A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


My December picks for Trilogy Video all have a little theatricality to them:

* Centre Stage starring Maggie Cheung as Chinese silent film actress Ruan Ling-Yu

* Funny Face starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire

* Not on the Lips with Audrey Tautou, directed by Alain Resnais, based on a 1925 operetta and fully sung

* Piccadilly, a silent classing starring Anna May Wong

* You and Me: Fritz Lang directs, Kurt Weil writes the songs in this socially conscious pre-film noir oddity from 1938 (sadly, VHS only)

I've been spending the day with Michelangelo Antonioni, both before and after his '60s heydey and the great trilogy of L'avventura/La Notte/L'eclisse, and with results on both sides of the quality spectrum.

1955's Le Amiche (The Girlfriends) confirms what I had decided when I saw 1950's Story of a Love Affair: that before Antonioni became an arthouse master, he was just as surefooted making conventional cinema. I want to be cheeky and call Le Amiche a '50s Italian precursor to Sex & the City. It's largely about a group of women and how they come together to talk about the men who drive them crazy--one of them literally, the lovely Rosetta (Madeleine Fischer) starting the film nearly dead from trying to overdose on sleeping pills. She is found by new-to-town Clelia (Eleanora Rossi Drago), and it becomes Clelia's ticket into a clique of women whose types range from young slut to nervous artist to jaded wife. They have many affairs, swap a few partners, and drift through various soap opera scenarios with excellet posture. Le Amiche is as compelling as any Hollywood studio "women's picture" of the time, and Antonioni's confident direction already has inklings of his trademark detachment.

The Passenger came in 1975, after Antonioni had shifted his approach, and it bears the slow pace and ambiguity of his best work. It stars Jack Nicholson, who is as perfect as Alain Delon when it comes to wandering through Antonioni's landcape and looking completely lost, and the ever-stiff Maria Schneider, who does her wandering as if someone kicked her in both shins. The film opens with Nicholson as a reporter stuck in the African desert after a story he was following went dead. Lucky for him, the only other white man in the area is in the room next to him, and he also went dead. The guy looks a lot like old Jack, and old Jack hears opportunity knocking. He switches clothes, rooms, and passports with the corpse, and he's no longer David Locke, he's now Robertson, international businessman of mystery. Taking Robertson's date book, Jack starts walking in his shoes, hoping the new identity will take over him. He discovers many things, not all of them good, and some not very exciting.

The Passenger raises some interesting questions about how we define ourselves and asks whether or not a man can truly change. As Jack will discover, fate has a way of catching up with you, and you could end up back at square one. Maybe I was expecting too much, though, both due to the reputation The Passenger carries and my feelings about Antonioni's other work, because I didn't really feel the film sustained itself in the middle. The Antonioni I know makes every moment count. Even his nothingness has significance. In The Passenger, I wasn't always sure why I was seeing what I was seeing.

Not all is lost, though. The final scene redeems all. Most of it plays out over one dazzling, yet patient, tracking shot, and Antonioni brings his themes to fruition with quiet expertise, leaving me stunned in all the ways I had hoped to be.

The Passenger has recently been restored to its European running time and is doing the rounds of small theatres. A DVD is expected in the spring.

And a big shout to the mighty Han Q. Duong who sent me the amazing Girls Aloud single, "Biology." I can't stop listening to it. It's a monster. It's like three songs in one, maybe more. From the pounding piano opening, it undulates across many seemingly disparate paths, bringing them together for one sexy, sweaty dance-floor corker. I tracked down the whole Chemistry album and it's pretty swell, too. Thank God the Brits don't ever grow embarassed of pop the way the Americans do. This current cycle where we are trying to legitimize Ashlee Simpson so we can feel comfortable listening to her shitty songs is just sad. It didn't work for Pink's tanked career, so it better not work for ol' Acid Re-sux.

I'd kill for some X-Ray Spex right about now.

Current Soundtrack: Neil Diamond, 12 Songs

Current Mood: bored (ennui)

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, November 28, 2005


The November edition of "Can You Picture That?" -- my monthly DVD column for OniPress.com -- is now online. This month's focus: Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

Credit where it's due, Kelly Sue told me this movie rocked way back when it was in the theatres, and I watched it on her advise. I also added points to my column as we traded e-mails about it. "Oh, yeah," I'd think, "I should mention that," and I'd dash back to Microsoft Word.

Current Soundtrack: Take That, Never Forget

Current Mood: desirous

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich


On sale this week are two manga volumes I scripted: Ai Yori Aoshi 11 and Ark Angels 1. Ark Angels is by Korean artist Sang-Sun Park, and it's an original work created for Tokyopop, published simultaneously overseas and in America. It's been a fun and different experience, working with my editor, Rob Valois, as each piece has come in. I'm excited to see how it all turns out.

Ark Angels is a crazy book, hard to describe. I'll let the Tokyopop site do it for me:

From a small lake nestled in a secluded forest far from the edge of town something strange emerged one day: Three young girls.

The three girls, Shem, Ham and Japheth, are sisters from another world. Equipped with magical powers, they are charged with saving all the creatures of Earth from becoming extinct. However, there is someone or something sinister trying to stop them.

While saving our world from destruction, these sisters live like normal human girls: They go to school, work at a flower shop, hang around with friends and even fall in love ... sinister trying to stop them.

Current Soundtrack: Gorillaz, Demon Days

Current Mood: indifferent

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, November 25, 2005


I couldn't find these lyrics the other day, and by random chance I just located them on an Aztec Camera site. There was a live duet between Roddy Frame and Edwyn Collins on the B-sides of "Good Morning Britain."

"Consolation Prize"
Words and music by Edwyn Collins

A thousand violins will play for you
While you set and roll your deep blue eyes
A thousand to win
A thousand you lose
But I'll be your consolation prize
All you do is sigh

I wore my fringe like Roger McGuinn's
I wore it hoping to impress
So frightfully camp, it made you laugh
Tomorrow I'll buy myself a dress
How ludicrous

I don't mean to pry
But didn't that guy
Crumple up your face a thousand times?
He made you cry

I'll be your consolation prize
I know
I'll never be man enough for you
I'll never be man enough for you
I'll never be man enough for you

Current Soundtrack: Marion & Ballroom

Current Mood: uncomfortable

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Below is a slightly edited e-mail conversation between myself and one of my editors, Oni Press' Maryanne Snell, regarding the Mercutio question.

MS:There aren't necessarily more Mercutios than Romeos. There might be tons more of those other friends of his whose names aren't really worth remembering, because they're just sheep. There are few Romeos because really, how many people are that dramatic, impulsive, and ultimately stupid? (And let's face it, most leading men on some level are at least kind of stupid in some way.) And as for Mercutio, no one else was as clever, witty, or put out by other's stupidity. So the Romeos of the world are lucky if they get a Mercutio, because mostly they just get sheep. I have no idea if that makes any sense, but Mercutio's also my favorite, and it's because he's different than the rest of them; he still might be a sidekick, but he's the one you'd want to have. 

JSR: Yeah, but we’re talking archetypes here. The sheep at least flock with other sheep. Mercutio, however, gets passed over and dies so other people can screw up at love (or so the sentence I’ve been toying with goes). I am thinking that a future Lance Scott serial may be called “Romeo May Be Bleeding, but Mercutio is Dead.”

MS: Right, but what I'm saying is how many people (characters) will actually die so other people can screw up? I'm not questioning the archetype, just how prevalent it is in comparison to others.
I like the sentence, and the title. Poor Mercutio, at least he got to curse them before he died.

JSR: So, being unique is the consolation prize of the consolation prize? I think that’s a rather moth-eaten blanket for us also-rans. ;)

MS: I never claimed there was a consolation prize. Mercutio's death is stupid and pointless. Romeo's was too, but at least he chose it. Mercutio never asked for the drama. Although there was a story I read once where Mercutio was actually in love with the original girl that Romeo was after, so gave him a love potion so he'd fall in love with someone else, thus starting the whole thing, and somehow he ends up not dying but I don't remember how that part worked.

Who is Lance sidekick to? Romeo, or Juliet?

JSR: Romeo. The world.

I am thinking in terms of larger symbols or types than the specifics of the one story. If we take the play as a representation of society, and each person falls into a role (most of them, I think, being Benvolio, from what you’re saying), Mercutio is the one left alone. In a modern case, he'd actually probably be "just friends" with Juliet, and he'd know that Romeo was wrong for her.

MS: Mercutio is left alone because he alone sees the truth of the situation (or at least tries to). Everyone else is so tied up in their own stuff (obsession, love, revenge) that he can't get through to any of them. Including Juliet, who I definitley agree he'd be "just friends" with in this modern life. I guess that's ultimately his tragedy--he's kind of like Cassandra, he knows the truth and no one will listen to him, and he ends up dying along with everyone else, despite his knowledge.

Current Soundtrack: Arcadia remixes on a Russian knock-off DVD of a Japanese So Red the Rose video

Current Mood: exanimate

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, November 21, 2005


Tom Spurgeon's excellent Comics Reporter site has an in-progress list of the major comic book releases of 2006. 12 Reasons Why I Love Her is now on there, listed individually for myself and Joelle, and also in the title listing, where the numerals in our title means we are in pole position.

Orange Juice's "Consolation Prize" has been my anthem as of late. I'm coming to accept my sidekick role in life. There are a lot of also-rans out there, the second place boys and girls. This may be a future theme of mine, perhaps the next long Lance Scott story, how there are a lot more Mercutioes than Romeos--which would explain why I liked Mercutio so much from the first time I read Romeo et Juliet, even if I didn't know it at the time. Wry jokesters of the world unite and take over. (Please don't e-mail or post well wishes or be concerned that I am sad-sacking it around the house, I'm just whittling on the wood of thought here. If you do this, you will annoy me, and I will go away. (Unless that's what you want....))

I am forever fascinated by the Jungian powers at work. In writing, I am constantly discovering that choices I made with no particular intention lead to bizarrely appropriate discoveries and meanings. The names of the Scott brothers, for instance, all after knights, have been weirdly appropriate. Lancelot's propensity for anger and rash romance, Percival exiling himself to a monastic life after the discovery of the Grail, etc. I really just chose these names willy-nilly. I am a very inconsiderate person in that way. In The Everlasting, I had to pick a name for the love of Percy's life, because in my initial notes she was named Sadie, which ended up being the name of Lance's cat (and Suede fans will understand why, as they've heard the sound of the streets, they've felt the cold of the night). I picked Iris. I have no idea why. Last week, I discovered this little tidbit about what the flower with the same name represents: "Over the centuries the iris has come to symbolize faith, wisdom, hope, and promise in love."

Trust me. One day, this will make sense to you, and you will think I am one crafty fucker. I am not. It's just dumb luck. Which I have a lot of. Apparently.

Current Soundtrack: Marion, The Program

Current Mood: pensive

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, November 17, 2005


It was in Martin Gore's pocket. He's been hiding it all this time, but now that he's started performing "Somebody" again, as part of Depeche Mode's encore on Touring The Angel, the teenage dream is back.

I was immediately transported to younger days when friends and I would quietly croon the song together, convinced as we were that this was the ideal portrait of a partner, everything we could ever want. And it's still true, the fantasy still holds, and for a handful of minutes on Wednesday night, an arena full of people believed it.

Both of Depeche Mode's encores at Seattle's Key Arena were wonderfully old school, a nice cap on a concert mindfully free of nostalgia. "Just Can't Get Enough" followed "Somebody," and then "Everything Counts." Encore 2 kicked off with "Never Let Me Down Again," and everyone waved their hands back and forth like it was 101. And with Dave Gahan's hair cut short, you could squint and swear it was 1990 all over again.

Which was just the tail end, a ride out on a wave of glory. The main set focused half on Playing the Angel, and half on hits that fit in with the more current sound: "A Question of Time," "Walking in My Shoes," "I Feel You"--all standards from recent tours. The band swaps out the current album in a now regular set of trie-and-true standards. The final one-two punch of "Personal Jesus" and "Enjoy the Silence" is expected, but never dull, and there were still some surprises in store. "Policy of Truth," "Behind the Wheel," and "World in My Eyes" weren't part of the Exciter set, and there was surprisingly little from that album or from Ultra: just one song each.

The more muscular first half of Playing The Angel was the backbone of the show. "A Pain That I'm Used To" and "John the Revelator" got the night rolling with an exciting pelvic thrust. The stripped down intro of "Precious" added new dimension to the little-song-that-could, bringing Gore's trilling riff to the fore; "I Want It All" and "Suffer Well" were great vehicles for Gahan's voice. (And am I right, did we get "The Sinner in Me," as well? I can't remember for sure.)

Gahan is, as always, the star. There's no one else in rock that goes for it as unabashedly as he does, and it allows him to get away with a million cheesy sing-a-longs, every "yeah" and "come on" that he desires. If you saw some guy down the local club pulling those moves, you'd laugh; when Gahan does it, you follow along, scream, yell, everything.

Which is always the fun of a Depeche Mode concert. It's a communal event, the fans dancing, singing, bowing to Gahan's every command. Our seats were pretty shitty--high and off to the side, which thankfully wasn't so bad since the band didn't have elaborate backdrops this time--but usually the cheap seats are a lot of fun. The folks stuck up there have nothing to do but have a party. So what the hell was the deal with every boring loser in Seattle ending up in our section? A group of girls had moved over to the empty seating area next to us so they could dance, and midway through the set, I followed. I had to be on my feet. Through the night, more defected, including a frat-looking guy who was dead into it. If I saw him on the street, I'd think we had nothing in common, but in the Church of the Mode, we were one. He was singing and dancing just as enthusiastically as I was. Music for the Masses.

Gore got his usual interlude, always a highlight. Thankfully, he took off his winter hat with the ear flaps by that point. (When he came out, I thought he had a Planet of the Apes mask on.) It was just the black wings by then. "Home" is a new staple, and "Damaged People" sounded better live than on record. His croon has real power.

The show's closer was "Goodnight Lovers," which should hopefully stick. Most bands would have a hard time ending on a quiet note, but for Depeche Mode, this song serves as one last breath, a contented sigh. For it, Gahan and Gore walked out together onto a platform that extended into the crowd, commiserating directly with the audience. It was a lovely comedown, a suitable farewell.

Opening the night was The Raveonettes, who were fantastic in an all-too-brief set. They began with Buddy Holly's "Everyday" and then cherry-picked album tracks from Pretty In Black and Chain Gang of Love. They were noisy and abrasive where necessary, but the sound mix was amazing, never once sacrificing the melodies or nuances. It's too bad the lamebrains in our immediate vicinity weren't giving the band more of a chance. During their slot, in fact, Christopher and I were in different sections, as he showed up a little late, and we both heard people make "Raisinettes" jokes. Ay yi yi.

Before I go, I want to note for you anthropologists out there some new phenomena. Well, maybe not so new, maybe I don't go to arena shows enough, but two things I noticed involving cell phones:

(1) People calling their friends who were in different sections of the arena and trying to find each other
(2) Using lit-up phones instead of cigarette lighters during ballads.

Is this behavior new? Or simply sad?

Current Soundtrack: Depeche Mode, "Precious" (US single)

Current Mood: giddy

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, November 11, 2005


Oni Press was notified that there is a course at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire that will be featuring Cut My Hair as part of its syllabus:

ENGL392 Major Themes in Literature
GE IVD Humanities-Literature
This course examines rock and roll music in American
cultural life since the 1950s, using biography, film, and
cultural criticism. Topics include musical genres,
racial/sexual politics, controversial cultural influences,
and regional scenes in rock.

Call# 5033 Section 001 3.0 cr
January 03-January 20
1:30pm-4:30pm Mon.Tue.Wed.Thu.Fri.Sat. HHH 323
Instructor: Jones, David M.

* * *

I have to say, I think that's pretty damn cool.

Current Soundtrack: Bjork, "Big Time Sensuality" CD2 (remixes)

Current Mood: goofy

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

I never dreamt that I would get to be
The creature that I always meant to be

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Lindsay Lohan wants on this blog in the worst way.

Sorry, I couldn't find a bigger image, but the title of that there single is "Confessions of a Broken Heart." Sure, it's a sappy song about her deadbeat dad, but I can read between the lines. Lindsay wants in on this Confessions stuff, and she knows how much I like broken hearts. I have several I keep in a box under the bed.

The link is below, Ms. Lohan. Drop me a line. Or become my friend on My Space. I'm here.

Current Soundtrack: Antony & the Johnsons, You Are My Sister EP

Current Mood: flirty

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Saturday, November 05, 2005


My friend, the excellent writer Sarah Grace McCandless, author of Grosse Pointe Girl, has a new blog, Sarah Disgrace, a truly punk rock moniker if ever I heard one. This is your chance to get in on the ground floor. There are only two posts so far, and they're damn funny. How can you not love a girl who posts as part of her profile, "We are mourning the loss of Joey Potter – one day at a time."

Her second book, The Girl I Wanted To Be, is coming in June.

Current Soundtrack: Sandie Shaw, "Maybe I'm Amazed/Maple Village;" Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, "Rainy Night in Soho"

Current Mood: listless

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, November 04, 2005


The electricity has been going on and off all morning, so I start this post with some trepidation. Will it go up now, or will it be halted in the middle, to be finished later? We shall see. I'm neck deep in Gacchagacha. Every time the power goes out, I keep going, thinking I will work until the battery dies and then go see if there are any cafes nearby who are still running. If nothing else, it's been keeping me off the internet. This may be the most dense of any manga I have worked on. Text everywhere! Only Abenobashi might compete.

Eagle-eyed Marc Ellerby spotted that the Belle & Sebastian book is on Amazon. I do like this cover:

I was hoping for something along the lines of their album covers, but this aesthetic works quite well. Looks like a release for early next year, and you can preorder it now, and do so right HERE. The song Marc and I have adapted is "Marx & Engels," off the "I'm Waking Up To Us" EP.

When Gacchagacha is done, I have a proposal to write for some book type people. It shouldn't be too hard, since I already have 7,100 words of the book in the can, and a provisional proposal I started before I got the guidelines. All the writing just happened so I could get the ideas down, but I'm afraid it might be useless if I don't make the cut--except I will make the cut. Oh, yes.

I say no more, lest I jinx.

Current Soundtrack: The Ordinary Boys, Brassbound

Current Mood: chipper

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Though no one has it up for preorder yet or is there any cover art circulating for this particular title, looks like The Nun's Story will be on DVD this coming December 6th, both on its own and as part of a Warner Bros. holiday movie box. This is one of Audrey's more dramatic roles, and coming only weeks after Two for the Road, excellent news. (Or maybe not. Rechecking the DVD Talk thread, the news leaked in July and still no one has it as ready to go on sale. If nothing else, we can assume it's at least coming.)

And as if she could sense that more Audrey was better Audrey, Jen Wang sent me a pic of the commission she just did for my Hepburn sketchbook:

I love that she did the poor nameless cat! Check out Jen's site, and buy her stuff. She's amazingly talented. I think what really shines about this piece is the spirit she captured in it. The expression, everything, it just feels right.


My day job schedule is all screwy right now for various reasons, and it will be for the next couple of months. This week is particularly bad, though, and it doubly hurts because I have the second volume of Gacchagacha due on Monday. Oy vey.

Current Soundtrack: Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll; Gorrilaz, "Dare" remixes, b-sides, and misc.

Current Mood: moody

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I'm back in Portland after Chynna Clugston's wedding. For those of you who have been fans of her work, you'll be happy to know that, true to form, she caused her own wedding ceremony to start 90 minutes late.

And for those of you who harbor romantic notions about taking a train trip, don't. You'll only break your own heart. I did get some writing done. It occurs to me that Have You Seen the Horizon Lately? is the messiest manuscript I have ever done. It's rough and repetitious and probably factually inconsistent, but instead of laboring on each section until it's perfect, I'm just soldiering on and trying to get through it. We'll see if it works for speed, or if it just means I spend just as much time fixing it up.

My video picks for November are all movies starring Gene Tierney.

* The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, co-starring Rex Harrison, dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz

* Heaven Can Wait, co-starring Don Ameche, dir. Ernst Lubitsch

* Laura, dir. Otto Preminger (DVD also contains an excellent A&E Biography on Tierney)

* Night & the City, co-starring Richard Widmark, dir. Jules Dassin

* Whirlpool, dir. Otto Preminger

If you wish to continue your Gene Tierney viewing, also look for Leave Her to Heaven, The Razor's Edge, Advise & Consent, and coming on 12/6 in the Fox film noir line, Where the Sidewalk Ends (the latter two are both further collaborations with Preminger).

Current Reading: The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett; Night Fisher by R. Kikuo Johnson; Brighton Rock by Graham Greene; A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

Current Soundtrack: Pulp, This is Hardcore (Japanese version)

Current Mood: groggy

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich