Friday, 31 July 2009


Sir Bobby Robson died today aged 76.

As Bobby Robson he turned out for Fulham at the age of 17 and earned 20 caps representing the England team.

Football was his life and a firm supporter of Newcastle United for whom he was the manager for a brief period.

As a manager he took Ipswich Town to the top with F.A. Cup and UEFA Cup victories.

The most successful English manager since Sir Alf Ramsay, he took England to the semi-final of the 1990 World Cup.

European football had the benefit of his managerial skills and, through, him a young Brazillian player, Ronaldo, showed his value with Barcelona.

Just five days ago he was in Newcastle for a charity match for his Cancer charity.

Sir Bobby Robson is a footballing legend who will be sadly missed.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

TU£SDAY - dvd

TU£SDAY - 2008
Written and directed by Sacha Bennett
Run time: 79 mins

Tuesday the 23rd July and a gang of bank robbers known as The Cowboys prepare to rob the Japan Ocean Trust.
Unknown to them two cashiers have the same idea. So has an elderly man who's life is disintegrating.
The film covers the police investigation as they try to discover which of them stole a very valuable emerald. Thus the story is told in flashback.
Stars Philip Glennister and John Simm (Life On Mars) are reunited playing members of The Cowboys - Earp and Silver. This time Philip Glennister gets to sport a red kerchief and western style Colt - but not the boots.
The script is good but the photography is not so hot as it did nothing more than produce confusion for all the wrong reasons.
Scriptwise - it runs with humour and very character driven and the end comes as a surprise.
Despite the drawbacks I quite enjoyed this caper.


The new edition of Black Horse Extra is now online at
There are features by writer Greg Mitchell on writing; a few lines from Owen G Irons and a history on writing western screenplays and books by Steve Hayes. Together with a round up of western news.

Good to see that this instalment in Misfit Lil's saga is available in paperback via Lulu and, soon, all the usual outlets.
This is a cracking book and a full review will appear shortly.

Yesterday in my Wild Bunch Wednesday post I gave a taster for a character called Jed Midwinter. So to answer a comment the creation process came about this way:
First off the was Black Horse Western writer Matthew P. Mayo's excellent 'Winter's War' that in turn led to Shakespeare's 'A Winter's Tale' through to 'In The Bleak Midwinter'. In turn this gave me a character's surname and a working title of 'Midwinter's Tale'. Jed just seemed to fit naturally with the surname. All I needed was a story and a character to put the name to.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009


So the Wild Bunch ride into the final week of the series devised by Joanne Walpole (aka Terry James) where five writers have showcased their work and promoted the Black Horse Western brand.
Those involved are:
Lance Howard at Dark Bits -
I.J.Parnham at the Culbin Trail -
Jack Martin at The Tainted Archive -
Interesting enough is that while I have been participating in this all the Jack Giles western novels have become available on Amazon uk. Since last week both the sole copies of 'Leatherface' and 'Coalmine' have been sold and are 'currently unavailable'.
August sees the publication of the Linford large print edition of 'Lawmen'.
To continue - after the publication of 'Coalmine' Jack Giles took on the persona of Ryker Frost for two novels. 'A Fortune For War' (1988) and 'The Battle Of Sun Valley' (1989). Both books were set against the background of the American Civil War.
Of the two I prefer the first for the hero is an Englishman who has done time in a penal colony in Australia. All he wants to do is go home and is walking and hitching lifts across America trying to reach a port where he hopes to work his passage back to England. He meets up with a lady who's roots lie in the stews of London's Whitechapel but who has reached the top of her profession in America. They get involved in a plot where some Confederates are stealing from the silver mines. And the hero doesn't know how to use a gun and when he does he has to ask if anyone knows how to reload it.
Jack Giles returned in 1994 with 'The Fourth Horseman'.
It is Friday the 13th and during a thunderstorm a dark presence fills the doorway of the Bates Hotel. He takes Room 13 and signs the register as 'Death'. Government Agent Willard Dull takes a look at the register and figures that the new arrival has an appointment there.
By midnight two men are dead.
The first is an old timer called Hepburn Lance a member of an outlaw gang.
The man in black reached the top of the stairs where he stopped to stand motionless while he listened. From beyond the door marked with a brass number 3 he could hear movement and the creak of bed springs followed by a derogatory laugh that came from a female throat.
"What's up with you, Hep?" the woman's voice was coarse and spiteful. "You lost it or somethin'?"
"It's been a long time, hon," a male voice whined.
"Too old more like." the woman rasped.
"Makes him ready for the grave, lady," the man in black muttered as he lifted his right leg high and thrust it at the door.
It splintered under the force adminstered to it, and slammed free from one hinge as it crashed into the wall. Death stood in the gaping doorway his shadow cast onto the bed where a woman was sitting up and a man was halfway out.
The woman screamed, her hands scrabbling at the bedclothes as she attempted to cover her nakedness, while Lance pulled them away in an attempt to do the same.
"What the hell is this?" Lance yelled, his eyes darting to where his gun was encased in a holster hanging from the brass bedhead - out of reach.
"Judgement Day," Death announced as he drew the right-hand Colt from beneath his overcoat and fired two shots.
Both bullets took Lance in the centre of his scrawny chest, the force of which flung him backwards into a dresser. The corpse bounced forwards to land back on the bed from where it slid down to the floor. Clawed hands dragged the covers with him which had the screaming woman chasing after them.
"I wouldn't bother, lady," Death snorted. "I can see you have nothing to hide."
Death is a man who has a way with grave humour.
And so I come to the end of the Jack Giles books.
"The name's Jed Midwinter.
Folks say that I don't have an ounce of humanity in me. Maybe that's true but then most folks that I've met haven't lived long enough to find out any different."

Monday, 27 July 2009


This sequel to the original 'GREEN STREET' went straight to DVD - and after watching it I can understand why.
Ross McCall reprises his role as Dave from the original movie but the sequel does not have any more of the original characters.
Basic plot three West Ham supporters are sent to the same prison as a bunch of Millwall supporters. The latter, or so we are told, are there for killing the two West Ham Elite members from the original film. Problem - the leader has obviously changed his name (by Deed Poll?) to Big Mac. No, not the one from 'Casualty' though he does send theWest Ham lads there several times.
The movie is big on bloody punch ups; there's also a drugs war going on between Big Mac and a bunch of Russians and, of course, they are only to willing to back up the West Ham lads. And not forgetting the prison officers are amongst the bad guys with just the one standing against them.
Another big problem is that the penal system seems a bit American or un-British and the characters reduced to stereotypes.
By the time we get to the showdown - a football match between Millwall supporters and West Ham supporters ,where the winners get to go home, I found myself not caring who won or lost.
For an £8,000,000 budget I thought that I would get a movie that had been researched, a touch accurate and with characters that would interest me and gain my sympathy.
There are some good moments - rare as they are - but this should have been so much better.
Anyone wanting to catch this movie on DVD should wait until the price drops really low - like £3 in HMV - money that won't be missed. Mine was given to me as a pressie.


There are those who say that they have never read or watched a western in their life.
Except that they have through various guises.
The western may not be the original concept after all fiction does not begin or end with the format. Long before the wild west began to form there were works that ranged from Homer through to the Mort d'Arthur. The Welsh myths as well as those of the Greeks, the Romans and the Norse heroes.
Somehow along the line grew a new myth and all that had gone before was condensed into the style that we know today.
Here are a couple of western style scenarios:
1. A drifter comes into town. Now the sheriff runs a peaceful town and tells the drifter to move on. The drifter does not like to be told where he can and can't go, so the sheriff shoves him into the jail. Just to make the message clear the sheriff has his deputies beat the drifter up. Only the drifter fights back and escapes. There is a persuit and, eventually, the drifter returns to town and the final showdown takes place.
2. A town is massacred by a bunch of Indians. A green cavalry troop is sent in but they are ambushed and take heavy casualties. Reinforced, the cavalry troop head for a fort only to find that the soldiers there have been massacred and that a trap has been set for them. Again the few survivors escape and the hero is promoted. A larger contingent of troops go on the attack and defeat the Indians and capture the chief.
Do you want to know more?
The first example is easy. David Morrell's 'First Blood' filmed as 'Rambo'.
The second - substitute aliens or 'bugs' for the Indians and it is 'Starship Troopers' based on the novel by Robert Heinlein.
It doesn't matter whether it is the 'Die Hard' John McLain 'yippy yi yoing' through the storyline or Stanley Goodspeed and John Mason banding together to stop some bandidos from using stolen weapons 'The Rock' like many of their type follow the basics of a good western.
From Conan to Thor the premise of the good guy and the bad and the trail to the final showdown come down to one thing - they are westerns in disguise.


This week at Beat To A Pulp sees Keith Rawson give us the lowdown on the benefits of 'Marmalade'. I liked the gradually build up to an ending that would be a genealogist's nightmare.

The Tainted Archive has a trailer for a new American tv series 'The Prisoner'. This might well be a remake of a cult British tv series but as I've not seen it I will watch this with different eyes.
Mind you this could could have consequences as Ray has this habit of saying 'Be seeing you.' and now I know where it comes from.

Randy at Not The Baseball Pitcher has done a review of this tv series. I loved 'Children Of Earth' because it was different to the previous series and I got to see how fit John Barrowman is. Question hanging in the air is will Torchwood come back or was that the end?

Filming of the new series of Dr. Who has begun here in Wales. Can't say that I like the new look.
He's wears a shabby brown jacket, a small reddish bow tie and dark grey trousers and looks like a nerdy professor. Clothes so I'm told maketh the man - no way. I would've thought with his floppy dark hair he would've been a little more imaginative. Leather jacket, heavy metal T-shirt and jeans. Mind you character comes into it so maybe I'll forget the fashion issue in time.

My aunt Rebecca wandered on to the set of a film called 'Dagenham Girls' and was talking to some of the people there. The next thing she knew was that she was being shunted into place. She didn't protest too loudly but I hope she doesn't end up on the cutting room floor.


Saturday, 25 July 2009


Ray: OK, so we're riding into new territory.
Chantel: Sounds good. Why Open Range.
Ray: It's Open because that's the way we are. Range because we can write about anything.
Chantel: Just that what we post we sign.
Ray: That's it.
Chantel: Or we can do posts like this one.
Ray: OK - let's ride.
Chantel: Cue Spiderbait.
Ray: Preferred 'The Ramrods' version of Ghost Rider.
Chantel: There you go. You're so 1965. Get real! This is 2009.
Ray: Is this a dig?
Chantel: Look things move on, I mean look at you the other day going on about those e-readers. You have to face it they are going to happen. If it means that people read books it has to be a good thing. Right?
I mean these things aren't much different to MP3s or iPods.
Once upon a time there were those 45s and LPs and you thought that they had gone to their vinyl resting place. Sure there are CDs and downloaded music today but that didn't kill off the CD and a lot of singers today are recording on to vinyl.
Same thing will happen with books. They won't go away. Just the choice gets widened.
Ray: OK, I can live with that.
Chantel: Good. Let's Ride!