I read. You read. I watch. You watch. That's what we're doing here.
I've been reading crime, noir, hardboiled, vintage, and anything and everything really for years. Same goes for my movie-watching habits.
Eclectic is the word.
To my mind, indiscriminate reading can be the best education you can give yourself, and even if it doesn't turn out that way it can still sure as hell give you a good time. Same goes for indiscriminate movie-watching.
About ten years ago, I decided to scribble down some reviews of what I was reading. Partly to relive some of the thrills and sheer enjoyment and partly to act as a memory-jogger for my seemingly increasingly failing faculties.
I've hauled down the file containing these jottings and the it seems my faculties have failed more rapidly than I may have envisaged at the time. Flicking through these musings, I seriously cannot remember even reading many of the books in question - let alone recall style, plot points, charatcerisations and all the elements that made them worth reading (or not).
There are over thirty of these reviews. Most were written at least a decade ago. None of them rise to the level of quality 'criticism' because many of them were written in fevered bursts as I tried to nail down what it was I'd liked about them. At best, they are basic reviews, and at worst they're random jottings. They're closest to the type of thing published in those xeroxed 1980s fanzines (some of which were quite wonderful and are greatly missed).
So, think of them as tip-sheets, pointing you in the direction of things I liked - or didn't (although I'll try and keep things positive as I find I don't really have the energy or enthusiasm to publicly dump on books or films I don't like).
I'll probably start with blogging the book reviews and will try to add some film reviews later to spice up the mix. Some of these reviews will be more recent so, hopefully, they will be better written and have a greater grasp on the narrative details (as I seem to have spent more time on the review than the synopsis of some of the earlier works).
It's just me adding to the sum total of knowledge and, hopefully, pointing you towards some of the often neglected books and films that I've enjoyed and which I think you might too.
As many of you have probably discovered, there are some great blogs by some great writers covering similar subjects and I'll try to point you in their direction, too.
As I said, I have no pretensions to writing classic criticism and have nothing against those that do. There are people out there who have forgotten far more than I'll ever know about my chosen subject, and all hail to them!
Also, I won't make any promises regarding the regularity of these blogs. I'll write them when I get the time and hope you enjoy what I write.
Please let me know if you do - or don't.
Now, let's get started...