A double agent operating in London dreams of retiring, but his life is complicated when he is assigned to assassinate a traitor: himself. With one foot in the pop art fantasy of James Bond and another in the grim world of John Le Carre, A Dandy in Aspic never quite succeeds at being either.
On the Cultural Gutter, we’re going on a tour of the universe via The Cosmic Crooner, all about Frank Sinatra’s bizarre Trilogy, a third of which is devoted to a swingin’ tour of the future.
The early 1990s was also when I read Neuromancer. I read it enthusiastically, devoured every word, and fell in love not so much with the story but with William Gibson’s proficiency with the written word. Into this maelstrom of personal evolution and conflicting feelings came Billy Idol’s Cyberpunk.
In the whole of Ireland, there’s only one working distillery open to the public (Bushmills is technically in another country): the Teeling Distillery. In The Spirit of Dublin, I sit down with distillery co-founder Stephen Teeling to discuss his family history, the state of Irish whiskey, and the complicated process of building a distillery that is open tot he public in a country that has no guidelines for such a thing.
My trip to Ireland wasn’t all stone circles and eldritch pacts with ancient forces. I followed the Irish Whiskey Trail to visit the country’s distilleries – only to discover that you can actually visit the distilleries. But there are lovely museums.
Author Jack McDevitt takes the guesswork, extrapolation, interpretation, and occasional total bullshit of assessing the meaning of ancient detritus and ruins and places them in the future, in a time when humanity has begun uncovering the ruins of long-vanished alien civilizations
Testi plays Milo, a small-time hood who, when the film opens is lugging his wounded buddy through a field after a heist that has apparently gone rather poorly. His friend dies, and Testi buries him in the field before getting arrested and ending up in a jail run by Oliver Reed’s Vito Cipriani.
Born in the Dutch town of Utrecht in September of 1952, Sylvia Kristel grew up the daughter of hoteliers. Living in a hotel provided her with, if not exactly a conventional childhood, certainly an interesting one, as the rotating cast of oddball characters that inevitably show up at a hotel, both as guests and staff, provided a sometimes surreal background for Sylvia and her two siblings.
At its core, Marketa Lazarová is the story of two rival clans in early 13th century Bohemia: the primitive Pagan raiders the Kozlíks, lorded over by a brutal patriarch; and the slightly more civilized Lazars, led by an opportunistic father who, while unwilling to participate in the bloody raids perpetrated by the Kozlíks, is more than happy to swoop in after the fact and scavenge for anything he might think could be of value.
If horror films have taught us anything, it’s that you should always be suspicious of a really good real estate deal. is that house a gorgeous vision of Victorian craftsmanship on the market for peanuts? Don’t buy it, unless you plan to use it as a place to which you invite a group of apparent strangers with the promise that if they can survive spending one night in it, you’ll give them a million dollars.
Although lord knows the world doesn’t need another origin story — modern films are positively obsessed with explaining every single detail of every single character in film history, leaving nothing to assumption or mystery and never accepting that sometimes we simply don’t need to know — The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is an origin story.
On The Cultural Gutter, I’m taking a look at diversity in science fiction. Specifically, Syfy Gets Diverse looks at the Syfy Channel television shows Killjoys, Dark Matter, Defiance, and The Expanse, all of which feature gender and racially diverse ensemble casts.