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Friday, February 12, 2016

Comic Cuts - 12 February 2016

Working from home means finding ways to entertain myself throughout the day when there's nobody else to talk to. At the same time, because of the kind of work I do, I can find it difficult to listen to the radio when I'm trying to write as the area of the brain you use for writing is the same bit of brain that you use to make sense of spoken language.

If I'm trying to figure out how best to phrase a sentence, it's difficult if, for instance, I'm also trying to figure out who the murderer was in an Agatha Christie audio drama on 4extra. I have had days when the writing has been going well and I suddenly realise that I've managed to listen to a 90 minute murder mystery and I don't have a clue who was murdered, let alone who was the murderer.

That being the case, I like podcasts because I can store them as long as I like once they're downloaded and I don't have to worry about them disappearing – unlike the iPlayer which, until recently, only held programmes for 7 days. Even a month, as it is now, can mean missing episodes while I scramble to catch up during the gaps between issues of the magazine I work on.

This week, while I was playing catch-up with the Attaboy Clarence podcast, I was delighted to hear Bear Alley get a mention. I discovered Attaboy Clarence and it's spin-off podcast The Secret History of Hollywood last October and put in a couple of links. It would seem that quite a few of you visited Adam Roche's site and it earned me a "Canterbury" (you'll have to listen to the podcast to understand that this is a high honour).

The latest series in The Secret History of Hollywood has just started. These are massive, so it's easy to understand why there can be a few months between episodes. "Bullets and Blood" is the title of the new serial, covering the history of the founding of Warner Brothers studio and the background of one of it's major stars, Jimmy Cagney. You can download the episode here, but make sure you've set aside 4 hours because it's absolutely compelling once you get into it. And if you like it, have a listen to the others, too, as they're as good.

Our random scans this week are a few sequels by other hands. Including the Philip Marlowe sequel by Benjamin Black. The title was one of 32 unused titles found in Raymond Chandler's notebook.

Hopefully this won't sound smug, but I'm rather pleased that I've managed to keep Bear Alley going every day, albeit with a brief post featuring Ace O'Hara most days. The quality of some of the recent episodes has left a lot to be desired, but I'm afraid these copies are the best I've been able to find—the storyline currently running dates back to 1954, so the papers are over 60 years old and the original scanner wasn't too worried about quality.

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