Category Archives: Television

Top Telly 2016

better-call-saulLike 2015, 2016 was another great year for telly. I watched a lot of good TV this year, most of it American and mostly crime fiction. Second seasons can be problematic, as True Detective showed, but Fargo’s second season was even better than the first – cinematic, sharp dialogue, great music and top turns from Kirstin Dunst et al.

Better Call Saul was also on top form in its second season, bittersweet and painfully funny.Great characters, acting and writing.  Happy Valley had another powerhouse performance from Sarah Lancaster and quality writing.

Marvel’s Luke Cage was probably the coolest show this year and with the best soundtrack. It dithered off a bit toward the end but still had a lot of punch.ray-donovan

Hap and Leonard was all loose-limbed charm, great acting, razor-sharp dialogue,  and great music. Capturing the spirit and feel of Joe Lansdale’s great books.

Goliath gave the boring old legal thriller a kick in the eye. Billy Bob Thornton was particular appealing as washed up Billy MacBride but the rest of the cast were no slouches either.

Ray Donovan is probably my favourite telly show. It’s now the fourth season of TV’s most gleefully nihilistic and cruelly funny show. Great acting and top work from directors like John Dahl and writers like Michal Tolkin.

(This first appeared as part of my Review of 2016 at Vic Watson’s place.)

A Film For Friday: Grace Of My Heart by Allison Anders.

 

One of the things I did during my brief jaunt to The Big Apple in 2001 was to walk from Times Square- where I was staying – and down Broadway to place my hand on the Brill Building. And I did. It was a hot summers day and I burnt my hand.

It’s a fantastic looking building, of course, but that wasn’t the reason for my pilgrimage.

You see, not a lot of people know this- not even Michael Caine – but once upon a time, I wanted to be a songwriter. Indeed, after the band Oceans 11 split up in the mid ‘80s, me and guitarist Peter Ord decided to write songs together. Like Bacharach and David. Goffin and King, Fagan and Becker. But, of course, nothing came of it.

In the 1960s the Brill Building, though, was a hit factory that  housed some great songwriters. Including the ones that I mentioned above plus Paul Simon, Laura Nyro and more.

And Allison Anders’  wonderful  Grace Of My Heart is the story of that era, that great period of musical creativity. Well, it’s a fictional amalgam of a couple of people’s stories-mainly Carole King, I think – and it’s a gem.

Music is by Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, Burt Bacharach and others and it’s a smashing story, very well told, with fine performances from Ileana Douglas, John Turturro, Matt Dillon and others.

I’m On The TV

Alibi2

“Noir is closer to Laurel and Hardy than it is to Agatha Christie”

At the recent Alibi noir festival in Slovenia. Here’s me on RTV 4′s arts programme, Glasnik, talking about noir to journalist Petra Skok. With Renato Bratkovič, Neven Skgratic, Eddie Vega, Andrej Predin and the impression of Richard Godwin.

More about the festival soooon …

http://4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/glasnik-oddaja-tv-maribor/174362622

Top Telly: Brit Grit On The Box

The Public EyeIt was announced a while ago that Acorn Media, who are the main distributor of British TV programming to North American consumers, had acquired a 64% stake in Agatha Christie Limited. This means that those delicate folk across the pond will have hours of Miss Marple and Poirot to nibble on while they wait for BBC’s latest incarnation of Sherlock or the Inspector Morse prequel, Endeavour.

In comparison to these, it looks like America is the true home of cutting edge, hard-boiled crime television, with series like Breaking Bad, Southland, The Shield, True Detective, Sons Of Anarchy and The Wire, while the United Kingdom, just knocks out frigid cozies with stuck-up, Latin quoting police detectives.

However, for over forty years British television has also looked at the country’s grubby underbelly and produced plenty of gritty crime writing.

While we may think of sixties and seventies British TV cops as sophisticated post James Bonds, Frank Marker-who  was played so brilliantly by Alfred Burke in the sixties television series Public Eyewas no Simon Templar, Jason King or John Steed, I can tell you.

Public Eye ran for 10 years – from 1965 to 1975- with almost 100 episodes and although I haven’t seen it since then I remember it quite well and very fondly. Public Eye, was true Brit Grit as Marker moved from a dingy office in London to another flea pit in Birminghamand eventually to Brighton, and I can still picture him walking along a wind and rain swept sea-front, looking like something from a Morrissey song.

Marker looked like a soggy mongrel, with a face so lived in that squatters wouldn’t stay there.  He was a walking hard luck story too, getting knocked about by the police as well as criminals and even being framed and sent to prison.

Not a lot of peace and love there, then.

The seventies was a time when music and film were doing some pretty ground breaking and experimental stuff and, in the UK at least, so was TV. The BBC’s Play For Today, for example, is looked back upon with dewy eyed reverence these days. And so it should be. There were plays by Dennis Potter (Blue Remembered Hills), Mike Leigh (Abigail’s Party), Alan Bleasdale, John Osborne.  Some of them were terrifying to the young mind- I still cringe when I remember the harrowing and brilliant Edna The Inebriated Woman. Others were hilarious –Rumpole Of The Baily, which spawned the television series.

And some were rock hard.

I was 13 in 1975, when Philip Martin’s controversial Gangsters aired, and it was great. Gangsters was true Brit Grit television. Set in Birmingham, it was a multicultural crime story about illegal immigrants and corrupt politicians. And I loved it. There was a violence, swearing, nudity! What more could you want?

The next day at school everyone was talking about it. The subsequent media furore only added to the buzz.

Gangsters was such a success it was made into a series with theme music from the prog rock band Greenslade. It told the story of Kline, played by super-craggy Maurice Colborn, ex SAS, fresh out of prison and trying to go straight. And failing. By season two, the series really took a turn for the mental, though. The title sequence now had blues singer Chris Farlow belting out the theme song and looked like something from a low budget Kung Fu film.

Indeed, it went down such a weird path that it even had writer Philip Martin regularly appearing as himself and dictating scenes to a typist. And later he appeared as The White Devil, a hit man dressed as W C Fields (a role originally intended for the comedian  Les Dawson!) who eventually killed Kline.

Gangsters, which had started off as a hard hitting social realist crime drama , ended fantastically with the characters walking off the set, shots of the writers literally tossing away the script and a ‘That’s All Folks’ caption appearing on screen.

‘Daft!’ said my sister in law, who watched it with me. And she was right, I suppose, but then ‘daft’ isn’t always a bad thing, is it?

In one play and the two seasons of Gangsters there were drug addicts, hit men, sleazy night clubs, triads, murders, racist comedians, the CIA, strippers and all manner of urban rough and tumble. And W C Fields.

And on to the nineties.

Cracker was a Granada TV series that was created by the writer Jimmy McGovern which ran from 1993- 1995. A mere two years, yet it made a great impact  in that short time.(Okay, there was also a  fine Hong Kong set special in 1996 -and another in 2006,which I didn’t see.)

The star of the show was Scottish comedy actor Robbie Coltrane, who was previously best known for a cracking- see what I did then? – performance in the BBC’s version of John Byrne’s Tuttie Fruttie and for throwing a chair through a pub window.

Coltrane played Fitz,a brilliant, hard-drinking, heavy – smoking, bad- tempered criminal psychologist who worked as an assistant to the Manchester Police Force. “I drink too much, I smoke too much, I gamble too much. I am too much.” Top man.

CRACKER! AT PULP METAL MAGAZINE!Coltrane was mesmerizing. The stories were gritty and twisty and moving -even when they pushed the boundaries of melodrama. The rest of the actors involved were spot on too; in particular Christopher Ecclestone as the young detective learning more about life’s underbelly than he wanted. And Robert Carlyle was super impressive as the bitter, disillusioned Albie in the amazingly intense story ‘To Be A Somebody.’

Later, there was a watered-down U.S. version with Robert Pastorelli as Fitz. Pastorelli is a good enough actor but it really was a decaffeinated version of the original.

One of British television’s great creations, George Bulman first appeared on the small screen in 1976, in Granada Television’s hard edged crime series, The XYY Man, based on the books by Kenneth Royce. The XYY Man in question was a cat burglar called Spider Scott who was trying to go straight but regularly ended up getting caught in the MI5’s grubby web.

Doggedly on Scott’s trail was the real star of the show, Detective Sergeant George Bulman, brilliantly played by Don Henderson. Bulman was gruff and eccentric: He always wore gloves. usually had a menthol inhaler stuffed up his nose, carried his things in a plastic supermarket carrier bag and endlessly quoted Shakespeare.

It was a good series, too, but Bulman owned the show and when it ended, after two series, it was logical that Bulman and his sidekick Willis (no, not THAT Willis ) were given their own spin off show, Strangers.

Strangers –with a brilliant jazzy theme tune – started off as a pretty good, straight ahead, cop show spiced up by Bulman’s oddball character. But as the series progressed it became quirkier and quirkier, finding its form in season three when the brilliant Mark ‘Taggart’ McManus became Bulman’s boss.

The last episode had Bulman going undercover in a jazz band and featured music by Tangerine Dream and Pigbag. And the title quoted Jean Cocteau ,‘With these gloves you can pass through mirrors’- and saw Bulman trying to ditch his OCD by taking off his gloves and buggering off with McManus’ wife.

And when Strangers ended, after five series, there was still no stopping Bulman, who returned to star in his own show, Bulman. He was now an unofficial private detective working out of an antique clock repair shop with a spiky Scottish sidekick, occasionally working for a dodgy government agency or Mark MacManus. Bulman’s eccentricity was even more to the forefront in this series and the stories were comfortably off the wall.

I’ve heard from doctors that they can’t watch hospital series like ER and Casualty because of the medical inauthenticity of some scenes. Policeman surely say the same thing about the CSI franchise (okay EVERYONE says the same thing about CSI Miami). Dinner-ladies probably thought the same thing about Victoria Wood’s classic comedy series dinnerladies, for all I know.

But these glitches don’t bother me of, course. I find it easy to immerse myself in a story. Most of the time. Except, there was one scene in this cracking British television series,  that jarred.

But first of all, the SP on Whitechapel.

Whitechapel was a British crime series about a rough and ready bunch of veteran East End coppers, headed by D S Ray Miles (the ever brilliant Phil Davis) and played some familiar and tasty character actors.

Well, all goes pear shaped (see how I’m getting into the lingo?) when they get a new boss, D I Joseph Chandler (played by Rupert Penry- Jones). Chandler is a fast-tracker who they think has walked into the job through having the right connections. And is he also very, very posh – a full-on blue blooded toff, even. Invariably, he doesn’t fit in with the rest of the team and clashes with Miles more than somewhat.

And things get worse when Chandler calls in a batty Ripperologist, Edward Buchan ( a top turn from the League Of Gentlemen’s Steve Pemberton) to help in his first high-profile case – a Jack The Ripper copycat.

This Whitechapel first two-parter was great fun- full of Gothic atmosphere, blood and gore, quirkiness, black humour and genuine chills.

The series was a great success and it was deservedly recommissioned. But how do you follow the Ripper story if you want to use the same copycat killer idea again?

That’s right- you bring back The Kray Twins.

1 1 1 1 a a a a aWhitechapel-tvseriesWhitechapel’s second most famous killers come back as ghosts seeking REVENGE and go on the rampage. Or do they?

Not a bad set up, but this story didn’t seem to have the same bite as the Ripper story. And Buchan is not only a Ripperologist but an expert on the Krays? Mmmm …

They also used some weird CGI to make one actor look like both twins. And they got the location of a famous East End boozer wrong! Everyone knows that The Grave Maurice was in Whitechapel Road but they said it was Commercial Road. And the pub that they used as a stand in for the presumably defunct Grave Maurice, looked nothing like it. Still it was enjoyable enough tale, had its tense moments and some nice East End locations and atmosphere.

But where do you go in season three if you want to follow the same formula?

Well, you don’t have any other Whitechapel killers as famous as Jack The Ripper and The Kray Twins, so they did a sensible thing and focused on murders that echoed obscure and less well-known East End killings. And some chillers there were too, including a locked-room-mystery and fun reference to Lon Chaney. Also, this and later seasons were split into three separate two-part stories which worked really well.

So, a cracking fun series with nice chemistry between the cast, funny, quirky moments, suspense and gore, and some smashing, ripping yarns.

And since then? Well we’ve had Luther, Top Boy, Happy Valley and the splendid Scott & Bailey. Also, Howard Linskey’s cracking Geordie gangster novel The Drop is being adapted for television by none other than J J Connolly of Layer Cake fame. And let’s hope we can find a new generation of crime writers to put some more Brit Grit back on the box.

(Bits of this have previously appeared in the Noircon 2014 program, at Sabotage Times and Pulp Metal Magazine)

Recommended Read: British ’60s Cinema by Paul Thompson

brit 60s cinema

Paul Thompson’s BRITISH 60s CINEMA website is a gem. Don’t take my word for it, the great Cathi Unsworth is a fan, too. Here’s  the SP:

This website will celebrate the vitalilty and variety of British cinema in the 1960s (whilst straying back into the 1950s and on into the 1970s, and sometimes just covering interesting British films from any era). In general I have taken the definition of the 1960s from Dominic Sandbrook’s ‘Never had it so good’, which starts the era in 1956, and goes through to summer 1970. In cinematic terms, this is about right – although Room at the Top wasn’t released until 1959, the literary impetus for such films goes back a few years – and the early 1970s films such as A Clockwork Orange, Villain and of course Get Carter feel very different again.

There are articles and pieces on various topics, some obvious (but I think worth including) such as the New Wave of the early 60s (completely redone March 2013) and some not so obvious, such as pages on the influence of 60s films on The Smiths and the film club I ran in Abu Dhabi.  The website is now branching out more into other areas of British cinema, such as the page on the ‘spiv cycle’ of the 1940s or a new piece on the filn adaptations of the so-called low-life writing in the 1930s. Tuesday's Overlooked Film: Charlie Bubbles

There is a feature which I will add to as often as I can on ‘unsung films’ such as The Small World of Sammy Lee, The System, Deep End, Charlie Bubbles and The Boys, pages on recommended books and DVDs – and a section on adaptations of not-so-well-known books into more famous films such as To Sir, with Love and Get Carter.’

Top Telly: Fargo (2014)

Fargo

Apparently there was an earlier attempt at a television spin-off of the Coen brothers’ blackly comic film classic – this time starring Kathy Bates – but I never saw that and approached this television series with a degree of trepidation.

Well, I was more than pleasantly surprised. Black comedy is a delicate balancing act and Fargo cleverly slides that razor’s edge between noir and comedy, violence and slapstick, and the cruelty inherent in both. And Fargo is true noir. Crime fiction is about bringing order to chaos and noir is about bringing chaos to order. In crime fiction the ordinary man in tested by circumstances and becomes some sort of a hero. In noir he becomes a villain.

Hence Lester Nygaard – played by Martin Freeman – is a great creation. Great performances and characters abound and Bill Bob Thornton’s Lorne Malvo is a particularly marvellous bad guy. The writing is as tight as a snare drum and it’s a beautiful looking show, too.

(This first appeared over at THE KILLING TIMES)

Fargo 'Lester'.

Bad Girl Rachel Bailey

BaileyMy current favourite Bad Girl is a cop. Of course, crime fiction – whether it’s in books, films or on television – is over-populated with strong-willed, impulsive, foul mouthed, chain smoking, heavy drinking, bed-hopping cops. But with Detective Constable Rachel Bailey, in the gritty British TV series Scott & Bailey, that cliché is given a kick up the jacksy because the cop in question is a woman.

Rachel Bailey – a firecracker of a performance from actress and series co-creator Suranne Jones – is a wild card, indeed. From the offset we see she’s trouble. She’s having a fling with a barrister and risks losing her job when she uses the Police National Computer to check up on him. Discovering that he’s married, and that she’s pregnant, she blackmails him into letting her live in his swanky apartment. She later commits perjury and jeopardies a murder inquiry.

When the barrister is beaten to death, Bailey doesn’t even know if she killed him as she was blind drunk on the night of the murder. She eventually finds out that the killer was her brother- who thinks that she actually wanted him to beat up the barrister – and she lets him escape.

In a misguided attempt to stabilise her life, Bailey gets married to a boring but nice childhood sweetheart. Any stability is short lived, however, as she quickly rushes into a drunken one night stand and pretty much moves into the home of her partner DC Janet Scott, creating friction within Scott’s family. Friction which ignites when she drunkenly shags one of her colleagues in Scott’s home.

Rachel Bailey is 100% trouble and one of the strongest characters on British television at the moment.

(This first appeared over at Crimeculture)

Short, Sharp Interview: Jenna Payne

jenna1PDB: Can you pitch ZOMPIRE VIXENS FROM PLUTO in 25 words or less?

Foxy zombie/vampire hybrids attack Brooklyn in retaliation for the declassification of Pluto as a planet, rendering the Zompires ineligible for intergalactic aid.

PDB: Can you tell us about the staged readings that you have up at You Tube?

The goal of this webseries has always been perfectly clear to me – to make something awesome. Haha. But I still get an awful lot of questions as to what the series is actually about. We were fortunate enough to be accepted into Women In Horror month last February, so I put together a staged reading in four days with a combination of cast and and uncast (but killer) talent who were available. We had about an hour to rehearse before we performed the whole thing in front of a small audience. It was a ton of fun and while it doesn’t have the visual quality that I’m aiming for with the full series, I definitely think it does the job of illuminating the madcap adventures that the series offers.

PDB: Who else is involved in ZOMPIRE VIXENS FROM PLUTO?

I wrote this series a couple of years ago and have yet to fully fund the project. That said, though, there have been some amazing players who I hope will be available for the Vixens when all 12 episodes get greenlit. Sophia Remolde, Nylda Mark, and Emily Bennett have been cast as the Zompire trio. Marion Elaine and Tyler Cook are our two human heroes. Richard Brundage is featured multi-tasking in the staged reading and will be our Dr. Von Tron, the broken-hearted scientist responsible for declassifying Pluto. Drea Lorraine, aka 2012’s Miss Coney Island, really wowed me with her Empress of Pluto for the reading, and I hope she can come in for the actual show.

Michele Mulkey has been our key special effects guru from the beginning. She’s sent us some really amazing prosthetics for shoots, and I can’t wait to get her on set. Che Broadnax is kind of a mega sci fi geek and our cinematographer. Bob DeNatale is my frequent editor and finessed the staged reading videos. Ayal Kushner and Anna Duckworth have helped me produced shoots and events for the show. Lenny Gonzalez has done some composing for us. Phaedra Strecher has been our amazing graphic designer for Zompire flyers, t-shirts, etc. Many other people have made themselves available for the Zompire cause, and for that, I salute all of you.

PDB: Is there a connection between ZOMPIRE VIXENS FROM PLUTO and DARKTOWN?

Marion Elaine and Tyler Cook, our human saviors in ZOMPIRE VIXENS, were the two estranged lovers in DARKTOWN. Bob DeNatale edited DARKTOWN and will be editing the Vixens. I, obviously, am behind both projects.

Mostly I like how different the two pieces are. DARKTOWN is very, well, dark (as in grim) and rather simple. It was shot without a script and with extremely minimal props. The blacked out grid of Manhattan was the real star in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The actors showed up in their own clothes, and we made up the story as we went along.

In juxtaposition, ZOMPIRE VIXENS FROM PLUTO! also involves death, but it’s a zany horror comedy with an alien species travelling to Earth that only knows human history up until film noir. The story is actually pretty complicated. Also, there are a lot more fake blood, costuming, props, and gore happening.

The Zompires have been denied their lifeline of brainstems by the Intergalactic Consortium, spearheaded by Dr. Von Tron who loathes the Zompires. In order to keep their race alive, three Vixen lieutenants are sent to Earth to convince the good doctor to reinstate their food supply. Zompires, though, being a mix of zombie (forgetful) and vampire (sexy) get sidetracked pretty easily and lay waste to several of Brooklyn’s denizens.

Olivia, a gifted young astronomer and student of Dr. Von Tron’s, and her neighbor Chase take it upon themselves to save Brooklyn from the Zompires. The six episodes from the staged reading cover a lot of ground, but I’m really proud of some of the twists happening in the last half of the series. Fingers crossed we’ll get to unleash them in some way soon!jenna 2

PDB: You’ve recently moved to LA, why?

I spent the past ten years of my life in New York, and I came up in film there for three years. I’ve freelanced in production in Los Angeles a few times, but this time around I ended up staying. I got a bump in my dayrate and had been struggling in New York for far too long to ignore that kind of money. Basically, I love and appreciate the support and network that I’ve had in New York for so long, but Hollywood is the seat of our industry. I’ve been meeting many more people who have made it farther than I have and who want to hear about my projects. I was not finding those opportunities in NYC, but I guess the results remain to be seen. In the meantime, I bought my first car ever (her name is Gerty) and spend an astounding amount of time talking about the weather in a place that hardly has any discrepancy. Haha.

PDB: What’s on the cards for the rest of 2013?

I’m working on building packaging for ZOMPIRE VIXENS and for my feature-length slasher. I’m hoping to meet a lot more film folks in LA, and I’ll be hitting up more than a few midnight horror flicks at Cinefamily this month… Tis my most favorite of seasons!

PDB: Where can people find out more about Jenna Payne, ZOMPIRE VIXENS FROM PLUTO! and DARKTOWN?

Well, you can check out any of the following links and please send what you like to those you love the most!

www.jennapayne.com

www.zompirevixensfrompluto.com

Jenna Payne‘s YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/dirjennapayne

Twitter https://twitter.com/#%21/jenna_payne

ZVP! YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/ZompireVixens

ZVP! FB https://www.facebook.com/ZompiresTheSeries

DARKTOWN –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B8q1ij2vdk (Preview)

PDB: Anything else you think we should know?

I’m definitely looking for collaborators, so if you’re interested in my work, I would love to hear about yours, too!

Thanks Jenna!

Top Telly: Bullman The Bulldog

One of British television’s great creations, George Bulman first appeared on the small screen in 1976, in Granada Television’s hard edged crime series, The XYY Man, based on the books by Kenneth Royce. The XYY Man in question was a cat burglar called Spider Scott who was trying to go straight but regularly ended up getting caught in the MI5’s grubby web.

Doggedly on Scott’s trail was the real star of the show, Detective Sergeant George Bulman, brilliantly played by Don Henderson. Bulman was gruff and eccentric: He always wore gloves. usually had a menthol inhaler stuffed up his nose, carried his things in a plastic supermarket carrier bag and endlessly quoted Shakespeare.

It was a good series, too, but Bulman owned the show and when it ended, after two series, it was logical that Bulman and his sidekick Willis (no, not THAT Willis ) were given their own spin off show, Strangers.

Strangers –with a brilliant jazzy theme tune – started off as a pretty good, straight ahead, cop show spiced up by Bulman’s oddball character. But as the series progressed it became quirkier and quirkier, finding its form in season three when the brilliant Mark ‘Taggart’ McManus became Bulman’s boss.

The last episode had Bulman going undercover in a jazz band and featured music by Tangerine Dream and Pigbag. And the title quoted Jean Cocteau ,‘With these gloves you can pass through mirrors’– and saw Bulman trying to ditch his OCD by taking off his gloves and buggering off with McManus’ wife.

And when Strangers ended, after five series, there was still no stopping Bulman, who returned to star in his own show, Bulman. He was now an unofficial private detective working out of an antique clock repair shop with a spiky Scottish sidekick, occasionally working for a dodgy government agency or Mark MacManus. Bulman’s eccentricity was even more to the forefront in this series and the stories were comfortably off the wall.

Here’s Bulman’s first appearance in The XYY Man.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjKdl8wli7E&feature=related

This post first appeared at Pulp Metal Magazine.

True Brit Grit At The Cinema And On TV

True Brit Grit

A bit back, I wrote an article for The Sabotage Times about Brit Grit television. I took a gander at three shows in particular, Public Eye, Gangsters and Cracker. All were in-your-face, hard-hitting crime dramas from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s respectively.

And now, it looks like a bunch of the writers that have contributed to the True Brit Grit charity anthology that I co-edited (with Luca Veste) are going to be putting the grit back on the box.

Tony Black, for example, is due to have his intense crime novel Long Time Dead made into a film, directed by Richard ‘Jobbo The Yobbo’ Jobson. And Black’s debut, Paying For It, is due to have the television treatment.

And there’s more.

Howard Linskey’s critically acclaimed The Drop is being adapted for the small screen by JJ ‘Layer Cake’ Connolly, no less!

Sheila Quigley’s Seahills Estate debut, Run For Home, has been scheduled to be made into a telly series, too.

Adrian Magson’s first Harry Tate novel, Red Station, is due to blast out on to big screen as the start of a franchise to equal that of Jason Bourne!

So, who’s next?

Certainly, Matt Hilton’s Joe Hunter thrillers would make great high-octane action cinema and wouldn’t someone like to be able to get a handle on Charlie Williams’ blackly-comic Mangel books or Ray Banks’ poignant Cal Innes Quartet?

So, if you want to get a taste of these stars in the making, you could do worse than pick up True Brit Grit- A Charity Anthology. Here’s the blurb:

“The BRIT GRIT mob is coming to kick down your door with hobnailed boots. Kitchen-sink noir; petty-thief-louts; lives of quiet desperation; sharp, blood-stained slices of life; booze-sodden brawls from the bottom of the barrel and comedy that’s as black as it’s bitter—this is BRIT GRIT!”

45 British writers, 45 short stories. All coming together to produce an anthology, benefiting two charities…
Children 1st – http://www.children1st.org.uk/
and
Francesca Bimpson Foundation – http://www.francescabimpsonfoundation.org

The line up…

Introduction by Maxim Jakubowski

1. Two Fingers of Noir by Alan Griffiths 2. Eat Shit by Tony Black 3. Baby Face And Irn Bru by Allan Guthrie 4. Pretty Hot T’Ing by Adrian Magson 5. Black Betty by Sheila Quigley 6. Payback: With Interest by Matt Hilton 7. Looking for Jamie by Iain Rowan 8. Stones in Me Pocket by Nigel Bird 9. The Catch and The Fall by Luke Block 10. A Long Time Coming by Paul Grzegorzek 11. Loose Ends by Gary Dobbs 12. Graduation Day by Malcolm Holt 13. Cry Baby by Victoria Watson 14. The Savage World of Men by Richard Godwin 15. Hard Boiled Poem (a mystery) by Alan Savage 16. A Dirty Job by Sue Harding 17. Stay Free by Nick Quantrill 18. The Best Days of My Life by Steven Porter 19. Hanging Stanley by Jason Michel 20. The Wrong Place to Die by Nick Triplow 21. Coffin Boy by Nick Mott 22. Meat Is Murder by Colin Graham 23. Adult Education by Graham Smith 24. A Public Service by Col Bury 25. Hero by Pete Sortwell 26. Snapshots by Paul D Brazill 27. Smoked by Luca Veste 28. Geraldine by Andy Rivers 29. A Minimum of Reason by Nick Boldock 30. Dope on a Rope by Darren Sant 31. A Speck of Dust by David Barber 32. Hard Times by Ian Ayris 33. Never Ending by McDroll 34. Imagining by Ben Cheetham 35. Escalator by Jim Hilton 36. Faces by Frank Duffy 37. A Day In The Death Of Stafford Plank by Stuart Ayris 38. The Plebitarian by Danny Hogan 39. King Edward by Gerard Brennan 40. This Is Glasgow by Steven Miscandlon 41. Brit Grit by Charlie Wade 42. Five Bags Of Billy by Charlie Williams 43. It Could Be You by Julie Morrigan 44. No Shortcuts by Howard Linskey 45. The Great Pretender by Ray Banks

Get stuck in there!