Saturday, September 24, 2011

Love, Death & Ketchup...

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your flash fiction."

...As Shakespeare so memorably wrote. And so it proves, as a story that could be straight from the Flash Fiction Offensive or Dirty Noir instead finds itself happening in real-life small-town Brazil.

"In all his years in Brazilian law enforcement, police chief Marconi Almino de Lima had never faced a case like this: a sordid tale of love, jealousy, a contract killer and kitchen condiments.

It all began in June when Maria Nilza Simões, a housewife in the small town of Pindobaçu, around 240 miles from Salvador, in the north-eastern state of Bahia, allegedly sought out a local gun for hire to do away with her husband's lover."

I like the tag given to the story in the web address: ketchup-killing-sauce-fun-brazil. Says it all really.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Straight Down The Line For Both Of Us...

As every blogger and their dog has pointed out already, there's some rather interesting things going on at Hard Case concerning a certain classic noir author. A few of his books have also turned out some pretty good films.

"Then I got to thinking what cemeteries were for..."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

All Tied Up...

Puppy dogs and kittens, all tied up with string
These are a few of my favourite things

...As Julie Andrews once sang. With S.O. back at work in the college, she has kindly picked up and passed on a few of her students' germs. While I self-medicate at home, here are some of the best procrastination spots around the web:

1.  Over at Psycho-Noir, Heath Lowrance has finished up his revised ten part look at the history of hardboiled/noir. Check that stuff out here, and get ready for his forthcoming series focusing on the 60s/70s golden age of noir. And he does it all for love.

2.  Pulp Poem of the Week over at Noirboiled Notes. This is someone who really 'gets' the noir mood. A few of my favourites include this one (he clearly has a thing for Gil Brewer), this one, that one there, hell, I love most of them. And he's only getting better with time.

3. If you love the old pulps, you'll probably like Pulp Curry.  Andrew Nette looks at a lot of classic pulp books, but with a focus on Asia and the Antipodes, such as this classy collection of covers here. Look out also for his new weekly series. It's about pulps and it's on Friday. It's appropriately named Pulp Friday.

4. Another blogger who truly understands what noir means, especially in relation to the classic movies. If Noir=Fucked then Fragments of Noir shows us why Fucked=Cool. An essential hangout. 

5. This was wrapped up a couple of months ago, but it's worth posting a link to the complete set. And no-one ever accused me of having my finger on the pulse, anyway.

Ten Rules to Write Noir Episode 1, Rule 1: Don't write noir... Whatever the hell Lee Child is doing, do that instead. 

Lovely Ben at Dead End Follies persuades ten noir writers to pen their own ten noir-writing rules. I'm not sure the results are useful for wannabees, but it's essential reading. And his forthcoming My Dark Pages project starts next week. Looks mightily interesting.

6. New Pulp Press. I love these guys. From adrenaline (and speed, and scotch)-fuelled thrill rides and desperately deranged trips to hell, to some of the most interesting and promising new voices in hardboiled and noir, like Mr Lowrance and Aaron Philip Clark. A good chunk of the best new pulps are at New Pulp Press, with something to suit every (dark, dangerous, deranged) mood. And they're on kindle for just under 3 quid each. My i-phone is loading up on these guys. What's that? You prefer the classics? Well, f*** you, mister. They've got Gil Brewer as well.

Is that the time? Really? Well, looks like my hot toddy needs a refill.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blessed Are The Freak...

It's Thanksgiving time in Casa del Noir. I'm not talking about American Thanksgiving, or Canadian, or even Korean Thanksgiving which happens to also be today. No I'm talking about a day off work and a bottle of CheapestScotchEverInTheWorld(tm), for which we Give Thanks.

Other reasons to be thankful? Well it seems we are mightily blessed. Britain's foremost psychomiserabilist Allan Guthrie has released his 2009 novel Slammer in e-book format. AND IT ONLY COSTS NINETY-NINE FRICKIN PENCE.

Yes, that's right. One of the best noir novels of the last decade for NINETY-NINE SHINY NEW PENCE. The last time anything so good cost 99p, I were a wee young lad perusing the top twenty 7" singles in Woolworths, a single dirty pound note clutched in my mittens. Since 7" singles, pound notes, Woolworths, and Good Things have all long since ceased to exist, I'd say that's something of a bargain. If you haven't read this book yet, trust me there is nothing better you could be doing with your time. Don't mow the lawn, call a sickie at work, stop making love to your better half. IT'S NINETY-NINE P FOR GOODNESS SAKE!

To hear it as it should sound, here's Allan's dulcet tones giving you a sample set to music. If you need more reasons, here's 10 of them.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cold Chow Mein...

Recently I was playing the Tom Waits Game with Nate Flexer's deliciously deranged 'The Disassembled Man'. I counted 3 direct Tom Waits references, but I may have missed a couple. Let me know if you found more.

Maybe it's being disconnected from the constant novelty of the internet for a few days after moving apartment, but it made me reminisce about my first trip to Hong Kong. I was about as excited as I ever get for anything, but the thought occurred: What is there to actually do in HK? I mean, there's no Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Tate Modern, Secret Palace, MOMA, Empire State Buildings or anything of a par. In fact, apart from the movies and the je ne sais quoi, what is there?

As would any sane man, I asked myself the question: What would Tom Waits do?

And St Tom in his benevolence has given us the answer: Shore Leave, a Hong Kong drizzle in Cuban heels.

I don't wear Cuban heels, but otherwise I didn't do too bad on my HK/TW to do list.

in bad need of a shave    - check. No problem there.

and so I slopped at the corner on cold chow mein   - Oh yes. Multiple success.

and shot billiards with a midget
until the rain stopped    
-  Ok, I wouldn't quite call him a midget. And we didn't actually play billiards. This one is harder than you'd think.
and I bought a long sleeved shirt   
- Yes
with horses on the front    
- No
and some gum and a lighter and a knife  
- Yes, and yes. But no knife. Too 70s.
and a new deck of cards with girls on the back 
- Aha. Yes, a collection of Japanese erotica playing cards. Unfortunately they were heavily censored.
and I sat down and wrote a letter to my wife  
- skipped this one, as S.O. and I were sharing a room there didn't seem much point.

and I had a cold one at the Dragon   - Couldn't find THE Dragon, but certainly A Dragon
with some Filipino floor show   
- I've seen too many of those already, thanks
and talked baseball with a lieutenant
over a Singapore sling  
- Not a Lt. but otherwise yes. Hurray for Singapore Slings.
and I wondered how the same moon outside 
over this Chinatown fair
could look down on Illinois
and find you there  
- Don't know anybody in Illinois. Not very well, anyway. But close enough. I think I saw the moon. Or a moon. Something round, after several or more Singapore Slings.

Other occasions Tom has helped me out: I've never fallen in love with a Gun Street girl (again), never trusted a man in a blue trench coat, dangling from a rope of sand was enormous fun, and he helped me to fall out of windows with confetti in my hair. To date,  I have also never driven a car when I'm dead. Can't wait for my forthcoming trips to Singapore, Underground, and the Red Barn.

God bless our Tom.