Martin Landau, star of Space 1999 and Mission: Impossible, dies aged 89

15 July 2017 Martin Landau has died. He was 89, and his death was confirmed by his publicist “following a short hospitalisation”. Arguably Landau’s career high point arrived in 1995 when he won the best supporting actor Oscar for his role as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood (1994), the Tim Burton-directed biopic of the infamous director(…)

Mystrys, The

Masked mavericks The Mystrys burst onto the Australian pop scene in 1966 with a spaced-out single, Witch Girl, and some downright intergalactic hype, before vanishing almost as quickly. Singer Charles Bayliss was in a Melbourne band called Isy & The Dynamics (pictured at right) – who were notable for having a female drummer a la The Honeycombs –(…)

Plasticine

William Harbutt resigned his position as headmaster of the Bath School of Art because his forward-thinking ideas were always deemed too radical by his seniors. He set up his own art school, specialising in sculpture, where he noticed many of his students had difficulty keeping their clay moist enough to work. He experimented with various(…)

Weeds (1987)

Weeds is the story of an armed robber, Lee Umstetter (Nick Nolte), sentenced to “life without possibility (of parole)” in San Quentin. After two suicide attempts, Umstetter accidentally stumbles on Genet and Tolstoy in the prison library and, inspired by Beckett’s Waiting For Godot, writes a prison play that is performed by him and his fellow inmates. The play receives good notices from(…)

Marc

1 9 7 7 (UK) 6 x 30 minute episodes Following his mammoth success throughout the 70s with T. Rex, Marc Bolan’s very own television pop show was long overdue and coincided with his upturn in popularity. The six-part series, commissioned by Granada TV in Manchester, featured T. Rex performing TV-friendly versions of their greatest hits,(…)

Grotbags star Carol Lee Scott dies aged 74

6 July 2017 Children’s TV star Carol Lee Scott, best known as Grotbags the witch, has died aged 74. The entertainer appeared in several children’s programmes in the 1980s and early 1990s, including the Rod Hull hit Emu’s World. The Somerset-born actress’s early career saw stints as a cabaret performer touring clubs in the north(…)

Outland (1981)

In a titanium mining colony on Jupiter’s volcanic moon, Io, workers have been taking an illegal super-amphetamine to increase their output so they can earn overtime bonuses. But after ten months of the stuff, they become psychotic and start to disconnect their air hoses or step out of air locks or brandish knives – anything to(…)

Rockers (1978)

At its best, Rockers, a picaresque reggae romp, is an enjoyable wallow in Kingston (Jamaica) slum culture. The star, Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace, has an engaging, deadpan charm and the natural, loose-limbed shuffle that it took Mick Jagger years to master. Most of the main characters are real people, playing themselves, primarily reggae artists and producers. But(…)

Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, The

1 9 8 7 – 1 9 9 1 (USA) 65 x 30 minute episodes Molly Dodd (Blair Brown) was a thirty-something divorced woman living in New York and facing the comedy and drama of a widely changing career, difficulties of apartment living, and a complicated love life. The show moved to cable (Lifetime) after(…)

TV Batman actor Adam West dies at 88

10 June 2017 Adam West, the US actor best known as the star of the hit 1960s TV series Batman, has died aged 88. West died peacefully in Los Angeles after a brief battle with leukaemia, a family spokesperson said. His tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Batman and the superhero’s alter ego Bruce Wayne won a cult following.(…)

Mazzy Starr

From 1984 to 1987, songwriter-guitarist David Roback, already known for his work in Rain Parade, and Kendra Smith, the former bass player for the Dream Syndicate, were the nucleus of a band called Opal. Their album Happy Nightmare Baby stunned critics and college radio with its bristling, loopy guitar dysphasia. Halfway through an American tour(…)

Shag (1989)

This coming-of-age comedy set in South Carolina in 1963 has a seductive charm that sneaks up on you. The slender plot pivots on a weekend fling at the beach planned by three Southern belles (Bridget Fonda, Annabeth Gish and Page Hannah) for their friend, bride-to-be Phoebe Cates. Cates has her best screen role to date(…)

Awakenings (1990)

This true story is adapted from a 1973 book by Dr Oliver Sacks, a clinical neurologist who in a New York hospital in 1969 used the experimental drug L-dopa to awaken a group of patients suffering from Encephalitis lethargica. These survivors of a post-World War I sleeping sickness epidemic had lived in a state of(…)

Great Buildings

With their seamless harmonies and carefully constructed, classically styled pop tunes, Great Buildings were the LA band with the best shot at wide AOR and Top 40 radio play in the post-Knack early 80s. Songwriters Danny Wilde and Ian Ainsworth met in The Quick, Kim Fowley’s early glitter-punk outfit who released a sole album, Mondo Deco.(…)

Jesus Jones

Dozens of English guitar bands converted to dance music following the success of Happy Mondays and others. Mike Edwards and company were a guitar band of no fixed style until 1988 when they took a holiday in Spain and decided to reinvent themselves. Needing a new moniker to inspire their resurrection, they paired a popular(…)

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