Sunday, 11 September 2016
Partly in a successful effort to prove that I can produce books that don't cost huge amounts of money, I'm pleased to be able to say that you can buy a tiny thin paperback by me called 'Understanding Gary Numan'. It's on Amazon UK and Amazon USA. It should be orderable through bookshops and it is on kindle.
If you can't bear the thought of owning a book by Paul Sutton that doesn't cost a ridiculous amount of money, then take comfort in the fact that a very expensive (£55-£60, because it is printed in Britain) hardback book, Gary Numan, A Machine Quartet Scrapbook (1978-1981) will be published in late October 2016.
The paperback, 'Understanding Gary Numan', contains a 13,000 essay by me that gives a couple of hopefully good and interesting hours of reading. Or, and I've already used this joke more than once, if you read as quickly as I do it gives the reader four hours of reading. The essay is NOT in the scrapbook. The only place to read it is in the paperback or on kindle. It covers the Machine Music phase of Numan's career, from the Tubeway Army LP to Telekon; I take a close look at the early press attacks, and I write analytically about the first two John Peel Sessions, the Old Grey Whistle Test Appearance (Numan's first on television), his first Top of the Pops appearance (when he truly did give David Bowie and Roxy Music a beating), and several important songs, including Listen to the Sirens, Me I Disconnect From You, I Nearly Married a Human 2, Are 'Friends' Electric? and I Die You Die, with emphasis on the song's world premiere on the Kenny Everett Television Show.
I've joined forces with Britain's Lemon Popsicle expert, Roy Mitchell, to produce a lavish and unfortunately prohibitively expensive book about Golan and Globus's finest twenty hours, The Lemon Popsicle films, or Eis Am Stiel films if you live in Germany.
It's available on Amazon and should be orderable through bookshops. If you do buy it on-line, don't fall for the trap and pay even more for it by buying it through the Amazon subsidiary shops that have in stock but at a mark up. Amazon have it in stock themselves even if they claim it is 'currently out of stock'. Just add it to your basket, and enjoy it when it arrives.
There will hopefully be a paperback version later in the year, but the paperback will be printed digitally and will still cost about £30 or so, because Buffalo Books is probably the only publishing company in Britain that doesn't subsidise slave labour in China. All of their books are printed in Britain and the States.
Actually, if you want to save a bit of money on the book, you can buy them direct from me about about £42, which will include courier delivery.
I don't often go to the Cambridge Arts Cinema because you have to buy a seat in advance if you want a good seat, you can't just turn up and get a good seat, your seats are allocated to you as if you are naughty children. And if you try to book on-line you are charged an additional fee for the privilege of buying a ticket. In fact, I stopped using their on-line booking service shortly after they tried to stop being a cinema and become a Junk Food Emporium instead. At that point, they were also trying to become Ryanair. When you went on-line to book a ticket to see a film, you were repeatedly bombarded during the booking process (which you were paying a premium to use) with junk food add-ons. "Okay, so you've chosen a ticket and you've agreed to sit only in this seat, now that will be £11.50 for the seat, plus a quid of whatever it is because you are booking online, plus £39.99 for two cokes, a packet of sugary sweets and two large tubs of popcorn." You'd tell the system that you only wanted a ticket to see the film, and they would respond with something like, "Okay, so you only want the ticket and two large cokes". You would say you don't want the cokes, and then they would offer alcoholic drinks with 'special discounted offers'. So I stopped trying to book tickets on line.
I live a couple of miles from the cinema, so I would drop by now and then to see if there was anything showing that I'd like. There are three screens, but the one genuinely good screen seems to be reserved only for showing Marvel Comics films, or James Bond films, or computer-generated cartoons from Disney.
The real film revivals were always confined to Screen 3 - the add-on screen which they built instead of a disabled lavatory. The screen isn't much bigger than the one I have at home, and the sound system isn't good.
So I don't often go to the Arts Cinema to see films. In fact, I saw more films in Germany last year than I saw in Cambridge, and I love cinema and I live in Cambridge. I used to go the cinema two or three times a week.
A couple of weeks ago, I dropped by the Arts and saw that they had a poster up for the film about Gary Numan - called Android in La La Land (not a good title and it wasn't a good poster). Because it was an interesting subject I knew it would be playing in the crap screen, and that proved to be the case. It was a one-off screening in the afternoon, but you could turn up and take any seat you wanted! and the director was doing a Question and Answer session afterwards. I wanted to hear what he said, and I wanted to see the film, so I paid the £11.50 for a ticket.
I arrived a few minutes before the film was scheduled to start. The attendance was good, about a 100 people more than who had paid to see the film that was playing in Screen One (note to the manager, why don't you have special events in Screen One?). The lights dimmed and we were treated with noisy adverts for 20 minutes or so. Now, if you want to take up 20 minutes of my time by showing me adverts, don't charge me £11.50 for a ticket to see a film. In fact, don't charge me at all to see a film. At that point, I decided not to pay £23 to the Arts Cinema to see forty minutes of adverts and the new Woody Allen and Pedro Almodovar films that were playing in the cinema that week.
Then, and this is the killer - It's a film about a musician. It starts with the musician's music. The music is very good and very original and, of course, the filmmakers want to make an impact, so they have the music burst forth with all its glory at the start of the film.
But the cinema played the film at a lower volume than they played the adverts!!!
At that moment I knew that The Cambridge Arts Cinema has become ITV. The chav channel of choice.
Instead of drawing lessons from low-quality organisations such as Ryanair and ITV they should concentrate on being a place that takes pride in film and cinema.