Sunday, 4 June 2017

New Paperback Edition of The Gary Numan Annotated Scrapbook

The paperback edition of the Gary Numan Scrapbook by Paul Sutton

I'm pleased that there is now a paperback version of my lovely big book about Gary Numan. Unlike the original hardback version, which was printed using traditional methods (hence the cost!), the paperback is digitally printed (which isn't as good) and is being distributed only through Amazon and the cowboy companies who list through Amazon.
In some ways it's better than the original edition. I've managed to find a few new things, such as a splendid article from Argentina which I've translated. To keep costs down I've had to reduce the size of several full-size pictures, and trim out a few things, but it does give a good account of the press of the early years of Gary Numan's career.

Here's a link:



Thursday, 11 May 2017

'Understanding Gary Numan' New and Expanded Paperback

Understanding Gary Numan
I'm really pleased to announce that there is a new and expanded version of my popular little book about Gary Numan that I released last year and which quickly sold out its (small) print run. The new trade paperback has more than 50 pages of new material, and is a more satisfying read. It's orderable through bookshops around the world, and is also available on Amazon where you can preview it here (including the new introduction):

and Amazon USA

The hardback edition has the text of the old version and hasn't been updated.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Thinking about Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds in Sergio Corbucci's 100 Rifles

Burt Reynolds Autobiography - But Enough About Me

I’ve enjoyed reading Burt Reynolds’s memoir. It helped me to fill in a big gap in my understanding of Seventies cinema. The gap was that I didn’t really see why Reynolds was so popular. For much of the decade he dominated the list of the top box-office stars. I’d seen four or five of his biggest hits (only one with an audience, the rest of them on TV) and thought they were nothing more than tele-style enertainments. This was in contrast with my appreciation of the films of Clint Eastwood, the box-office rival he often beat (by the early 80’s I’d seen half-a-dozen major Eastwood films on 35mm). I could see the art in Eastwood.
Of course, I had seen Burt Reynolds in the mighty Deliverance, a true Film of the Decade (though sporting small picky flaws in its hat-on-hat-off continuity and technical flaws in its day-for-night processing) and, like all film fans who didn’t really know then how films got made, I’d pinned the colours for the whole success of Deliverance to John Boorman’s chest.
I was talking about Burt Reynold’s book with an actress friend of mine, who is of Burt’s generation. She cooed immediately when I mentioned his name, and she said: “He is a lovely man.” 
She explained to me that she was close friends with Reynolds’ English lover, an actress still famous in England (probably unknown in America) and alas now dead. Reynold’s English actress-lover is not mentioned in his book, so I won’t mention her name here.
My friend said: “She fell in love with him because he was so different to all the other film stars. He had a sense of fun. He lived for fun.”
And that seemed to give me an introduction to an understanding of Burt Reynolds. Having a ‘sense of fun’ is a rare quality indeed. In fact, among my admittedly not particularly wide circle of friends and acquaintances (all of them older than myself), I don’t know anyone who has a genuine ‘sense of fun’ (doubtless I’m the most miserable of the lot). And that’s probably true for most people. Most people are not ‘fun’. Looking at it like that, the natural rareness of ‘fun’ makes it exotic and appealing. People like Burt Reynolds because he is fun. He is fun in his art and fun in his life.
But fun in itself is not enough to be America’s top box office star. There’s more to Burt Reynolds and his films than fun.
In the book, Reynolds takes the alternative autobiographical path of writing mostly about other folk, people he grew up with, lived with, worked with, loved and met. It works beautifully. It gives us a fully-rounded picture of the man himself, a man whose creed contains the full compliment of Southern virtues - independence, generosity, courteousy, modesty, grace and toughness - and those very attractive non-PC virtues of never saying a bad thing about a woman, and always standing strong to tackle prejudice at its source, with a fist if necessary. To those virtues is added a full measure of the virtues of good humour. Reynolds’s sense of humour extends to the ability to laugh at himself - he’s not one of those personalty-free drones who boast of their charity work when collecting Golden Globe awards - his shoulders are broad enough for him to make himself the fall guy in his some of his own stories. This works best in the punchline to an account of a very exclusive dinner party at the New York apartment of the playwright, William Inge, where the very young Burt’s lust gets the better of his intellect and leads him to a punchline (a name) that is as dazzling as it is hilarious, and which achieves with truth what Peter Cook strove for in a famous fantasy monologue, which is all I can say without ruining it.
Interwoven within these stories are incisive character portraits of Frank Sinatra, Roy Rogers (and Trigger), Johhny Carson, Jim Brown, Dinah Shore, Clint Eastwood and many others, but this is not a name-drop memoir. The stories and portraits are shaped to give us too a portrait of times. For example, Burt Reynolds writes of the night when he and Jim Brown jump the rope to get a close night look at the Lincoln Memorial and are jumped on by the police. Jim Brown gets it harder because of the colour of his skin, and is saved from futher difficulty only because of his celebrity.
But perhaps the most striking story to me, because of it speaks of lost values from a lost time, the values of common sense and decency and fairness, is when the teenage Burt Reynolds tells his father of a local boy, his own age, who is being neglected: 

“My dad knew all about Jimmy’s situation, him being the police chief and it being a small town. “Yes, son, he can live here,” he said. “But we’ve got rules in this house, and you’ll both have to abide by them. Come upstairs.” He opened my closet, put his hands in the middle of the clothes, and went pffft, dividing them in half. “Jimmy, these are your clothes here, and those are Buddy’s over there,” he said.
Gee, I didn’t even get a chance to pick ‘em out or anything,
My parents legally adopted Jimmy and treated him like a son from then on... He became a high school football coach, and when my dad talked about the two of us, he considered Jimmy the bigger success.”

It’s a beautiful story. But it takes more than a few beautiful stories to make a box-office star. As the book reaches it conclusion, and Burt Reynolds has built a theatre, and is teaching, and is putting his money back into his profession and the community where he lived and grew, he lets us into the secret of his art. It’s two words, ‘Spencer Tracy’. He narrows this large words down to one Spencer Tracy film, A Father of the Bride. I watched the film and it was a revelantion. One sees in Tracy’s performance, the template for Burt Reynolds’ art. It’s all to do with the way Tracy and Reynolds hold the space and the pace and the camera. It’s a craft so rare and true and complex that, like all the best magic, it is almost invisible, and so easily missed.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

A Look Inside the book Gary Numan, An Annotated Scrapbook

Here's a low-resolution preview of a very few of the 300+ pages you will find inside my lovely big book, Gary Numan, An Annotated Scrapbook 

FOUR new books about Gary Numan

It was the biggest arts mystery for decades why there were so few books about Gary Numan, a pop artist of genuine stature who has an on-going career of almost four decades, so I rolled up my sleeves and duly added a couple of books to the marketplace - Gary Numan, An Annotated Scrapbook and Understanding Gary Numan. I'm now delighted to report that there are four more new books about or by Gary Numan.
First up is Remind Me To Smile by Martin Downham. This is a memoir of growing up during the seventies and eighties and puts Numan in context with the life and arts of the period for a young British boy.

It's available here:

The second book is by Gary Choppen, who has long been known and admired as a pillar of the Gary Numan fan community. His book is called Numan and M.E. Memories of a Numanoid and is available here:

The two other books are by Gary Numan himself but alas, priced out of most and my range. From his on-line store at you can order a 48-page book of photographs of his Splinter concert tour.

The other book contains a children's story he has written and is included in a collection called  Stories for Ways and Means

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Gary Numan, An Annotated Scrapbook (now on sale!)

My lovely big book about Gary Numan's Machine Music phase is now out on sale. There are only 400 copies printed. It's more than 300 pages thick and is properly printed (i.e. not digitally printed) on the finest paper and costs £60. It is orderable through bookshops in every country in the world, except Canada for some strange reason. It's on Amazon here, and they DO have it in stock despite what they say (and don't buy them through Amazon re-sellers because they DONT have them in stock despite what they say):

Alternatively, you can buy copies direct from me for £55, but I don't take paypal or credit cards, so drop me a line for payment details.


The blurb:

Gary Numan was one of the first pop artists to place equal emphasis on image and sound, a true Warholian artist who advanced on Andy’s light and sound experiments with The Velvet Underground, by bringing a real grandeur to live performances, and by changing the music of the world with a single finger.
This book collects together articles from England, America, Japan, Spain, Italy and Germany, to give a clear picture of the first years of fame of the modest young Englishman, and which show, for example, that Numan's 1979 album Replicas is the missing link between the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and the film Blade Runner.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Dave King - editor

Dave King has died. He edited major BBC films by Ken Russell, Tony Palmer and Jack Gold, and the Rex Harrison Don Quixote, but more important than that he was a lovely lovely man. I got to know him when I was writing my book Talking About Ken Russell. We met several times in London and in Brussels, where attended a conference about Ken Russell. He was the most fascinating and friendly and generous of men. He gave me copies of his entire clippings collection of Ken Russell, hundreds of items from the time when Ken’s Dance of the Seven Veils became the most controversial film in the world, and he sent me DVDs and postcards and he also sponsored the book. I was and am humbled by his generosity and good spirit. I miss him dearly. My love to his family and his friends.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

The return of real film and real cinema in 2016

The best arts news of the year for me is the opening of a new 65mm processing facility in London. This means the return of real films made with real film. And by real film I mean the pinnacle process of film art - 70mm, the format of 2001, A Space Odyssey and Lawrence of Arabia. Films shot in 65mm (the additional 5mm are to add 6-channels of sound) exhibit a huge difference in the depth of the image compared with 35mm and the cheap digital formats. Digital is essentially a flat image. There is very little true depth to a digital image even when shot with the best lenses. When you see a film shot on 70mm film and projected on a curved screen in a real 70mm cinema, such as Karlsrhue in Southern Germany, the effect is astonishing. The image becomes so deep that you feel as though you could walk into it. It's real 3D without the need with glasses. When it comes to the art of cinema, 70mm is the real thing. Since 1958, everything made on anything less than 70mm is just a gimmick, snake oil peddled by hucksters.