[books] Can a Novelist Be Too Productive? … Stephen King discusses prolific and unprolific writers … ‘As a young man, my head was like a crowded movie theater where someone has just yelled “Fire!” and everyone scrambles for the exits at once. I had a thousand ideas but only 10 fingers and one typewriter. There were days — I’m not kidding about this, or exaggerating — when I thought all the clamoring voices in my mind would drive me insane. Back then, in my 20s and early 30s, I thought often of the John Keats poem that begins, “When I have fears that I may cease to be / Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain …” I imagine it was that way with Frederick Schiller Faust, better known as Max Brand (and best known as the creator of Dr. Kildare). He wrote at least 450 novels, a feat rendered more remarkable by his ill health and premature death at the age of 51. Alexandre Dumas wrote “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “The Three Musketeers” — and some 250 other novels. And there’s Isaac Asimov, who sold his first short story at 19, hammered out more than 500 books, and revolutionized science fiction.’
[iphone] Every iOS Setting You Should Check When You Get a New Phone … How to turn off the Connect social network: ‘Apple introduced a new social network in the Music app called Connect. It’s stupid, and if you don’t plan on using it, it just takes up space. You can get rid of it, but it requires a few steps. Tap on Settings > General > Restrictions and set restrictions to on. Then scroll down to Apple Music Connect and set the toggle to off. Once you’ve done that, the Connect icon in Music gets swapped out with an icon for playlists.’
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September 8, 2015
[head] I Hung Out With Jeremy Bentham’s Severed Head And This Is What I Learned … Hayley Campbell meets a dead philopsopher’s head … ‘Bentham’s head has been dead for 183 years and he smells like vinegar and feet and bad jerky and damp dust. “Oh, they all smell like that. Y’know, like mummies,” said Kingham, as if the smell of Egyptian mummies is wildly more relatable to me than the smell of a dead philosopher’s head.’
In May 1968, Ronnie and Reggie Kray were arrested. Their Old Bailey trial the following year was, at 39 days, the longest murder trial in English legal history at that time; the press and public galleries were both packed. The twins denied everything, but the Blind Beggar barmaid, thereafter known as “Mrs X”, gave damning evidence and the renegade members of The Firm did the rest. Ronnie gave a spectacular but crazed performance in the witness box, name-dropping the boxing champions they knew and portraying himself as an innocent East End philanthropist. They were jailed for life and a minimum of 30 years by Mr Justice Melford Stevenson, who told them that “society has earned a rest from your activities”.
There was to be little rest from the twins, who continued to promote their image as England’s No 1 gangsters so diligently. And that remains the great enigma about the Krays: the fame they craved ensured that they would be a target for the police, and yet they staged their crimes where they would be guaranteed an audience; the men they believed were totally loyal were the ones who ensured their downfall. Once jailed, they devoted their considerable energies to their image as gangland stars, always open to visitors from outside.
[comics] The Best Loved Man In Comics: A Tribute To Archie Goodwin … Chris Sims remember Archie Goodwin … ‘In an industry where editors are often in conflict with creators just as a natural consequence of the creative process, Goodwin’s geniality was legendary. He literally won awards for it — specifically the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award at the 1992 Eisners — and was credited even after his death as a “Guiding Light” in Starman, one of his final projects.’
[politics] What Will Happen Now Jeremy Corbyn Is Labour Leader, According To The Media … nice guide to what to expect under the red jackboot of our new socialist overlord … ‘Writer, activist and princeling of the far left elite Owen Jones has been appointed to head up Jeremy Corbyn’s new Purity Commission. The move comes shortly after Labour officially declared that vanished former MP Chuka Umunna “never existed in the first place”.’
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September 15, 2015
[life] Angels ‘can only intervene in the trivial bullshit of the self-absorbed’ … ‘Angel Tom Booker said: “For some reason we are not permitted to assist people suffering the effects of war, famine or disease. “It’s angel policy that we can only help with trivial matters affecting the lives of the privileged, for example easing traffic congestion so that a middle-class divorcee can get to her book group on time. Or the all-time classic, finding someone’s car keys. When my designated human says ‘Guardian angel, please find my keys so I can go on holiday’, I am duty bound to oblige.”’
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September 16, 2015
[comics] 25 Years of Judge Dredd: The Megazine … ‘The Megazine might have been all Dredd and his world all the time to start with, but there was plenty of breakthroughs behind the scenes. The first issue sold more than 50,000 copies, triggering a royalty payment to all the creators featured in it – that had never happened before on a Fleetway title. There was a satirical magazine inside the issue, the Mega-City Times, created via desktop publishing – a first back when titles were still put together with glue and scalpels.’
[movies] Martin Scorsese’s ‘Goodfellas’: Still the Most Realistic Mobster Movie Ever … a look at Goodfellas after 25 Years… ‘Liotta has probably never been better—wormy (his braying laughter at Tommy’s bad jokes is wonderfully hideous) and yet somehow sympathetic. Perhaps because he’s placed alongside two truly cold-blooded men, Henry is the closest thing the audience gets to an anti-hero in the film: His mild shock at every pointless murder feels like moral outrage in the mobster world. That’s a dynamic David Chase understood when laying out the world of his TV show The Sopranos (the only true Mafia masterpiece produced since Goodfellas): By making his protagonist Tony a slightly more reasonable person than his violent, thick-headed associates, the character seemed infinitely more relatable.’