Never Let Me Go

Book written by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005) Film directed by Mark Romanek (2010) Ishiguro, Romanek, please let us go, you heartless bastards.  Not since Chris Lilley killed Pat Mullins (We Can Be Heroes: Finding the Australian of the Year of the Year, ABC TV, 2005)  have we at TVC been rendered sleepless by an afflicted fictional character. And we could laugh at Pat. Laugh at any of the characters in Ishiguro’s book or Romanek’s film of the book and you will go straight to hell. It is best perhaps to watch Romanek’s realisation before reading Ishiguro’s pitiless novel. The film transforms…

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Funnymen

(by Ted Heller) (2012) “Dying is easy: comedy is hard.”* As is tragicomedy, which Funnymen achieves magnificently. Presented in the literary version of cinéma vérité, the book recounts (to a diligent interviewer called ‘Ted’ via sound-bites from a cast of over a hundred characters) the life and career trajectory of Sigmund Blissman (aka Ziggy Bliss) and Vittorio Fontana (aka Vic Fountain), who hook up in the Catskills and take their haywire mugging, kvetching, crooning act on the club circuit in the ’40s, forming a team that puts them on the top, from the Copa to Vegas to Hollywood and all…

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Ship of Fools

(By Tucker Carlson) (2018) The brilliant TV pundit Carlson (one of the few Americans in the public square who understand irony) is perhaps better on screen than in print. Still, this is an amusing, engaging, stimulating and un-footnoted overview of America’s political and corporate elites, and how they, like the Emperor with no clothes, disport their naked ambition with a staggering immunity from introspection. Carlson is a rock-solid conservative, and has plenty to say about American liberal idiocy and childishness, but that doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t train a metaphorical AR-15 on the Republican Party as well. In fact,…

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The Witching Hour (Anne Rice)

In 1818 Mary Shelley created Frankenstein’s monster, a bag of bones held together with dead flesh and animated by gothic electricity.  In 1990 Anne Rice created The Witching Hour, a 1,207 page bag of bones held together with dead prose and flaccidly animated by pseudo-gothic raving. The Mayfairs are a family of witches who limp, from Europe, to a southern United States plantation, to the Garden District of New Orleans (Louisiana’s Gothic Central). Their bones are clothed in lush foliage, incest, madness, torture and incantations. Pursuant to some vague female version of the entail, one woman in each generation inherits…

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Much More Than Scenery

April 9, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Non-Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Landscapes of South Australia by Alex Frayne (2020) The Varnished Culture has hitherto grudgingly conceded photography as an art; this sumptuous volume has fully convinced us. Over 200 pages of beautiful photographic plates, in brilliant, vibrant tints or tasteful, crisp black-and-white, this is a book for a bedside table, not a coffee table. If one is fortunate to live in South Australia, it fires the imagination and galvanizes the traveller to breathe the immense and often desolate beauty of the State, especially in these days of border-hopping restrictions; for those of us who regard camping as akin to a root…

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