Sunday, February 10, 2008

Michael Caine; Greg Shepard; Whitney Houston; Donald E. Westlake

So all those episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry keeps interviewing insane chefs are true?

Michael Caine on being in the restaurant business (from Cinema Rettro):

It's not as if Caine needs the money. He is a very wealthy man, largely because he once owned three hugely successful restaurants. "I sold them all 10 years ago. I found that chefs were more annoying than bloody movie stars. They're so temperamental. You can't say anything to them. And I picked all the nutcases, I did. So I got out. Someone offered me a fortune and I left."

A hardboiled guy gets soft-boiled: Greg Shepard, publisher of noir and hardboiled Stark House, e mailed me:

Just read your blog entry for Ms. Whitney. The very first mysteries I ever read were Phyllis A. Whitney mysteries, as published by Scholastic Books. First read them in junior high. I loved those books. Wish I could remember more than a few titles: Mystery of the Disappearing Cat, Mystery of the Isle of Skye. I may not even have those right. But I do remember loving those books, so rich in characterization, and always filled with great mysteries. Phyllis A. Whitney will be missed by many, but I miss her just because she was the very first writer to introduce me to the wonderful world of mysteries.

She's Back

I've never been a big Whitney Houston fan (beautiful woman but not an interesting singer) but it's nice to see her come back. This is from Roger Freidman's column:

What a difference a year makes!

At last year’s Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy gala, Whitney Houston barely left her seat and didn’t even rise to meet Al Gore. She was tentative and fragile.

But last night at the Beverly Hilton, it was a fully restored, fun-loving Whitney who moved around the ballroom with grace. She spent a chunk of the evening away from her table with Davis’ family and hung out with Alicia Keys’ gang, including collaborator Kerry “Krucial” Brothers and manager Jeff Robinson down near the stage.

“Write some good things about me,” Whitney said, and we talked about her upcoming album. She’s healthy and focused and clearly engaged. She watched clips on the video screens of her past performances at Davis extravaganzas, I thought, with a little yearning. Maybe next year, she’ll be back up there.

Some quotes from Donald E. Westlake from Brainyquotes:

I don't do anything about maintaining quality, I just try to tell a story in such a way as to interest myself. I leave questions of quality to others.

I don't know that any one book was of larger than normal significance in my career. My method has been more like water torture, one drop at a time.

I find characters who are at cross-purposes with society, or opposed to society in some way, interesting because they are by definition the underdogs.

I had an idea for a multiple robbery story that I thought would be ideal for Parker because it would irritate him so.

I loved it, but social reality impeded. Now I wander in here at 9 in the morning or so, and come back for a while in the afternoon. I am a very lenient boss.


Anonymous said...

I'm told that Lenny Henry's 1980s UK sitcom CHEF! was no exaggeration. Whitney Houston has always struck me as an Elvis, only moreso...talent, looks, but no guided sense of taste, and messed over by pharmaceuticals before she figured out what was actually worth doing. Westlake's inherent libertarianism was, I think, an early nudge for me, as I kept coming across "The Winner" as a kid...and I read some YA PA Whitney back when, too. Mike Ashley notes she started publishing, iirc, in the 1920s in the pulps...

Peter Rozovsky said...

Westlake has produced a pretty damned large flood for someone who writes one drop at a time.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"