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Today´s positive/magic song is Alanis Morissette´s “Hand in My Pocket” from her 1995 international debut album ”Jagged Little Pill”. The song was the second single from the album and received substantial success through radio airplay in the US. The album “Jagged Little Pill” topped the charts in thirteen countries; with sales of over 33 million copies worldwide, it is one of the best-selling albums of all time and made Morissette the first Canadian to achieve double diamond sales. “Jagged Little Pill” was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, winning five, including Album of the Year, making Morissette the youngest artist in history to win the honor, a record she held until 2010, when Taylor Swift won this prize with Fearless (2008). Rolling Stone ranked “Jagged Little Pill” number 327 on its 2003 list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”. #CoronaBeGoneYouBastard #DayTen

I have finally red Tom Rob Smith´s trilogy “Child 44”, “The Secret Speech” and “Agent 6” about the Russian security officer Leo Demidov from his rise to his fall. The first book “Child 44” has the below synopsis:

“Stalin’s Soviet Union is an official paradise, where citizens live free from crime and fear only one thing: the all-powerful state. Defending this system is idealistic security officer Leo Demidov, a war hero who believes in the iron fist of the law. But when a murderer starts to kill at will and Leo dares to investigate, the State’s obedient servant finds himself demoted and exiled. Now, with only his wife at his side, Leo must fight to uncover shocking truths about a killer — and a country — where “crime” doesn’t exist.”

And I loved “Child 44”  with the setting in Stalin´s Russia, the storyline, the characters and the twists and turns. A great read to me. But, the follow up books “The Secret Speech” and “Agent 6” are not even close to the first one and the character Leo Demidov becomes something of a shadow character  you care less and less about. “Child 44” was named one of the top 100 thrillers of all time by NPR and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and eventually it became a film in 2015 that had some qualities, but hardly reached the quality of the book. Read “Child 44”, that´s a truly good one, but the rest is not all that intriguing.

In the aftermath of the American Civil War, two rebel Texans are fleeing toward the Mexican border in a wagon, having made off with a huge sum of money stolen from the United States government. Just before reaching the safety of foreign soil they are intercepted by a U.S. army patrol. As the mounted soldiers close in, the men draw cards to decide who will stay on the wagon and draw the pursuit, and who will jump off with the loot and escape, keeping the other man’s share safe until he can claim it. Ken Seagull (Nando Gazzolo) wins the draw, jumps off and successfully hides. Jerry Brewster (Thomas Hunter) crashes the wagon, is apprehended by the troopers, and is sent to a military prison. Five years later, Brewster is released and returns home to reunite with his wife and son. He finds his house deserted and in ruins, but discovers his wife’s journal, which tells him that Seagull not only gave her no aid, but told her nothing of the money or the fact that her husband was alive. Maddened by the betrayal, the unarmed Brewster immediately finds himself under gunfire: Seagull has learned of his release and sent men to get him out of the way once and for all. Running into the barn for cover, Brewster finds a mysterious stranger (Dan Duryea) who throws him a weapon with which Brewster kills his attackers. His benefactor, who introduces himself as Winnie Getz, offers to tell Seagull that, while Brewster killed the hired gunmen, Getz himself finished their job and killed their target. The seemingly homeless Getz says he hopes to parlay that false intelligence into a steady job with Seagull. Getz goes on ahead, while Brewster (now using the name Jim Houston) follows on his quest for vengeance. Brewster soon learns that Seagull, now known as Ken Milton, has used his wealth to acquire a ranch and the services of vicious killer Garcia Mendez (Henry Silva), with whose help he has expanded his holdings by terrorizing other landowners. Brewster also learns that Seagull killed his wife, but finds his young son alive and living nearby as an orphan. The man called Houston gets a job with Mendez (while managing to stay out of sight of his employer “Milton”) and, with Getz’s help, proceeds to play a double game wherein he rides with Mendez and his killers, but secretly aids their intended victims…

“The Hills Run Red” (Un Fiume di dollari) is one of the earliest spaghetti westerns made after the Eastwood/Leone Italian western boom, in 1967 and directed by Carlo Lizzani. And it´s so apparent that Lizzani casted Thomas Hunter in the lead because he carries a resemblance to Clint Eastwood. He even seems to try to talk like Clint Eastwood in certain scenes. There´s some nicely shots scenes, but the revenge story carries nothing new and “The Hills Run Red” just becomes a poor poor mans Leone/Eastwood spaghetti Western copy. And I always had a slight issue with the dubbing in movies like this. The only upside is the always outstanding Henry Silva as Mendez and Ennio Morricone´s (using the pseudonym “Leo Nichols”) great score. (2 out of 5)

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Great game from Belgium against Panama! #FIFAWorldCup2018 #Belgium

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Had the opportunity to see Punchdrunk´s “Sleep No More” promenade theatre/immersive theatre play in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood in New York. The play is primarily based on William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, with inspiration also taken from noir films, as well as some reference to the 1697 Paisley witch trials. “Sleep No More” is deprived of nearly all spoken dialogue and set primarily in a dimly-lit, 1930s-era establishment called the “McKittrick Hotel”. The audience may move through the settings, interact with the props, or observe the actors at their own pace, their interference has no bearing on the story or the performers except in rare instances. “Sleep No More” won the 2011 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience and won Punchdrunk special citations at the 2011 Obie Awards for design and choreography. I can only say I have never seen anything like it before. The general feeling under and after the show was, wtf is happening/just happened?….

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The one man blues rock n roll band Bror Gunnar Jansson. Fantastic.

Very well written.

https://thefirsttenwords.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/its-not-what-you-think/

chriscornell

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