Sunday, November 30, 2008

39 Steps

The Guardian reports that the BBC1 is to show a new version of John Buchan's classic adventure story the Thirty Nine Steps on Boxing Day.

Written the best part of 100 years ago, this novel is still one of my favourites. Apparently, the plot has been changed yet again, with various classic scenes removed - although not from the original, but the excellent cinematic rewrites. I would love to see all of the movies in succession just to compare.

For the record, the full set is:

The novel, 1915

Available online to read thanks to Project Gutteburg, but it's a cheap enough paperback anyway.

The Hitchcock version, 1935

Stars Robert Donat as Hannay, visited by a spy being chased by assassins after uncovering a plot to steal British plans for a silent aircraft engine.

The Kenneth More vehicle, 1959

Ralph Thomas's remake stars Kenneth More who is introduced to the mystery by the death of a beautiful spy who told of a shadowy group, The 39 Steps, which stole plans for a British missile.

The Modern version, 1978

Starring Robert Powell, Don Sharp's film is set in the run-up to the First World War as foreign agents plan to bomb Parliament and kill a Greek leader. The 39 steps are the steps in Big Ben.

The BBC version, 2008

Rupert Penry-Jones, the former star of Spooks, in the lead role.

Anyway, how can you not love a novel whose opening paragraph is:
I returned from the City about three o'clock on that May afternoon pretty well disgusted with life. I had been three months in the Old Country, and was fed up with it. If anyone had told me a year ago that I would have been feeling like that I should have laughed at him; but there was the fact. The weather made me liverish, the talk of the ordinary Englishman made me sick, I couldn't get enough exercise, and the amusements of London seemed as flat as soda-water that has been standing in the sun. 'Richard Hannay,' I kept telling myself, 'you have got into the wrong ditch, my friend, and you had better climb out.'

Here's an advert for the new comedy at the Criterion theatre in London, which has been getting good reviews:

and some irrelevant but familiarly titled experimental music

Dark Winter


The Dark Don't Hide It





Anywhere but here

On the road




Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Originally uploaded by Southcoasting
Winter mixtape, a bit cold and desolate and low fi, in two parts:
  • Part 1 here (60mb mp3s zipped)
  • Part 2 here (40mb mp3s zipped)
Bit of old stuff, bit of Brighton stuff, bit of low fi stuff, bit melancholy, bit of a chill - some tracks have appeared alongside recent Southcoasting photographs on flickr. All of it is exceptionally good :-)

Available to the first 100 callers and then they're gone. A few select mp3s below.

1. Humble Pie, take me back - a slow starter
2. Blitzen Trapper, Gold for bread - from Furr
3. Dressy Bessy, who'd stop the rain?
4. Five stairsteps, ooh child
5. Fotheringay, Knights of the road - gorgeous roadsong
6. The Laylanas, Barbara - from Brighton
7. Lounge Lizards, Do the wrong thing - 1980s free NY jazz
8. Birdengine, Buried in the black snow (live) - Gothic folk
9. Michael Hurley, Grand Canyon Line - 1972
10. Okkervil River, Unless it's kicks (live)
11. R.G. Morrison , Learning about loathing - Drifter
12. Rural Alberta Advantage, Sleep all day - I wish
13. Homestead & Wolfe, Beat of the drum - 1970s church group!
14. Ann Sexton, you're letting me down - northern soul, 1972
15. The Loom, Song for the winter sun
16. The Miserable Rich, the Barmaid's canon - all about Brighton
17. Garmisch Partenkirchen, Black Paint
18. Andrew Bird, Jesus gonna make up my dyin' bed (Blind Willie Johnson cover, live)
19. Frontier Ruckus, what you are - in the spirit of Harry Smith