining fronting the band until very shortly before his death in 1990. The set has is split between his more straight ahead band works and his strictly instrumental “Dancetime for the Dancers” records and covers his work from 1930 to 1956, so the cut off date is pre-March of the Mods.
The Proper Boxes are a good value low budget set of compilations of various artists’ recordings which are out of copyright, each set is designed to have a sort of musical narrative to the artist and comes with a well researched booklet telling the story of the artist and details of the recordings.
The sets include Louis Prima, who is perhaps best known for being the voice of King Louis in The Jungle Book, in what was probably the height of his popularity. His records blended a mix of Swing, Jive and Rhythm and Blues to give a very joyous and jolly appeal. “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody” and “Jump, Jive and Wail” are in the set along side a plethora of less known recordings.
Art Pepper was a Alto Saxophonist whom I will admit it took me a long time to warm to as I felt and still feel that his tone is a bit thin and wispy, however I was reintroduced to his music a few years ago at Upton Jazz festival when Alan Barnes did a tribute gig to the artist and it prompted me to look back into his discography. I will point out that the set includes the complete “Art Pepper meets the Rhythm Section” album, which is notable for its unusual choice of “Jazz Me Blues” in a modern Jazz environment.
The final one is not set an artist but more of a focus on a particular movement, namely the beginning of the Blues revival movement in the late 50s and early 60s. It shows the emergence of the revival movement from the Trad Jazz and Skiffle movements and includes various artists including Chris Barber, Ottile Paterson and Lonnie Donnigan. It looks like a good set and I will have many happy hours of listening ahead of me.
After much Procrastination I have finally finished Death of an Airman and I must admit it was a good read with a lot of twists making it very much a page turner and I did not identify the villains before the end. The ending does seem a bit forced with the story being wrapped up within about 12 pages and a rather twee happy ending is tacked on. Overall it is a good book with some very entertaining characters, some of it has dated due to it being written in the 1930s and I suspect some of the medical science is inaccurate (though I did look up some of the detail on Rigor Mortis which turned out to be accurate to a degree), I strongly recommend it.