The Cultural Gutter

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"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

Secret Agent, Detective, Genius, Jerk: Modernizing Sherlock Holmes

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A man with dark wavy hair wakes up in an iron-framed bed in the middle of a windowless room. He leaps out from under the white sheets and stares intently at a corner of the white ceiling. Suddenly, gracefully, he spins to defeat an invisible opponent in four swift motions, finally falling to his knees […]

RIP, Edward Hardwicke

British actor Edward Hardwicke has died.  He is best known as Dr. John Watson in the 1980s and 1990s BBC Sherlock Holmes series co-starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes.The Guardian has an obituary and here is a video of Hardwicke and Brett interviewed about playing Watson and Holmes. Like this:Like Loading…

Elementary

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“We have in our police reports realism pushed to its extreme limits, and yet the result is, it must be confessed, neither fascinating nor artistic.”—Arthur Conan Doyle, “A Case of Identity.” When I wrote about Sherlock Holmes and Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Cry of Thunder, I wrote that I picked up that comic because of […]

Old Time Radio Horror

“Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula” isn’t old time radio, but its old timey and fun to listen to before Halloween. The Internet Archive’s Old Time Radio collection has more, including Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater on the Air’s “War of the Worlds” broadcast. Like this:Like Loading…

The Casefile of Sherlock Holmes and Carl Kolchak, Reporter

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Though I prefer reading —and writing about —comics in collections, I do buy comics in single issues.  Sometimes I need to know what happens next or can’t wait for the collection anymore. Sometimes it’s idle curiosity or the lure of the pretty. But every once in a while, it’s the potential for all-out crazy. I […]

Self-Defence for Gentlemen (and Suffragettes)

Scare off impudent ruffians and defeat any self-styled Goliath with only your cane or umbrella! Learn Bartitsu, the martial art favored by many Victorian (and some Edwardian) ladies and gentlemen! View a short documentary here. (via Kung Fu Cinema) Like this:Like Loading…

Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula

The year is 1890.  The city, London. Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula: Is there anything more to say? (Oh, yeah, it’s a radio drama). Like this:Like Loading…

The Dead Body Politic

The mystery of Mexico City needs a private eye.

The adage has it that truth is stranger than fiction. I swear that’s true in Mexico. One of my favourite writers, hardboiled crime novelist Paco Ignacio Taibo II, has to struggle to keep up with the absurd plot of his beloved nation. Although Taibo is a fine writer, I come to him more for his […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Anne Billson has posted a 1985 interview she did with director George Miller (the Mad Max films). Miller talks about many things including Aunty Entity’s probable past as a hero and Max as, in Mel Gibson’s words, “a closet human being.” (Thanks, Matt!)

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    At New York Magazine, David Wallace-Wells writes about bees, colony collapse disorder and beekeeper Dave Hackenberg. “It’s been a long decade for bees. We’ve been panicking about them nonstop since 2006, when beekeeper Dave Hackenberg inspected 2,400 hives wintering in Florida and found 400 of them abandoned — totally empty. American beekeepers had experienced dramatic die-offs before, as recently as the previous winter in California and in regular bouts with a deadly bug called the varroa mite since the 1980s. But those die-offs would at least produce bodies pathologists could study. Here, the bees had just disappeared. In the U.K., they called it Mary Celeste syndrome, after the merchant ship discovered off the Azores in 1872 with not a single passenger aboard. The bees hadn’t even scrawled CROATOAN in honey on the door on their way out of the hive.”

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    Andrew Nette has a pair of interesting pieces on pulp you might be interested in. First, he writes about “the New Pulp” and a bit about Fifty Shades of Gray in “Fifty Shades of Pulp.” Then he writes about pulp and literacy and furthering social advancement in “Pulp and Circumstance.”  “Most people view pulp as either exploitative lowbrow culture or highly collectable retro artefact. Yet pulp has a secret history which Rabinowitz’s book uncovers. Her central thesis is that cheap, mass-produced pulp novels not only provided entertainment and cheap titillating thrills, but also brought modernism to the American people, democratising reading and, in the process, furthering culture and social enlightenment.”

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    The Projection Booth interviews actor Ed Asner.

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    Transcript from BAFTA’s tribute to director Johnnie To, “Johnnie To: A Life In Pictures.” It’s a great interview with To about his films and process. “Like when I made The Mission I didn’t have a script. It was 1999 and I didn’t have any money so we went to Taiwan and they gave us very little money to hurry up and make a film, so without any script we just started making it. And after 19 days we made the film.” (Thanks to the Heroic Sisterhood!)

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    A gallery of sweet geeky art from Native American artist, Jeffrey Veregge. “My origins are not supernatural, nor have they been enhanced by radioactive spiders. I am simply a Native American artist and writer whose creative mantra in best summed up with a word from my tribe’s own language as: ‘taʔčaʔx̣ʷéʔtəŋ,’ which means ‘get into trouble.'”

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