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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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I've looked at strange old comics a few times over the years (follow the hotlinks below), but thought I'd have one last look, precipitated by a new publication. Comic books, that is the bound free-standing comic periodicals, were born in 1933 when Bill Gaines's father looked at comic strips in newspapers and wondered if they'd sell separately. He worked for a printing company, so his idea was easy…
25 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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Even disguised as an adiposally-challenged lady, John Travolta can still remind us that he started out as a terrific song-and-dance man on the stage. Also, check out the Actors' Fund Charity Hairspray finale on Youtube, featuring just about everyone who was ever in the show in a self-isolating finale. The link's for a good cause, so I won't post it here.
7 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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What makes a good crime film? Well, there has to be an innocent whose eyes are opened and a criminal on a mission, and there's usually someone trapped between the two, creating a moral problem. But the usual suspects, like 'The Usual Suspects', are absent here. In any top ten list you'll find 'Bonnie & Clyde', 'The Godfather', 'The French Connection' and 'Chinatown', but with so many rare gems…
16 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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My old pal Joanne Harris is in the press again, this time for revealing what she was paid for the rights to have her excellent novel 'Chocolat' made into a mediocre film - £5,000 apparently. I have never been paid a figure remotely as high as that for the rights to anything. The standard fee for a new short story still hovers between £50 - £100, static after two decades. To put that in perspective…
9 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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For those completists out there, this is the definitive list of all my published short story titles, now reaching Joyce Carol Oatesian (Oatsean?) proportions, if not her consistent quality. This is the order in which I wrote them, but there are still around five missing that I haven't been able to track down. (That's not all of them in the photo, just the ones I could reach without a ladder.) I've…
14 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London & The Arts
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The first play I saw was George Bernard Shaw's 'The Devil's Disciple'. I must have been seven or eight. The last play I saw was Friedrich Dürrenmatt's 'The Visit', days before Lockdown. Between the two plays has been sandwiched a lifetime's theatre, plays seen more frequently than any football fan's match fixtures. It was a London thing. With more grand theatres concentrated in one place than…
20 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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There can be no single defining rule to censorship. Mickey Rooney's horrible impersonation of an Asian man in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' doesn't get removed, probably because there's no way of doing so without destroying the treasured film. Yet I remember the single shocking instance of the verb 'fuck' in 'Cabaret', which was changed to 'screw' and undermined one of the film's most Isherwood-esque…
20 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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It started when I caught the opening of 'Hairspray' on Netflix and stayed tuned to watch John Waters' cameo as a flasher on the streets of Baltimore. I remember Tracy Turnblad walking along a street filled with parodied sixties moments including a drunk in a bar (it's early morning) and several pregnant women hilariously spraying cigarette smoke around. Except that they don't anymore. The latter…
30 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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It's an entertainment genre barely recognised, but once you look around you'll see it everywhere; stories of an object that, once owned, brings bad luck and often death in its wake. The things of desire make for great morality tales. Stephen King has produced his fair share of cursed objects, especially in 'Needful Things', which delivers a twisted version of caveat emptor as townsfolk get their…
24 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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Are authors allowed to talk about anything other than their creations? JK Rowling was absolutely right to make public her argument that untransitioned males should not have full female rights. In time-honoured fashion she laid out her thoughts clearly, humanely and fairly in an essay which has now made her the target of ill-informed criticism from transgender activists. This week some members of…
37 comments

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