Thursday, 25 April 2013


It's not often that what I scribble about on Knifed in Venice can be applicable here but I recently watched Barbet Schroeder & Charles Bukowski's Barfly.  Here's the start of the review for anyone interested and if you want to read more you can drop over to KiV and check it out.

Certificate: 18
Running time: 100 mins
Director: Barbet Schroeder
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Faye Dunaway, Alice Krige, Frank Stallone
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Country: USA

Henry Chinaski is a barfly.  He spends his time drinking, fighting and dancing with words in the twilight hours of 1980’s Los Angeles.  Legendary writer Charles Bukowski lends his incredibly distinctive voice to the screen in the roman á clef styled narrative of his alter ego and the life one lives in the pursuit of something more than the consumer ideal.

Barfly is a film we’ve been wanting to feature on Knifed in Venice for some time now.  The trouble was figuring out how to confine discussion of someone like Bukowski into a few thousand words.  There comes a time though when you have to let go and decide to commit, Hank of all people would appreciate that.  There are few writers in history, and even the future of history that have or will ever have the kind of effect that Charles Bukowski had.  Barfly coming from his typer is the closest, and most honest, thing you’ll ever see with regards to addiction and adaptation.  Granted it is not based on any of his novels, short stories or even poems but it is based on the man, and like all of his work it shines with humour and a matter of factness that can’t help but be endearing... [Click here for full review]

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Brilliant Bandini

The early days of Arturo Bandini and family as they battle poverty, religion, matrimonial problems and the unforgiving Colorado winter. Wait Until Spring, Bandini is a power, moving, lyrical example of how and what literature can be when it's handled by someone with all the right tools. Incredible...the movie isn't a damn patch on these 210 pages.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

A Graceful Fall

Camus' monologue novel is groundbreaking, thought provoking and incredibly well written. It stimulates the grey matter in ways that other books can only vaguely imagine. One more for admiration than love but then I'm sure the protagonist would appreciate that.

Monday, 8 April 2013

What's Up Doc?

Mad Dog House is a taut and entertaining thriller. It sets it's stall out slowly, you're about 30% through before the pieces of the narrative fall into place but it works. There are genuine moments of dread, excitement and suspense. At times it's a little overwritten with details of what and how the protagonist is feeling and how it all links to back to such and such which can derail the tension a little and have real thrilling moments land a little flat.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Getting Lost With Clive Scully: Part III

CLIVE SCULLY is a journalist with lady fingers, but he's a good guy.  He has sat down with me over the last few weekends to poke holes in my inferiority/delusional narcissism complex and get to grips with writing, fears and why all I want to do it get lost.

CS: Hello again.
DL: Hello Clive.
CS: Dare I ask?
DL: I’m working it I am, I’m getting copies for the bookstore as we speak.
[Clive pours the drinks]
CS: So say it takes off, you got any plans for more Doug Morgan?
DL: Takes off?  Didn’t you say it was unpopular.
CS: I said it was unmainstream, but I know what you mean but you never know what’ll happen.
DL: Well yeah.  I mean it’s not like I’d be writing sequels.  It’s not a Jack Reacher character with a continuing arch and all that.  It’s more like Henry Chinaski or Arturo Bandini.  It’s kinda like an alter ego, and in it being an alter ego it let’s me channel experiences in life and even work through others, but also do things you wouldn’t necessarily do.  I remember David Lynch telling me about how he was cut off driving down Mulholland one night and what he wanted to do was run the fucker off the road and kill them but instead he went home and wrote Lost Highway.  Now that’s a movie.
CS: So it’s like purging?
DL: And a damn sight cheaper than therapy, that’s for sure.
CS: And you’ve got enough life and experience to write for Morgan like Fante did Bandini?
DL: I’ve screwed up enough yeah, and when you look at it Fante did four Bandini books, Bukowski did five Chinaski books…
CS: What happens when you run out of life?
DL: I’ll do something else.  It’s not like anyone’s reading them.
[Clive and Dave laugh]
CS: How’s the writing coming along?
DL: It’s good.
CS: Care to share?
DL: No.
CS: That simple?
[Clive pours the drinks]
DL: After I wrote Lost Angeles I told my fiancé about ideas I had for other things.  So I started them, all filled with enthusiasm and they turned to shit right in front of me.  It’s like I didn’t cook it for long enough before letting people in on it.
CS: And you need to do that?
DL: Clearly.  I didn’t tell anyone I was writing something new and the first draft has turned out ok.
CS: Just ok?
DL: The missus is impressed when I call what I write ok.
CS: I’ve really enjoyed hooking up for these chats.
DL: Yeah me too, pour me another drink there.

To read Part I click [here], to read Part II click [here]