This weekend's film viewing was pretty good, if bleak and unsettling. Both films were, completely coincidentally, on the theme of people trying to escape from unbearable situations to something better.
First we saw the Dardenne brothers' ROSETTA. We've been on a bit of a Dardenne brothers kick, recently. Their films aren't exactly happy, showing desperate people on the fringes of society, and this one, about a young girl who lives with her alcoholic mother in a caravan park, is no different. Rosetta will do almost anything to get a job. Sometimes quite heartbreaking, but with little touches of humour.
Next was THE ROAD. I'm sure everyone but me has already seen this journey of a man and his son as they try and find safety and sustenance in a scary post-apocalyptic world. I've not watched it before because I don't like science fiction, books/films about the apocalypse, or scary films. However, I wish I'd watched it when it came out - it was grim, bleak and harrowing - but not totally without hope, and very touching. My science fiction fears were not borne out (there's no huge explosion at the beginning which shows the whole world being enveloped in smoke and flames, and no aliens with with Windows-based computers). It was, however, a bit scary. I'm not a big fan of gangs of rampaging cannibals. Not that I've ever met any in real life, you understand.
Fancy a writing retreat in Scotland? Here you go.
Ray Banks with a great essay on noir over at Mulholland Books.
There's an interesting new social network thingy which has been set up by Len Wanner. Called The Crime Of It All, it's a great resource for crime fiction interviews, reviews, and articles and essays. Excellent, depp and thought provoking interviews so far with several crime fiction authors, including Scots such as Russel McLean, Craig Russell and fat, pasty white jock Allan Guthrie.
The lovely Ayo Onatade over at Shots Mag has a full rundown on the ITV Thriller Awards.
The lovely Declan Burke reviews Kate Atkinson's STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG, a review of M C Beaton's DEATH OF A CAD, The Parrish Lantern with an in-depth look at Irvine Welsh's REHEATED CABBAGE, while The Globe And Mail reviews Val McDermid's FEVER OF THE BONE, and Murder By Type reviews Peter May's THE FOURTH SACRIFICE.
A Disorganised Mind looks at the first seven Ian Rankin books.
How Alexander McCall Smith has changed the world's image of Botswana.
Hear Andrew Motion, William Gibson and LouiseWelsh on BBC Radio 3's The Verb on 8th October.
More news on Sherlock Holmes 2.
Oh, how I wish I could get my hands on the unpublished novels of Douglas Lindsay.
And, finally, the always interesting Zoe Sharp over at Murderati talking about telling lies for a living.