Donald Zec: Marilyn’s Man at ‘The Mirror’

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Donald Zec, the British journalist who covered show-business for the Daily Mirror over four decades, has died at the grand old age of 102. Continue reading

SOLEDAD #6: Lana’s ‘Violet,’ Nouchka Van Brakel, and More

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Issue 6 of SOLEDAD Arts Journal – out now via Amazon for just £3.13 in the UK, or $3.78 across the pond – is also the 20th volume from Nostalgia Kinky Publications, including predecessor ART DECADES (and I’m proud to have appeared in all but five.) This issue is peppered with lyrics from French singer-songwriter Véronique Sanson.

The cover story is an exclusive interview with Dutch filmmaker Nouchka Van Brakel, in conjunction with a new triple-boxset on Blu-Ray from Cult Epics. Editor Jeremy Richey has also spoken with film historian Samm Deigan about his new book, The Legacy of World War II in European Arthouse Cinema. Marcelline Block interviews author Sam Nortey Jr., who shares an extract from his novel, Thumbwars. Marcelline also contributes a scrapbook history of feminist artist and scholar, Jenny H. Batlay. There’s poetry from Marcelline and Ruth LaSure, and Emily Clare Bryant meets Sunmates, a synth-pop band from Lexington, Kentucky.

And finally, I’ve written a 24-page essay on Lana Del Rey’s debut poetry book/spoken-word album, Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass. I hope you’ll enjoy delving into this fascinating project as much as I did.

‘I Told You I Was Trouble’: Amy Winehouse, 10 Years Gone

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This photo, taken by Roger Sargent, shows Amy Winehouse on Brighton Beach in July 2004, before that night’s show at Concorde 2. She was 20 years old, promoting her debut album, Frank, and wowing the locals. When she returned two years later, her ‘Rehab’ single was a runaway hit and her second album, Back to Black, would become one of the 21st century’s essential records. Continue reading

SOLEDAD #5: Lana, Alexandra and More

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The ethereal blonde on the cover of SOLEDAD #5 is Alexandra Hay, best known for her supporting roles in late 1960s movies like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Otto Preminger’s Skidoo, and as the leading lady of Jacque Demy’s Model Shop. The final starlet under contract as the old studio system broke down, she also played Jean Harlow in The Beard, a controversial play which led to her being arrested 14 times for ‘lewd conduct’ (with Billy the Kid), before winning an historic acquittal under First Amendment rules. Dylan Staley, who is working on a biography of this neglected actress, shares an extended profile in this issue.

Other highlights include Aaron W. Graham’s article about The Long Distance Piano Player, a 1970 TV drama written and directed by Alan Sharp, the Scottish novelist who became a Hollywood screenwriter. Part of the BBC’s ground-breaking Play for Today series, the teleplay also starred one of English music’s finest, Ray Davies of Kinks fame. Elsewhere, Sandra McCollum presents five evocative prose pieces about growing up in the segregated American South.

Regular contributor Marcelline Block shares two book excerpts (Filmed Letters From Algeria, and The Films of Michel Gondry) and a selection of poetry, while Robert Monell concludes his science fiction series with Government By Magick. There’s also a photo-essay by Amy Pangburn, new poems from Emily Clare Bryant and lyrics by musician David Neuland, and Soledad editor Jeremy Richey’s interview with Christian Valor, author of a new biography of French exploitation filmmaker Claude Mulot.

And finally, my long-overdue, 17-page, illustrated review of Lana Del Rey’s 2019 opus, Norman Fucking Rockwell! Yes, I know she’s made two more albums since then – with another on the way – but I hope you’ll agree that whatever I may lack in punctuality, I compensate for amply in breadth.

Issue 5 of SOLEDAD Arts Journal is available now via Amazon, for just £3.80 in the UK or $4.58 across the pond.

At 95, Marilyn is Still in Bloom

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Today, June 1st, marks what would be Marilyn’s 95th birthday. As the sun shines over Brighton for what seems like the first time since lockdown, this latest artwork from The Postman (based on a 1958 photo by Carl Perutz) has appeared in Queensbury Mews. Continue reading