August 29, 2010
August 25, 2010
We've finally launched the official website for Yuki 7 and the Gadget Girls! There's some pretty neat stuff to see on there, like this awesome Yuki 7 sculpture by Damon Bard! There's also an official Yuki 7 Shop now, which has some awesome new items like this set of Gadget Girl mini prints. And also this new print of Yuki sleeping in her stylish bachelorette pad. Yuki even has her very own Twitter account now so you can keep up with her exciting life of espionage and couture fashion!
August 24, 2010
August 21, 2010
Hi everyone, some good news. Free Country is reviewed in today's Guardian, which says: 'With its subtly deployed late-60s detail, Free Country is a treat for fans of traditional Len Deighton-style spy thrillers.' The rest is here. (It's not every day you get outed in the press as a lover of Roger Moore Bond films, but I should just say that I prefer the Connery ones!)
I was interviewed at the Harrogate festival by the website Unbound, and you can read that here. The audio of the interview is here. I've also taken part in a 'virtual panel' discussing the spy thriller with authors JJ Cooper and Adrian Magson at Permission To Kill, which can be read here.
Finally, Amazon is launching its Kindle e-reader in the UK this month. Free Agent and Free Country are both available to buy for it. [also available on Kindle at Amazon US here].
Congratulations to Jeremy! Read his list of top-10 historical spy gadgets here. You can also check out his top-5 list of fave set designs on Spy Vibe here.
August 19, 2010
August 17, 2010
Los Angeles – Dark Horse Records announced today the October 19th release of a limited edition deluxe box set, entitled RAVI SHANKAR GEORGE HARRISON COLLABORATIONS. The release honors the sitar master’s 90th birthday.
Collaborations is a 3 CD and 1 DVD uniquely numbered limited edition box set. All compositions were composed by Ravi Shankar and produced by George Harrison over a period of 20 years.
The DVD is a rare concert performance of the Ravi Shankar’s Music Festival From India recorded at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1974. The albums include the acclaimed Chants Of India (1997), The Ravi Shankar Music Festival From India (studio version 1976) and Shankar Family & Friends (1974). The 56-page book includes a foreword by Philip Glass, a history of George and Ravi “in their own words” and rare photographs from both family archives.
- The personal and musical friendship between Ravi Shankar and George Harrison has been known and well documented for decades now. It was a friendship that was powerful enough to make an impact on the large, musical life of the late nineteen sixties and it reverberates, as clearly, even today. – from the Foreword by Philip Glass
In 1973 George Harrison signed Ravi Shankar to his Dark Horse Records label. The first joint recording project between George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, Shankar Family & Friends brought together renown Indian classical musicians such as Ustad Alla Rakha, Lakshmi Shankar, and Shivkumar Sharma alongside Western jazz and rock musicians including George, Ringo Starr, Tom Scott, Klaus Voormann, Jim Keltner and Billy Preston. One half of the album comprises instrumentals and songs, while the second half is a thematic ballet to a yet un-staged performance.
Ravi Shankar’s Music Festival From India (live from the Royal Albert Hall) was the first artistic event organized and sponsored by George Harrison’s Material World Charitable Foundation; bringing together a 17-piece Indian classical ensemble as well as a solo sitar performance by Ravi Shankar accompanied on tabla by Alla Rakha.
In 1997 George Harrison and Ravi Shankar again collaborated on an album. This time Ravi created music for ancient Sanskrit chants with the challenge of maintaining the authenticity of the ancient verses. Released in 1997, Chants Of India are timeless, Vedic verses chanted for the well being of man and mankind.
Collaborations, is available on Dark Horse Records and distributed worldwide by Rhino Entertainment.Spy Vibe Bonus
And now for something completely different! Lord Sitar is known for some very groovy sitar covers of 60s pop tunes. Although he made a number of Beatles covers, this version of I Can See For Miles by Mod-faves, The Who, has always stood out for me. I may have to post more of his stuff. What 1960s pop or soundtrack music would you like to hear Sitar-ized?
August 13, 2010
August 11, 2010
Apple Corps will reissue remastered versions of the Red (1962-1966) and Blue (1967-1970) albums in October. The albums, originally released in 1973, will both be 2 CD packages with an expanded booklet featuring the original liner notes, rare photos and newly written essays. EMI will release the albums on October 15.
In related news, my experimental film for Yoko Ono (soundtrack by me and Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band), will be screening at the bwac gallery in Brooklyn, NY this Saturday afternoon at 3:00pm.
August 6, 2010
August 5, 2010
If you have not explored Britton's work, pick up these other essentials: Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film and Spy Television. Scholarly and fun, Britton's books are available in both print and Kindle editions, and are must-reads for all Spy Vibers.
August 4, 2010
August 3, 2010
From Dean at Cinema Retro: Besides being must-see TV in the States, the series also proved a hit in Germany, where it debuted on November 18, 1969 under the title Ihr Auftritt, Al Mundy! (Rough translation: Your Appearance, Al Mundy!) One of the reasons for its popularity there was due to the dubbing, which made the lines funnier than they were actually written. This lighter approach was also reflected in some of the episode titles. “A Thief is a Thief” was Germanized to “A Chance for the Playboy,” and “A Spot of Trouble” became “More Champagne for the Ladies.” Read Dean's announcement with full details on Cinema Retro here.
From Russia With Love is my favorite novel. 1) The best developed characters on all sides of the equation; 2) while a tad convoluted, the most suspenseful plot of the series; 3) so many memorable scenes including the reading of Bond's dossier in Moscow, Tatania meeting Klebb, the battle with Grant, the final moments when 007 might be dead. No wonder it was made into one of the very best films where Brocolli, Saltzman, Young, Shaw, Lenya, Barry and a fella named Connery really breathed life into Fleming's vision. The only real literary competitor might be OHMSS, and, once again, that made for a great film. -Wes Britton
My favorite Fleming piece is "The Living Daylights." As an adolescent in the early 1970s, I was just beginning to find the Bonds and know their history. I knew that Fleming had died in 1964 after writing "TMWTGG," but was unaware of the book of stories that came after. When I found that book, it was like a really terrific present. I savored each page, especially "TLD," in which Bond must clean up afer a colleague. It is a different kind of Bond tale, with Bond trying to do the right thing but finding himself unable to. It is simple, elegant writing. - Rodney Richey
My favorite Bond book is a tie between From Russia with Love and On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The first because it is such a great espionage story - spies versus spies with each side trying to outwit the other in the cold war chess game. The later because it allows Bond to be so very human and its ending rises to the level of true tragedy. So much so that it required Fleming to write two more books dealing with the devastating aftermath. - Bill Creed
I've yet to read all of the James Bond novels/short stories but as of right now, I'm a huge fan of John Gardner and therefore my favorite is 'For Special Services' (1982). Not only do I love the return of SPECTRE but I love how Gardner gave Felix Leiter a CIA agent daughter named Cedar to assist Bond. I own and operate FelixLeiter.com so obviously I have much passion for the Leiter character and by creating a daughter for him, I could tell that Gardner also had much respect for the character and I appreciate that. -Chris Wright
August 2, 2010
August 1, 2010
From Amazon: Sky people, that's what we are, Yoko Ono sang, in the 1985 song "Sky People"; "One day we'll fly and leap through the sky/To look for a good land hand in hand." Now, through the auspices of Ecstatic Peace Library, Yoko Ono has fulfilled these words and devised a book to fly in her stead. Published as a limited edition, Fly Me is a handbound book that unfolds to become a kite featuring seven pages of individual messages or instructions composed by Ono. These messages are designed to be read by all, in the sky on a windy day. You simply unfold the page you wish to fly and attach the paper to the bamboo frame included to construct a massive (30 x 36 inch) diamond-shaped kite. Including such characteristic Ono advice as "Imagine Peace" and "Fly," these messages are printed with soy-based inks on 100% recycled paper. The kite frame itself is made of hand-carved oak from a sustainable forest in New York state. A marvelous addition to Ono's already classic oeuvre of innovative bookmaking, Fly Me is published in a limited edition of 2,500 copies, and is without doubt an instant collector's gem.
From Glenn Erickson's review at DVD Talk: "The main lab set is a brilliant hanging miniature that rivals the work of 007 designer Ken Adam -- and was seemingly copied for the headquarters of Drax in the Bond film Moonraker. Lourié's deep sea submersible is a riot of colorful bubbles, and nobody ever forgets his volcano interior scene." That's enough for me- definitely going on my Netflix queue!