Sunday, 7 April 2013


Books to the left of me, books to the right of me.


Long time no read. Let's just say I've been breaking spines and tearing through pages. Now I'm not one to do yearly book challenges (although they are pretty cool...go you) but if I was I'd be on a good run for 2013. Thanks to some great gifts and bargain books the shelves are stacking and the coffee cups are mounting. Here's a rundown of my reading list so far. More to come.

DREAM TEAM-A Christmas present off my dream girl, this really is a dream team. A sports journalists tour through Barcelona, the 1992 Olympics and the USA Basketball dream team consisting of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and more greats. Featuring player profiles and behind the scenes stories even more exciting than the Harlem Globetrotters like dominating games, this is a birds eye view look on what all the press and fans wanted to peek into. This really is one for the ages and pages. Thank you Holly.

THE LAST SHOT-The other side of the hoop dream. This tale of playground basketball the streets of Queensbridge follows young players led by former NBA star Stephon Marbury on their search for the American basketball dream. Heaven really is a playground, but between the harsh realities of the street and NCAA nightmares be prepared for hell. The last page truly broke my heart. We all need to look after our youth better.

HARRY BELAFONTE: MY SONG-A beautiful and poetic autobiography about a man who has not only witnessed but has been actively involved with some of the major cultural, political and social changes in music, movies and more over the last century. Still alive to tell the real tales of his time with the likes of Marlon Brando, Martin Luther King Jr, John F. Kennedy and Sammy Davis Jnr. Did you know this award winning actor who broke cultural lines with Sidney Poitier not only was Bob Dylan's mentor but also the first artist to ever sell 1 million records with his Calypso record? Time to read all about it.

THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES/THE CASE BOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMES/THE HOUNDS OF BASKERVILLES-Can you believe all these classic reads only cost me 50 English pence each? Say it with me now...BARGAIN! Do you need anymore reason to read? Whether you're a Robert Downey Jr or Benedict Cumberbatch fan (or even of you like Lucy Lui as your Dr. Watson) Sherlock Holmes originates with the great Arthur Conan Doyle. The man who can even make demon dogs and vampire mysteries real. Tip of the cap and nod of the pipe to you.

THE SILVER LININGS PLAY BOOK: If you thought the Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence Oscar winning film was good then wait until you read this. You could say the start of this year has been one of books that movies where based on and the writer should always get the first credit. After all the chicken came before the egg and between short chapters with quirky names Matthew Quick delivers a classic that is sympathetic and funny. Bringing the often arms length over-looked problem of anxiety to the table this book is bold, beautiful and brilliant.

LIMITLESS-That isn't it for Bradley Cooper based books. Maybe I just like the covers hey. 'Limitless' or 'The Dark Fields' as it's originally known by Alan Gylnn is the story that led to 'The Hangover' stars true breakout movie. Concerning the idea of what it would be like to take a pill that improved how you performed mentally this is a 'what would you do' story with scary and thought provoking moral messages. The vivid and descriptive way this book is wrote at times, matched with the quick thinking fact of the matter thought processes really immerses you in the substance. With this rags or riches tale, Gylnn really is on something here.

DRIVE-How about some Ryan Gosling ladies? What is this 'A Place Between The Pines' tie-in post (send me the cheque in the mail fellas). If you thought Gosling's dark classic really was one of modern greats greatest wait until you read this novel. On par with the sublime soundtrack this quick read wasn't devoured in a return train ride because it's short. It was burnt through because it's a real vivid page turner taking us through the darkness of the neon shades of Los Angeles in depth and detail. Celluloid or pages we can't wait for the sequel 'Driven'.

GANGSTER SQUAD: More Gosling, I know...I know. Some hated the great movie that was based on this book. Still these real accounts of the Los Angeles Police Departments battle for Los Angeles with mobster Mickey Cohen is another quick page turner of intrigue and investigation. There is nothing cool or classy about gangsters (yeah I said it, come and get me) but the good guys getting it done makes for a cool police story. From the files of 'Gangster Squad' if you like your cops and robbers stories than cop this one. It's a steal.

DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?: 'Blade Runner' anyone? Ever since being enthralled by movies like 'Total Recall', 'Minority Report' and 'The Adjustment Bureau' and noticing in the credits 'based on the book' I have been intrigued by the science fiction writer Phillip K. Dick and everyone should too. Finally this year I have started to read up about him and what a way to start with the science fiction masters classic. A man who is one of the greatest American authors of all-time and a guy who's stories from decades gone are still influencing future films like they where brand new ideas. If only he was here to see. 'Blade Runner' came out just after he died. Rest In Peace sir. We're counting electric sheep for you.

THE DESCENDANTS: Kaui Hart Hemmings story that inspired a great George Clooney film is a trouble in paradise story that is dark funny, sobering and punch drunk with love. Based in Hawaii and showing it's not all sun and sand this important story of failing franchises, marriage and life has many moral messages that will centre you. A man is losing his wife and while she is in a coma he learns she was going to leave him for another man...and there's still happiness to be found in this story. Incredible.

THE BLIND SIDE-Last year I was reading 'Moneyball' by Michael Lewis and the autobiography of Michael Oher (thanks for the love Mike) 'How I Beat The Odds'. It's funny how it all turns around. This year I found myself reading 'The Blind Side' by Lewis based on Oher's life. It became a hit movie with Sandra Bullock, but first 'The Blind Side' became another classic by revolutionary sports journalist Lewis looks into this young, Superbowl winning Football stars coming of age life, the business of NFL recruitment and the invaluable asset of the man paid more to protect the quarterbacks weak spot. 'The Blind Side' has all the elements of a descriptive sports analysis and a beautiful story that's amazingly fact not fiction.

THE LINCOLN LAWYER-Michael Connelly used to write about police reports for the 'Los Angeles Times' no wonder this author is so knowledgeable about the city of Los Angeles, crime and the legal process. 'The Lincoln Lawyer' made a great movie and career redemption for Matthew Mconaghey (shout out to John Leguizamo for the love) and it's always interesting to see how a film translates and differs from the text. This pure page turner really keeps you immersed in the details of this case no matter how in depth it is to the fine point of every move and mannerism, so delightfully descriptive. You'll feel like you're investigating the case first hand and that's what makes it such a captivating and interesting read. Especially if you read it in Mconaghey's signature southern drawl. As long as I get to take my shirt off.

WIT'CH FIRE-Now here's a fantasy that could give 'The Lord Of The Rings' a run for its pages. Recommended to me by the one I trust the most about reading, 'Book 1' really sets the scene. Don't banish this one an epic tale of witches and all sorts of creatures really will set off the vivid imaginations of the wildest part of your minds as our author really paints the perfect picture. To say more really would be giving the game away but this inspired read really will uplift you and break your heart at the same time. After all isn't that what all epic tales are made of? I can't wait to get into the rest of this five series fantasy and so should you.

15 books between the usual basketball, film and music magazines, plus comic books isn't too bad. Now what's more instore? Keep reading and feel free to share what you've been bookworming and your favorite good reads.

Now time to write...

Thursday, 6 December 2012


'The Dark Knight Rises' is now out on DVD but with all respect to the final part of Nolan's trilogy and Bane there can only be one real film and villain. 'The Dark Knight' and the late, great Heath Ledger's Joker.

(Originally Wrote Early 2012)

In Loving Memory.


Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk have recently assembled some record breaking box-office returns for 'The Avengers' and in what looks like to be arguably the greatest year of comic-book, superhero movies ever (just wait however), a rebooted 'Spiderman' is set to spin a new web this sensational to be, scorching Summer. Still despite all the hype and buzz of Stan Lee's greatest heroes you have to look to D.C. for the most anticipated movie of the year to marvel at.

With a combination of three trailers that have revealed a little bit more with each tease and an otherwise almost non-existent and therefore intriguing marketing campaign 'The Dark Knight Rises' coming July 20Th is the film of the year that everyone really can't wait for. From the intimidating and influential presence of Tom Hardy's big and bold portrayal of Bane, to the incredible 'Inception' cast reuniting and Anne Hathaway's Catwoman being let out the bag, the latest in the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale 'Batman' saga looks set to follow cinemas greatest sequel of all time. Set to compliment the other two classics by making this stellar series right there with 'Lord Of The Rings', 'Star Wars' and 'The Godfather' as one of the greatest trilogy's of all-time.

After 'Batman Begins' re-energised and heated up a franchise that was dying off in the ice cold, Mr. Freeze corniness of 'Batman & Robin', fans just want to know how 'The Dark Knight' legend ends. A legend whose legacy lasts due in most part to the last iconic movie and its ultimate star. As good as Bane is and as great as he's set to be in this movie, something tells us that when this trilogy goes down in history someone else will have the last laugh. Nobody beats the Joker. Let's not forget what took this franchise from favorite to formidable.

I still miss Heath Ledger.

Four years is a long time. Almost half a decade's gone, but the feelings are still raw. To say Tom Hardy's Bane probably won't beat Heath Ledger's Joker is unfair, especially since we haven't seen the final product. A final product that really does look to be almost as iconic and the closest you could probably get to Batman's greatest villain. Still that's just how good Heath Ledger's Joker was. It was beyond the character itself. A redefinition of a cult character that changed everything. Let's not forget or ignore with all due respect that when Heath was originally named as the Joker fans were far from perfectly pleased like when they saw what his portrayal produced in the end. "NOT that 'Brokeback Mountain' guy" they cried. "Jack Nicholson is the ONLY Joker". There more than a sense that this casting was far from right. Just how wrong the doubters where.

All these things where said let's not forget, but then after the first trailer and the sound of that voice and that laugh people started to listen. Then after people finally saw the darkly made up purple reigning anti-hero after the second trailer, there where no more second thoughts and it wasn't just out of respect at the then recent and rawness of the tragic news. Before the final trailer everyone's mind was made up. When arguably the most eagerly anticipated films of all times rolled through projectors worldwide it was over. Sorry Jack. Here's the real Joker. Nobody has ever defied and re-defined a legend and it'll take something far greater to do it again.

Modern movies deserved a better class of criminal and Heath Ledger gave it to them. From the self-made make up, applied in patchy perfection to telling stories of how he got those scars, this part Jack/part 'Clockwork Orange'/punk rock inspired Joker was sinisterly superb, a great bad guy, a perfect nemesis. The formidable foil to the Bat was taken off the comic-book pages and brought to life with a dark vitality and enthusiastically with a certain charm that took this callous character and gave it charisma that left even the geekiest Bruce Wayne fans rooting for him. From a well-worked bank job that revealed the mask behind the mask, to pencil tricks which drew guilty laughs, with a conviction and a now iconic cold, chuckle and cackle Heath Ledger redefined a character and flipped the script on a classic story.

He made it his own. Invited himself into the role until we where all welcome to appreciate how he really crafted a classic. He really was our entertainment, crashing parties with a shotgun and daring 'Batman' to "HIT ME"! From flipping the usual routine of a good/cop bad cop interrogation scene (all of Batman's strength couldn't do anything compared to the Joker's mental problems) to his corrupting bedside manner and hospital guise with Two Face, he really showed both signs of the character complexity coin. Showing that whether hands on or playing mind games the Joker had more than one or two tricks up his sleeve. Stealing every scene he was in and making viewers wish he was in everyone he wasn't, Ledger's Joker made 'The Dark Knight' his. From locking himself into a hotel room to perfect his character to getting deep into the psyche of a psychologically thrilling villain Heath's Joker truly deserved the posthumous Oscar and the outstanding 30 other awards that followed for more than tributes sake.

He straight scared Michael Caine, took the shine off Christian Bale and took a classic character and made it something more. From the "cheap purple suit" to the slicked down green hair Heath more than looked the part...he owned it. Like the iconic scene of the Joker hanging slyly and coolly out a getaway Police car (which would have been a fitting last image of the Joker) every move, gesture and sentence was a classic. Jack Nicholson may have paved the way with his own iconic performance, but Heath Ledger took his legacy down the road and spun it in a whole new direction. Can you even imagine Steve Carrell and Robin Williams where in the running to take the Joker wheel (no offence)? Now not even a former rumored Johnny Depp and all his excellent eccentric performances could step into the Joker's pointed shoes or ever replace(although he, Jude Law and Colin Farrell did a fine, beautifully respectful job of finishing Heath's great character on the inventive 'The Imagenerium Of Doctor Pannesus' by Terry Gilliam). Decades and generations could pass with different takes on the clown, but none could possibly be taken to with smiles and laughs like the definitive performance.

Heath Ledger has many classic performances in his filmography. From becoming a heartthrob in '10 Things I Hate About You' to becoming a star in 'A Knights Tale'. Or from bringing brave beauty and dutiful depth to what shouldn't be a controversial subject on 'Brokeback Mountain' with Jake Gyllenhal to capturing a part of cult icon Bob Dylan in the inventive, inspired 'I'm Not There'. Going from more than just another "pretty boy" tag like Brad Pitt, Leo DiCaprio and Josh Hartnett to showing he was a real, bonafide actor, bolder and better than the rest, just like the aforementioned. From 'The Patriot' to 'Monsters Ball' in his life Ledger became more than just an icon in Australia like the late, legendary Michael Hutchence of top band INXS. He even showed a directors eye in the beautiful video of great singer Ben Harper's beautiful 'Morning Yearning' song. Close friend Ben returned the favor by writing a lovely lullaby for Ledger's daughter called 'Happy Ever After In Your Eyes'. Now that's art imitating life's loyalty and friendship. What a guy he really was.

Still all these amazing accomplishments are awe-struck in comparison to Heath's last and legacy making role. The Joker performance holds much more resonance and it's beyond the emotional. Some may worship late celebrities more than the living for whatever reason but Heath's performance is the thing of legend regardless of his tragic circumstances and it should be respected as such. Its a real shame one of the Joker's last lines ("I think you and I (Batman) are destined to do this forever") didn't come true. It's a real shame we can't see Heath Ledger's Joker in this sequel, or the more incredible performances Ledger would have added to his legend if he was still here but more important its just too tragic that the man himself isn't here. Beyond the fame and fans for his family and friends words cant justify the loss, but like the circumstances of his death that is his business not ours. When it comes down to his life in movies however for us we witnessed one of the greatest, most perfect performers of modern and all times. With his signature, 'Why So Serious' Academy winning role Heath blessed us with a classic that made us smile more even through the tragic times.

There will never be another individual like him. With all due respect when it comes to the Joker, Heath Ledger should have the last laugh.


American G.Q. DREAM JOB!! Like Justin In 'Friends With Benefits' ahah! 'Magazine Cover Day' OVER!!


Yep...I love magazine cover designs!


Is it A Bird? Is It A Plane?


Howard's End.


Big news out of Orlando, coming to Los Angeles. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's a Superman trade! It's official like confirmed couples after three months of dating. Dwight Howard is finally a Los Angeles Lakers via a four team trade. A Hollywood blockbuster by way of Bynum heading to Philadelphia with the Magic's Jason Richardson and Olympian Andre Igudola moving out of Philly like the Fresh Prince and joining Team USA teammate and former annual trade topic Carmelo Anthony's former Denver team. What do Orlando get in all this you ask? Well they get to be the new Charlotte Bobcats, receiving Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo and forward Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and forward Maurice Harkless from the Sixers and first round draft projections from the three other teams. Laker fans prayed to the basketball God's and David Stern not to nix this one. The Chris Paul veto still hurts the legendary Laker legacy, just ask Khloe or Lamar.

Those Laker fans who thought their only excitement this week would be via Kobe Bryant finally showing that fire in the Olympics via six huge threes against Australia will be ignited by this news. Howard's end of being the latest LeBron and Carmelo big name trade rumour see's Superman's return in Hollywood. This is more exciting than next years 'Man Of Steel' movie being overseen by legendary 'Dark Knight' director Christopher Nolan. Mitch Kupchack is in the chair on this one and he's pulled off another genius Gasol move (all whilst keeping Pau in the process) in what seems like his way of making up to the Laker organization his missed time as a player due to injury in the eighties. It really is showtime now and even if none of the parties want to admit this Kobe has his Shaq mark two as Superman returns to the show and the biggest stage in basketball in la, la, Lakerland.

This is Kobe's best one-two punch since the man of steel and this reboot looks to fight and kick it with the biggest of threes and teams. A maturing Oklahoma Thunder and Danny Ocean-esque growing Miami Heat be warned. There's a storm coming and it's about to heat up in Southern California. This move and Mitch's other master chess decisions this offseason more than make up for the loss of Andrew Bynum and other championship alumni Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher. Although these family guys will be always be missed like LeBron's Cleveland show the new Laker team reboots instead of rebuilds, while the old hands will be shook and thanked for their time with a lasting legacy of gratitude.

Playoff hero Derek Fisher will always go down as one of the greatest clutch players in Lakers history right there with Jerry West. While former 'Sixth Man Of The Year' Lamar Odom will be considered one of the Lakers best star players off the bench. Just like this, no matter what happens, Andrew Bynum will always go down as one of the Lakers big man greats for a team that has just added Dwight Howard to the elite big man class list that includes Shaq, Wilt, Kareem and Mikan. Plus with Jason Richardson and an already impressive playoff team, Bynum looks to add another classic chapter to the legendary Philadelphia 76ers franchise that has the best young talent in this whole National Basketball Association. This player and his team have more than a future as you can expect the Sixers to be right there chasing Miami in the playoffs, just like you can expect Bynum to be lacing the Lakers with a little payback. Who know the kids already close in a few years he could be better than the guy they traded him for.

Still how does Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard sound? Now the biggest catch of the offseason has been reeled into Tinseltown from Disneyworld, there won't be any Mickey Mouse games now. The Dwightmare is over and a dream team has awoken as the Olympics are about to come to an end. The former biggest Summer signing for the Lakers Steve Nash joins Kobe Bryant in the best (albeit oldest) backcourt in the L. With a reformed rebuilt Metta World Peace looking to bring his second name to the court and finally ditch the Ron, Ron alias the Lakers frontline looks strong too.

Especially with the biggest, muscular and boldest addition to the frontcourt. After Pau Gasol and the tricks of his skilled trade beat Dwight Howard and his former Magic in the 2009 finals the two foes become friends now see themselves aligning for more championships down the line. With Dwight's strength and Pau's skill the paint looks to be decorated with the best big man game the world can offer. With All-Star certified sub-signing Antawn Jamison leading a group of reserves that include Steve Blake, the re-acquired sensation Jordan Hill and the added brilliant bonus of Chris Duhon from this deal, the Lakers bench will give them anything but splinters. Mike Brown had one hell of a team to run now and even when Kobe and Nash finally unlace and hang up their sneakers there's still a future. It's all Dwight now.


Is it a bird? Is it a plane?


The city was safe more than a decade back. A man of steel with an L on his chest and an S on his arm saved the day like a God for the city of angels. With Thor like strength and Hulk aggression this avenger got his revenge on all those who tried to put him or his city down. In the Metropolis of the STAPLES centre the original man of steel flew from the Mickey Mouse land of the Orlando Magic and showed real super powers in Los Angeles. Soaring with his team through championships straight to the banner laden rafters. The only thing missing was a cape.

Shaquille O'Neal really was Superman.

Still whether it be Kryptonite or Kobe even superheroes leave and as the original Superman flew to the sun of Florida to restore his power, taking his talents to South Beach like his former Cleveland running mate and Miami Heat king LeBron James. Even though the Lakers still had their own hero to marvel at in Kobe Bryant playing the opposite Batman role, the people of the city of Los Angeles through Corvettes and brick walls and All-Star reunions wondered if Superman would ever return.

Then almost ten years later and gone, rumblings of rumors started amongst the skyscrapers of Tinseltown. Could it be? Was that a sighting? Questions where raised. Months passed and passed again. Brooklyn, New York looked like the right home for a superhero but then...dun, dun, duh, the people looked up to the sky one more time. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? NO! It's him...just only different. It's Superman. Same flight plan from Disneyworld to Hollywood ditching the Mickey Mouse ears for a purple and gold cape. He's back to save the day and Kobe. Complete with Clark Kent glasses a press conference confirmed it. Dust off the cape and just like Jay said; "take off the blazer,loosen up the tie, step inside the booth Superman is alive". Kingdom come, the Lakers are far from done. King James needs to watch the throne as the crown may be passed to a new prince.

His name is Dwight Howard.

The headlines rose higher than the skyscrapers or billboard. Read all about it as the new man of steel looks to takeover the planet daily and rise with The Dark Knight. This is no Christopher Nolan direction however it's all Mitch Kupchak. Coming from Orlando just like Earvin Johnson said complete with a Magic smile this star is gleaming, and shining. Beaming from ear to ear, starring from city to city. Team to team you can't stop the new Justice League now. Even the Avengers in Miami may need some assembly required.

Spanish hero Pau Gasol, ambassador of World Peace, Metta and running man Steve Nash are right there to help the hero of Los Angeles with Superman because of course everything goes through the one, Kobe Bryant. Still in forming the best one-two punch since his last dynamic duo Kobe has his Shaq 2 in the return of Superman. With Howard soaring and flying-like he did when he stuck a sticker of his face to a backboard-the man who will one day put his name up high next to Wilt and Kareem's is about to engrave the city of Lakers with a championship legacy. With opponents bouncing off his chest like bullets, with a laser eye on a ring, Dwight Howard is on his own quest for a piece. He's stepped back into the phone box, ready to transform the game. Now watch him fly. Superman is back.


All Day I Dream About Success.


(Here is an idea for an Adidas commercial starring Superman).

The commercial begins with the rumbling of thunder over flickering lights of a downtown Los Angeles skyline at night. Through the window of a closed T.V. and electrical store we see the many stacked television sets in the window flickering on and off between having their own picture to making a complete image of footage via all the T.V. screens stacked next to each other. The screens go from static to an image of Wilt Chamberlain spinning and dunking in a L.A. Lakers uniform.

Meanwhile in a phone booth a man in a suit and glasses is talking on a phone. The voice on the other line says; "Many are called, but few are chosen". We switch back to the T.V. store where the television sets are now playing back-to-back images of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's sky-hook. Back to the booth, the man who fills the entire phone booth rubs his temple as the voice on the other end continues; "can you weather the storm? Can you overcome the Heat?."

Back to the television store and we see an image of Kobe Bryant throwing a lob pass to Shaquille O'Neal for a dunk against the Portland Trail Blazers, before the footage flips to Kobe and Shaq staring each other down in opposing uniforms. We switch back to the phone booth where the man on the phone has his hand pressed against the glass as the voice on the other line asks; "can you come back"?

Thunder cracks and we switch to see the televisions and surrounding lights go out. Back again we hear and see footsteps run out of the phone booth and then take off. Left behind in the phone booth is a full suit, glasses drop to the ground and smash. An earthquake like rumble spreads through downtown as birds fly away in fright. A child playing with a toy airplane in the back-seat of a car stops and looks out as something hurtles past at supersonic speed.

Rushing past the electrical store the televisions flicker between static and footage of a Lakers parade. We cut to L.A's landmark Hotel Figueroa where the three tiered building displays pictures of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal shining like three stripes. A stream of purple and gold zooms past at full speed. We follow the stream as it zip-lines through the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles before soaring to the sky between two.

We then see the sky from the top of the two sky scrapers and between the darkness appears some gold and what looks like a basketball hoop. We hear the flapping of a cape as a basketball shoots up and is followed by an outstretched hand. We see the man from the phone booth as Dwight Howard, donning a Lakers uniform and draped in a purple and gold cape flying upwards after the ball.

It's almost in his reach as a newspaper with the headline 'What's happened to the Lakers?' and one with the headline 'Where is Dwight Howard'? along with what appears to be Mickey Mouse ears fall behind him. As Howard gets higher he cocks his hand back and smiles as the gold light shines on his face as his hand makes contact with the ball. The theme to Superman begins to play and get louder. As his cape flaps violently and he begins to slow down, he looks to dunk while disappearing into the gold light which fills the screen.

We switch to a shot of the Los Angeles skyline as the clouds disperse and the lights of the city including the STAPLES Centre come on in a sharp burst. The headline reads; 'Superman Returns' and then 'Impossible Is Nothing' before the Adidas logo appears.




Dear Dime Magazine

Thanks for the follow, love what you do,

Your Lakers Nation affiliate...