Friday, September 08, 2006

Friday fryup

Madame Arcati lives

Madame Arcati not only lives, she blogs. (The original madame, you will recall, was created by Noel Coward in Blithe Spirit.) She pursues, it says at the top of the blog, copy-lifters. Which presumably means that there is no Creative Commons licence here. Or is it an obscure reference to gay men in the newspaper business?

Anyway, Madame has been having some correspondence with Bookworm of Private Eye (5 September). It's a bit inconclusive. She had a go at him/her, he/she had a go back.

Actually that's just about the least interesting post on the blog. Whoever Madame may be, she's bloody well informed (did you know that Brigitte Nielsen used to have holidays on the island of Thudufushi in the Maldives?). She obviously gets around a bit, has apallingly vulgar taste (much like my own, although I didn't actually watch Charlotte Church's new chat show because it was past my bedtime), and she either reads all the show-business trade mags and press releases or gets first-hand reports in the bar. This is seriously interesting stuff.

My only crit: some paragraphs are much too long, and we could do with spaces between all of them.

The Sound of Meat

Randall Radic is an American, currently resident in north California, and he is, or was, a priest of the Old Catholic Church. This is a church which does not, it seems, require its priests to be unmarried or celibate, and Randall is neither. He also has a somewhat unorthodox history, for a priest, in that he sold an actual church building, which he did not own, and was sentenced to a 16-month jail sentence as a result.

Randall writes. He has a blog, on which he spends quite a lot of time discussing such topics as writers who committed suicide, and he is the author of several books. The religious works are, or were, published under the name Maximus Confessor, but only one is currently listed on And -- this, at last, is the point -- he has written an autobiography called The Sound of Meat.

The Sound of Meat is available in ebook form only, as yet, and it's published by a UK firm, Cool Publications. And there's more about the man and his book on his own web site.

Nowhere, however, (nowhere that I've found anyway) is there an opportunity to read a sample chapter of this book, which is a pity, because I think it unlikely that many people are going to shell out even £4.99 for an ebook without getting a sniff of it first.

Well, I've read part of it and there is no doubt that Randall can write. As a matter of fact he strings words together words rather well. The book is divided into 24 chapters, and by my count 16 of them have the names of women in the titles. So, if you want to read a (fairly truthful) book by a priest who is a convicted felon and has had eight fiancees and two wives, and a very complicated set of relationships with his mother, father, and other family members, then this is for you.

The Sentinel

The Sentinel is a new(ish) movie starring Michael Douglas. Plot: the Douglas character is a senior officer in the US Secret Service, i.e. the force which protects the President. He is also having an affair with the wife of the President. And there is a plot to kill the President.

Douglas gets set up so that he appears to be the inside man involved in the plot, and to clear his name he goes on the run.

Nothing terribly original here, but then there's nothing wildly original about many plots: everything depends on how it's handled.

These days, I am not such a close follower of the movie medium as I once was, but this seemed to me to be a thoroughly professional job. It was rather better, actually, than I expected. I do have to say, however, that other reviews that I have seen have been lukewarm.

Of course our credulity is strained a little here and there. And the character played by Eve Longoria (of Desperate Housewives) requires perhaps more suspension of disbelief than some others. (Aside: did you know that Marcia Cross, who plays Bree in DH is pregnant? In real life, that is. Yes, I know. I heard that too.)

My main reason for wanting to see The Sentinel was that it is, of course, an obvious comparator for The Manchurian Candidate, the book and two films, of which I have written here more than once.

The Sentinel is based on the 2003 novel by Gerald Petievich, who, it turns out, is a former Secret Service agent himself. And, what's more, he is the author of To Live and Die in L.A., another novel which was made into a very respectable movie.

Well, The Sentinel movie is not another Manchurian Candidate, either Mk I or Mk II, but it does make me think that Gerald Petievich might be a writer worth investigating.

He has some interesting comments on his own web site. 'It's nice,' he says, 'if they can take your book, which is art, and turn it into some form of entertainment, from which you can make a lot of money.'


By the way. It turns out that, if you are having an affair with the First Lady, it's awfully difficult to get time to yourselves.


Well, I had hoped this morning to get through an awful lot of stuff that people have told me about, but we aren't doing very well so far. So let's see if we can shift a few in one line; or at least one sentence.

Issue two of A Public Space is out: fiction, poetry, and art.

Another mag of much the same kind: the Jimson Journal.

Scott Stein has written about where novels come from; and they don't seem to be found under gooseberry bushes.

The Real Literature Directory offers biographies and texts of some older famous writers.

Penguin books UK now has an official blog on which members of staff post their views, doings, and info on new books.

Hey, you remember how keen I was on Homunculus? Well, now it's been more than favourably reviewed by The Star in Johannesburg, and Richard Charkin, boss of Macmillan, is well pleased. Claims that it's the politically incorrect novel of the year, which is what I said in April.

Jason Sanford has been doing some work on rates of response to fiction submissions.

John Howard, author of self-published children's book The Key to Chintak, has notched up 10,000 sales, and in July the book rose to no. 6 on the Waterstone's children's chart.


JodyTresidder said...

The Madame Arcati blog is absolutely tremendous. Thanks very much.

Maria said...

Hmm, I had no idea that plots against the President involving secret service men were so common at the moment.

I just finished "The Inside Ring" by Mike Lawson. A good tough-guy novel without feeling too tough or cliched (the tough guy did not smoke cigars or drink himself to bed each night.)

Anonymous said...

There seems to be an increase of these self-promoting "blogs" from companies like Penguin, and (my opinion) the tediously name dropping Hotel Chelsea, wanting you to think they're just a few of the good ol' fellas from the company with a burning urge to share some kind of back-door scoop. Cheaper than television ads, I guess.

Anonymous said...

How do we know that Randall Radic is telling the truth about his background? Maybe it is all one big con.

Anonymous said...

I can only hope that our manager/owner Stanley Bard reads Andrew O'hara's comment and decides not to yell at us so often!

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I think Randall Radic was concerned about real situations such as suicides! Probably he wanted people to think about it and reflect which I consider pretty interesting.