Paris: City of Crime

What nicer way to bring my arduous year of book eventing to a close than with four days in Paris?

Paris Polar, the city’s annual festival of crime writing and associated fields, is this year honoured to have the film director Bertrand Tavernier as its Special Guest, and Tavernier will introduce a showing of his film, In the Electric Mist, based on the novel by James Lee Burke, on the Saturday evening.

The formidable Cathi Unsworth and myself will be representing British crime writing at the festival; Cathi – who knows a great deal about such matters – will be taking part in a panel discussion about the relationship(s) between music and the crime novel, while I have the honour of sharing a platform with Bertrand Tavernier and publisher, editor and writer, François Guerif, to discuss the return of the American West and the Western novel to the literary landscape.

I’m delighted also that the festival will give me another opportunity to look at Hermance Triay’s Crime Scene photographs, which I first came across in Villeneuve Lez Avignon earlier in the year, and which inspired the author Marc Villard to write the twenty short texts which have been published alongside the photographs in a book of the same name

Outside of the festival itself, on Thursday afternoon I’m a guest on Kathleen Evin’s radio programme, L’Humeur Vagabonde on France Inter, and on Friday I have the uncertain pleasure of talking to four classes of sixteen year olds at the lycée Claude Monet, who have been reading Coeurs Solitaires (Lonely Hearts) in its French translation and Rough Treatment (Les Etrangers Dans la Maison) in the original English.

And if I can slip away from my duties at the signing table long enough,  there are currently exhibitions by two leading American photographers I’d  very much like to see – Garry Winogrand at Jeu de Paume and William Eggleston at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson.





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Private Passions Made Public

Sunday, 16th November 2014 : BBC Radio 3

Scan 5Listen on the BBC Radio iPlayer here …



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My Kind of Guy

Interviewed in the Guardian about his new film, Winter Sleep, which won this year’s Palme d’Or at Cannes, and which - having seen the trailer, especially – I’m anxious to see (but not so anxious that, although it opens a week today, I’m not planning to see it till the following Monday – there’s deferred gratification for you) this is Ceylan’s response to the question, could he imagine making a comedy …

“No, no, no!’ Ceylan says, his deep voice rising in a kind of soft lament. “I am not that kind of guy. I don’t like comedies; I don’t like to laugh.” At which point, he bursts out laughing. He is laughing now, I remark. “No, some people go to these … entertainments. I like melancholic things better.”

Now there’s a man after my own heart.

I’ll work on the deep voice …


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Blues for Charlie …

There’s a lovely, quite elegiac piece  – Blues for Charlie – On Reading the Last Resnick – on Catherine Annabel’s Passing Time blog – you can find it here – at the end of which she has a suggested playlist with which to accompany a reading of the novels, and, with her permission, here it is …

  1. Lonely Hearts (1989) Billie Holiday : ‘(I Don’t Stand a) Ghost of a Chance (With You) (Music for Torching, 1955)
  2. Rough Treatment (1990) Red Rodney Quintet : Shaw ‘Nuff  (Red Rodney Returns, 1959)
  3. Cutting Edge (1991) Art Pepper : Straight Life (Straight Life, 1979)
  4. Off Minor (1992) Thelonious Monk : Off Minor (Monk’s Music, 1957)
  5. Wasted Years (1993) Thelonious Monk : Evidence (Thelonious Monk at the Blackhawk, 1960)
  6. Cold Light (1994) Duke Ellington Orchestra : Cottontail (The Carnegie Hall Concerts, 1943)
  7. Living Proof (1995) Stan Tracey Duo : Some Other Blues (Live at the QEH, 1994)
  8. Easy Meat (1996) Billie Holiday : Body & Soul (Body & Soul, 1957)
  9. Still Water (1997) Miles Davis : Bag’s Groove (Bag’s Groove, 1957)
  10. Last Rites (1998) Sandy Brown : In the Evening (In the Evening, 1970)
  11. Cold in Hand (2008) Bessie Smith : Cold in Hand Blues (1925) (The Bessie Smith Story, Vol. 3, 1951)
  12. Darkness, Darkness (2014) Thelonious Monk : Blue Monk (Thelonious Monk Trio, 1954)


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Happy Birthdays!

Nicely placed atop the birthday listings in today’s paper, a pair of my favourite jazz musicians, pianist and singer Mose Allison, who has reached 87, and, one year his junior, the singer Ernestine Anderson, a mere 86.

According to Georgie Fame at his recent Royal Albert Hall gig, Allison – very much, vocally, Fame’s mentor – is not only alive but well, after a long lifetime in the music. It was when I was at Goldsmiths’ in the early 60s that I first became aware of him – the recording of ‘Parchman Farm’ it would have been – and I can remember going into Chris Wellard’s New Cross record store and buying the 1957 album, ‘Local Colour’, which featured not only that number but a fine version of the Richard M. Jones song, ‘Trouble in Mind’, on which  Allison – a rarity this – plays trumpet as well as piano.

Ernestine Anderson is one of those singers whose career moved between Soul and Jazz and only towards the latter years of her career seemed to concentrate, to great effect, on the latter. Pretty much a favourite ever since I first heard her 1986 version of ‘In a Mellotone’, featuring some fine Benny Carter on alto sax, Anderson was also responsible, partly at least, for supplying out daughter’s middle name – the one we had thought of had she been a boy needing a little gender modification.

Later today, with a suitable selection of the stereo, I’ll be pleased to raise a glass to them both.


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Passions, Private & Otherwise

This coming Sunday, 16th, I’m the guest on ‘Private Passions’ [which, if you've not come across it before, could be thought of as Radio 3’s answer to ‘Desert Island Discs’].

In the programme – which is scheduled to be part of BBC Radio’s jazz season, linked to the London Jazz Festival – I talk to Michael Berkeley about my music choices and the reasons behind them, in addition to my writing, the Resnick novels, my poetry and attendant matters. It was great fun to do, and I hope that comes across in the broadcast.

The programme begins 12 noon, lasts for an hour, and is available for a week thereafter on the BBC iPlayer – and as a BBC podcast (with much shortened versions of the music).

There are more details of the programme here … but – SPOILER ALERT – don’t look at it beforehand if you want to be surprised by the pieces I choose.

Oh, and if you live in or around London and are within reach of Islington – and if you’re searching for something to do on the previous evening, Saturday 15th – other than watching England versus Slovenia, that is – in the company of two other poets, Yvonne Green & Lorraine Mariner, I shall be reading from my new poetry collection, ‘Out of Silence’ (Smith/Doorstop) in the Crypt at St.Mary’s Church in Upper Street, kicking off at 7.00pm.

15 November 2014 Green Harvey Mariner - with photos


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Fame, Jazz & the Generation Game

Watching the bass player, Alec Dankworth, with Georgie Fame’s Blue Flames at the Royal Albert Hall recently, reminded me of seeing the Alec and John Dankworth Generation Band at Ronnie Scott’s back in the 90s, young(isn) tyros lined up alongside a scattering of musicians from the older Dankworth’s past. John Dankworth – or Johnny, as he used to be known (I recall taking a group of teenagers from Wesley Road School in Harlesden to see a live broadcast by the Johnny Dankworth Seven, it would have been 1959) was one of the relatively few jazz musicians whose death was noted not just in the Obituaries, but as front page news. Ronnie Scott, of course, was another. Humphrey Lyttelton. And this week, Acker Bilk. One way or other – that way often being via the pop charts – they had all crossed the bridge from minority taste to wider awareness.

But back to the Blue Flames at the RAH – another generation band by any other name – Georgie (birth name, Clive Powell) at 71, with his sons, Tristan Powell on guitar and James Powell on drums; add to them Alec Dankworth, as already mentioned, and on tenor sax Alan Skidmore, whose father, Jimmy, I would have seen and heard many times playing tenor with the Humphrey Lyttelton Band in late 50s and early 6os. Indeed, it’s not impossible I might have seen Humph’s band at the 100 Club on Oxford Street (it might have been the Lyttelton Club in those days) in the first part of the evening, before walking down Wardour Street to an all-nighter at the Flamingo, featuring Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames.

During those years which bridge the period in my life between sixth form and college, another regular jazz haunt was the Fishmongers’ Arms in Wood Green, which I’ve written about before. The Alex Welsh Band had a Sunday night residency there for quite a spell – the first ‘great’ Welsh Band, with a front line of Archie Semple on clarinet and Roy Crimmins on trombone. Semple died far too early, far too long ago, 1974, Welsh in 82, and Crimmins, just this year, in August, at the age of 85.

Having spent considerable time living and working in Switzerland, Vienna and Germany, as well as making return visits to Britain, Roy Crimmins and his family finally settled in Tel Aviv some time in the mid-80s, where he helped to establish the Red Sea International Jazz Festival and the Israel Jazz Ensemble. He died on a visit to London and was buried on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee.

And, finally, to note the death, at 84, of another jazz musician whose playing was a part of my youthful education, the clarinetist Vic Ash, whom I remember seeing on several occasions in the Jazz Five, a group he co-led with the baritone player, Harry Klein – Klein, like Ash, and, of course, Ronnie Scott, one of many jazzmen to come out of the Jewish community in London’s East End – and, latterly, in the saxophone section on the BBC Big Band, often surrounded by musicians one, if not two, generations younger than himself.



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