Great Central Railway Loughborough Leicestershire 8th February 2014 by loose_grip_99 Via Flickr: I had the good fortune to be rostered on British Railways Standard 9F 2-1-0 92214 today. We signed on at 05.30 and this was the state of play at just before 8am.
Hey, podcast people. Are you looking for the next audio drama to fall in love with? Are you a fan of weird but heartfelt stories? Do you have an inexplicable passion for public transit? Are you listening to Greater Boston yet? Do you like
stories with unique and unusual premises?
audio dramas that use the medium of sound to their advantage in creative ways?
innovation in terms of format and storytelling that is so clever and well-crafted and fun that it fills my little writer’s heart with joy every episode?
mild surreality and “weird fiction”?
(or just regional gothic memes?)
slice-of-life stories that still build a great central plot?
mysterious messages from tuna-eating corporate executives?
ensemble casts of incredibly well-developed characters with their own unique arcs and motivations as well as complex and interesting interpersonal relationships?
Then this could be the podcast for you! You’ll laugh! You’ll cry! You’ll probably get way too attached to a dead guy’s Google Calendar! Seriously, try Greater Boston! It’s an amazing show that’s not receiving anywhere near enough love around here and it deserves more attention.
Do we have any pictures or any hints of what Laurens's childhood home looked like?
John’s first home was located in St. Michael’s Alley (south of
Broad Street in Charleston, SC). I haven’t
come across any descriptions of this home other than this description of the
By the time little Martha arrived in 1759, if not long before,
an imported cradle was a central fixture in the parental bedroom, which was
also equipped with necessaries such as a candle stand, a warming pan, and a
bedpan passed along from grandfather Laurens.
Because Henry and his wife, Eleanor, anticipated extensive use for that
nursery item, the cradle was probably one that rocked, featuring a ‘gauze
pavilion’ with turned posts at its four corners to support mosquito netting.
(The Life and Times of Martha Laurens Ramsay)
In June 1762, Henry Laurens purchased Mepkin plantation and then
bought land in Ansonborough, SC about three months later. The
Ansonborough property was on the outskirts of Charleston whereas Mepkin was
about 30 miles out. Ansonborough appears
to have been the main residence at this time while Mepkin may have been used
moreso in the summer months (particularly to escape the diseases in the
city). The home in Ansonborough had “its
own wharf and creek, four acres that included a green called Laurens Square,
and [was] bounded by Pitt, East Bay, Centurion, and Anson Streets” (The Life and Times of Martha Laurens Ramsay).
Here’s a pretty thorough description of the Ansonborough
property, provided in The Life and Times of Martha Laurens Ramsay:
Papa Henry’s pleasure in the new house glowed in his
letters. “Mahogany is the thing by all
means for your Stair case. You would
agree in opinion with me if you saw mine.”
Though the darker wood was costly, “in time it becomes abundantly
cheaper as it is firm, durable, and gains beauty whether you will or not, with
age, whereas Cedar is brittle, splintery and without an excess of rubbing and
waxing fades and loses its colour in a very few years.” He enjoyed careful oversight of every
step. “Cypress is the best and cheapest
wood for wainscot, but your [English] oak in my judgment is infinitely
preferable. I have painted one room in
my house Wainscoat color and pattern upon a coat of brown Plaister. It stands very well and is much admired.” His used of the magisterial “I” meant, of
course, that he supervised the task, not actually performed it.
Henry Laurens wanted their new home on East Bay Street to be
“worthy…to be occupied by a merchant,” to reflect his cosmopolitan
horizons. Spacious, roomy, and open
rather than ornate, and somewhat unimaginative externally, the house was a “plain
barn-like building” of brick, almost “square to the winds,” 38 and ½ ft. x 60 ½
in ornamentation or iron grillwork but in acreage and gardens, “with a wall all
upon the front of my garden [Wall Street].”
Henry had purchased a “Mulatto” slave bricklayer, Samuel, that spring
especially to create elegant garden paths around the house. One feature visible from those bricked walks
was a jerkin-head roof—a
hipped roof cutting flat angles at the corners of the house.
Inside, the house from cellar to roof featured heavy-hewn
timbers. Two floors had four large rooms
each, downstairs and upstairs, plus several small “apartments”—rooms topped by a “spacious
attic” with room for wine storage in the hipped-roof corners. Near the front door was a small hallway, “little
more than a vestibule” on the south side of the structure, and a stairway on
the left led to the upper story while a door on the right opened into the
library. (Surprisingly, Henry Laurens
had omitted the wide central hall great Charles Town houses usually featured in
hopes of luring every possible breeze.)
But the library was a huge room (18’ 8” x 17’ 2”) with two hundred
running feet of shelves, and the books were protected by beautiful decorative
glass doors embossed with geometric shapes—octagons, squares, and triangles. Behind the library was an equally hospitable
dining room (17 ½’ x 17 ½’) with a paneled ten-foot-wide chimney all the way to
the ceiling. Immediately above, on the
second floor, was the same size ballroom.
Some of the fireplace mantels were marble, others elegantly carved wood—all in the highest tone
of simplicity and dignity. The mantels
were undoubtedly imported from England, like the ones Henry had ordered for the
house of his neighbor Charles Pinckney.
The dining room, with fancy mirrors and a very large “chimney
glass,” boasted sconces on the wall, handsome pewter serving dishes, silver
tureens, a brass warming pan, and a tinned Japanned waiter—to say nothing of
elegant china for entertaining (family meals were served on earthenware). Martha’s father knew his merchandise: he
ordered mirrors “truly elegant and worthy of a place in a Dining Room occupied
by a merchant.” But he returned the first ones: “their fault was their
fineness. They are too fine, I will
rather say too large for my dining room.”
Unfortunately, in the shipping from England to Charles Town, faulty
packing had damaged some of the gilded ornamentation and scraped some of the “Quick
Silvering.” “The packer or workman ought
really to be answerable,” he demanded.
Upstairs in the drawing room, a harpsichord for Martha’s arpeggios and
sonatinas held a place of honor, flanked by elbow chairs, a card table, a tea
table, settees, and portraits. To
five-year-old Martha, the new home was a palace.
Since the locale and climate of Charles Town allowed a
twice-yearly harvest, vegetables and many exotic trees—peach, apricot, mulberry, walnut, chestnut, fig,
bitter orange, and pomegranate—flourished.
British gardener John Watson was employed to cultivate the new Laurens
acres into a charming botanical cornucopia.
Henry and Eleanor wanted the kind of beautifully laid out English garden
that was rare in the colonies, a display of the useful and ornamental plants
that Carolina produced or that Henry could import. In that sense, landscaping was a more overt
statement of the Laurenses’ affluence and sophistication than the house
itself. Neighbors like Eliza Pinckney,
who also prided herself on gardening, noted that “only 2 squares from her
house, the rich merchant HL was filling his extensive grounds with every rare
plant and shrub his numerous connections enabled him to collect.” Little sisters Nelly and Patsy and their
numerous cousins could fashion snapdragon dolls and chant the evocative flower
names “foxglove,” “sweet alyssum,” and “periwinkle” as their mother instructed.
Philadelphia garden historian John Bartram, named royal
botanist by the king in 1756, came for a visit the year after the Laurenses moved
in. He noted a remarkable “grape vine 7
inches in circumference” at the new home of “Col Laurance [sic] in Charles
Town.” It “bore 216 clusters of grapes,
one almost 11 in. long and over 16” in circumference, the grapes large “and as
close set in the bunch as they could possibly grow.” In addition, he admired “a fine young olive
tree 15 ft. high, luxuriant.” By
contrast with this luxuriant green, Charleston streets were deep and dusty at a
child’s eye level. Laid out in regular,
unpaved, and widely spaced design to allow breezes to reach the building from
all sides, the soft sand made its choking way into noses and eyelids. Narrow paths at each side would one day
become sidewalks, but not yet.
The following are some paintings of Mepkin
as done by Charles Fraser in Charleston Sketchbook, 1796-1806 (descriptions also from said book):
“Mepkin, the Seat of Henry Laurens, Esq.”
Mepkin was among the several tracts of land granted at the
very commencement of the Colony to the three sons of Sir John Colleton, one of
the eight Lords Proprietors. It comprised
3,000 acres and lay nearly opposite Mepshew (now Pimlico), another grant of the
John Colleton of the County of Middlesex, England, sold
Mepkin in 1762 to Henry Laurens. Vital
affairs of the Colony, of the Revolution, and of the new state, all had a
hearing there. After the destruction of
the house during the Revolution Henry Laurens built the one that is shown in
the sketch, and in which Henry Laurens, Jr., was living. As the latter had married a daughter of John
Rutledge, Fraser was again among relatives, seeing familiarly a scene where
history was made.
“Another View of Mepkin, May, 1803″
“A View on Mepkin”
The Avenue at Mepkin leads from the road along wooded
ravines to the bluff close by the river, overlooking the rice-fields and the
winding stream. There stood the house of
Henry Laurens. Mepkin had great natural
beauties, and throughout his life Henry Laurens had added to these by
continuous attention to the possibilities of agriculture in South Carolina.
The following is “The House of Henry Laurens (1763-1914)”, a
pencil drawing done by Alice R. H. Smith in 1911:
None of the buildings remain standing today, but you can
visit the streets where the St. Michael’s Alley and Ansonborough properties
once stood in Charleston, SC, and you can visit Mepkin Abbey (previously Mepkin Plantation) in Moncks Corner, SC.
There are lot of cool photos and meta regarding the house that Nate and Elena live in at the end of the game, but what about unnecessary information about their residence in New Orleans?
We don’t know much about the way that Nate and Elena interact with the environment in which they live, in the sense that we’re not getting flashbacks to walking down Bourbon Street and immediately regretting walking down Bourbon Street, no one should ever walk down Bourbon Street or anything, but we do have context both in the environment of Nate’s workplace at Jameson Marine down by the Mississippi River warehouses, and in the buildings surrounding the Drake-Fisher residence in New Orleans proper.
I return from my last architectural analysis of the orphanage/Boston setting to talk to you about bridges, preservation ordinance, and THE SHOTGUN HOUSE.
(This is about to get really image-heavy.)
I’ll preface all this by saying that nowhere in New Orleans is there a truss bridge that looks like something between a Parker truss, a Pratt truss, and a Camelback truss, but fine, Naughty Dog, I’ll accept your bridge discrepancies. (I have outlined the truss shape in little red lines so it’s easier to discern. For you bridge-lovers. I KNOW YOU’RE OUT THERE.)
The layout of Nate and Elena’s house is pretty simple: a rectangle, with smaller rectangles inside of it. It’s small but comfortable, with an insulated attic space originally intended for storage and relatively tall ceilings. The latter is a hallmark of many Southern houses built before the advent of air conditioning, because heat rises and you can’t sit around sweating all damn day. Seriously. These ceilings are tall.
For convenience I’ve provided a basic plan layout I mocked up in AutoCAD, aka Satan’s Architecture Program, of the first, second, and attic floors, respectively. For those unfamiliar with reading floor plans, thinner lines at the border walls represent window openings, of which there are very few. This is not uncommon for shotgun houses, which I will talk about…now.
The shotgun house is awesome. It’s a piece of Southern vernacular architecture that has become synonymous with Creole culture the closer you get to the Equator while wandering away from the Mason-Dixon line, and was the most popular style of housing from the end of the American Civil War through the 1920s. Traditionally, the shotgun house is a narrow residence that is basically one long, skinny rectangle, with rooms arranged one after the other in a line. The only hallway, which provides access to each room, starts at the front door and runs all the way out the back door.
Here are a couple great examples!
There are some academic arguments about the origins of the name: I always heard it was called a “shotgun” because you could feasibly shoot through one door and out the other without hitting anything because there are no doors between the other rooms. Other scholars have suggested that “shotgun” is actually an Anglicized interpretation of “to-gun,” a Dahomey Fon term meaning “place of assembly,” thereby tying its roots to the housing of Afro-Haitian peoples. Blacks have historically outnumbered whites in New Orleans and it is entirely possible that they brought their housing arrangement traditions with them.
Shotgun houses can also come in two-story versions, or “camelback” versions, the latter of which basically adds a second story to the rear of the house, thus giving it a “hump.”
Anyway. ONTO THE ACTUAL GAME SCREENCAPS. Let’s start at the top, and work our way down!
The A-Frame gable (that triangle shape) of the attic space is pretty typical of two-story shotguns, as well as the window set into the gable, an element which can be seen in every shotgun gable photograph prior to this section. The window in their house is an oculus, or “eye” window, pretty popular during the Victorian period of building. The window is partly decoration, because a flat facade is incredibly boring visually, and partly for ventilation, though less so with air conditioning. Based on the insulation tacked between the ceiling joists and around the oculus (but the lack of visible ventilation duct work), this space is at least mildly cooler than the outside, which honestly isn’t saying much if you’ve ever been to New Orleans in the summer. I don’t know how Nate is wearing long sleeves up here and not sweating bullets.
Down on the official second floor, we get a good look at the fenestration arrangements (window shapes, sizes) and also the outside! Which gives us really great environmental context.
Behold! A classic New Orleans gallery house, complete with side-door, flanking lanterns, narrow columns and chimney, and those tall-ass windows. But how do you access the second-floor porch? The tall-ass window is your door! It’s also used to circulate air by pushing the lower sash up to the middle, and the upper sash down to the middle, letting the hot air out and the cool air in.
You’ll notice that the difference between the two-story shotgun and the gallery house is that even if the two-story shotgun has a second floor porch - which they often do not - columns do not run from floor to ceiling on the second level.
Outside the Drake-Fisher master bedroom window, you can pick up elements of New Orleans vernacular styles on the other buildings in the neighborhood.
The windows in their house on the second floor on the front and rear of the house are probably not original to the building, probably replaced before or during the rehab process, because they are of a style not indicative of the area: a wide central pane of glass flanked by two smaller, movable sashes. This style looks a lot like the windows of the Chicago style school of architecture, popularized in the early 1900s (below).
Based on the views available from every conceivable angle in both the master bedroom at the rear of the house, and Elena’s office at the front of the house, they live at the corner of two streets in a historic neighborhood.
Now to the first floor door! A great Central Door Look ™ is the kind that incorporates sidelights (those little stacked windows flanking either side of the door) with a strong Classical lintel over the door itself. Crown molding on the ceiling. Hardwood floors. Nice. Doors in most shotguns typically do not have sidelights (as they take up space) unless the door itself is centered.
Also literally no one but me cares about this but they have an antique door knob fixture and that’s cute! Older knobs were much smaller with slim, narrow plates.
Based on the central placement of their door and its door surround/sidelights, as well as the placement of the stair on one side of the house, it’s a pretty safe assumption to make that they live in a shotgun. BUT ALEX, you cry, WHERE’S THAT ONE LONG HALLWAY AND THOSE SUBSEQUENT ROOMS? I’m super glad you asked, because it’s also not at all uncommon for shotgun houses to have their interiors gutted and rehabilitated to better suit modern needs! This is especially prevalent in New Orleans, where the majority of their historic preservation ordinances apply to the exterior of a building, rather than the interior!
This ordinance is most heavily used in the French Quarter, where you can subdivide and alter the interior of historic building to your hearts content, provided you maintain the exterior’s character-defining features (trim, paint color, cast-iron balconies, et cetera), but is also often applied to the houses in New Orleans’ other historic neighborhoods.
I hope this was edifying and/or interesting for anyone who is not historic preservation-inclined, but as a preservation specialist I was really delighted to see the amount of detail put into a space so small!!!
The fabled Empire of Wrestlemania. It is a mysterious land, one
filled with great magic, great mysteries, and great evils. The Empire is
ruled over by the great and powerful Emperor Vince McMahon, who lives
in his great palace in Empire Central. The Capital City is located along
the top edge of Lake Armbar, and it truly is the center of all.
Empire is divided into eleven regions, each exhibiting its own traits
and each ruled over by its own local King or Queen. All the Kings and
Queens, however, answer to the Emperor. The borders are rarely disputed
by the Kings and Queens, and in many cases, the Empire’s natural biomes
and rivers form borders of their own.
Empire Minora is,
in essence, a suburb of Empire Central. Being as close as it is to the
Capital City, the majority of people in Empire Minora exhibit traits
similar to those of the people in Empire Central. They dress similarly,
have similar habits and values, and tend to lead very similar
lifestyles. Empire Minora is ruled over by the powerful King John. He is
well-loved by many of his people, and he is fiercely loyal to the
Empire; King John would defend the Empire’s great leader with his life.
The Demon Kingdom is
a bleak and desolate land. Once the battleground for many great wars,
the earth is still barren and scarred from these great battles. Nothing
can grow in the Demon Kingdom, and so, few choose to live there -
furthermore, the peninsula in the South of the Demon Kingdom is the home
to the Empire’s only known active volcano. At the base of the volcano
sits the City of Hell, ruled over by its mighty King, known only as The
Undertaker. He is a dark and grim man, loyal to nothing and nobody save
for the Emperor himself. However, it is widely believed that The
Undertaker is aging, and with no heirs groomed to take his place, will
soon have to name his successor.
The Wooded Kingdom is, as
it sounds, a thickly forested region of the Empire. It is ruled by King
Bray, along with the help of his close-knit family. They are a dark and
mysterious bunch, tending to keep to themselves in their far-flung
corner of the woods and emerging only when their duties call. There are
no real towns in the Wooded Kingdom; only villages and hamlets
containing small settlements of people. Along the Wooded Kingdom’s
border with the Demon Kingdom sits the legendary Lair of the Beast, a
feared place rumored to contain more treasure than one can imagine, but
guarded by a fearsome Beast.
The Wolf Kingdom is the snowy,
forested region in the North-West of the Empire. Up until recently, it
was known as the Kingdom of Legends, and was ruled by the great King
Hulk. He, like King John of Empire Minora, was well-loved by his people,
but after a great secret of his was made public to the people of the
Empire, Emperor Vince was forced to banish him. A new King had to be
appointed, and after a great search, Vince made a surprising choice,
naming a young and little-known man called Baron Corbin as King. Many
question the new King Baron’s motives, but are too frightened of him to
The Kingdom of Adrianev is another Kingdom that
recently changed hands, and names. An island off the coast of the Wolf
Kingdom, the Kingdom of Adrianev used to be known as the Kingdom of
Dreams. Ruled by the beloved and influential King Dusty, the Kingdom of
Dreams was almost like a second Empire Minora - an extension of the
Empire itself, and pivotal in shaping the Empire into what it is today.
Unfortunately, the dear King passed on, and one of King Dusty’s many
protegés was named King. King Neville is not much like his predecessor,
though, and many fear that he intends to take the newly-named Kingdom of
Adrianev in a new, undesirable direction.
The Kingdom of Gold is
located to the North of Empire Central. A cool, hilly region of the
Empire, the Kingdom of Gold is ruled by three Kings, brothers - King
Seth, King Roman, and King Dean. The Kingdom of Gold used to be ruled in
perfect harmony by these three, but a few years back, they seemed to
have a falling out. Many whispered that King Seth had betrayed his
brothers, but none know the truth. All that is known is that tensions
run high in the Kingdom of Gold, and many fear that the Emperor will be
forced to intervene, whether to name a sole King or to draw new borders.
The Stone Kingdom is
a chilly, mountainous region to the North. It is ruled by the powerful
King Rock, who is known throughout the Kingdom as a king, charismatic,
and strong man. He is also the cousin of King Roman of the Kingdom of
Gold. Though his Kingdom is not much more than a handful of settlements
scattered throughout the mountains, he takes his role as King quite
seriously and does all in his power to ensure that his people are fed,
sheltered, and happy.
Three Isle Kingdom consists of
three islands off the coast of the Stone Kingdom and the Outlands. It is
ruled by King Hunter and Queen Stephanie with an iron fist. Queen
Stephanie is, in fact, the daughter of the Emperor himself, so some
regard Three Isle Kingdom as one of the most powerful Kingdoms in the
Empire. The King and Queen are considered heartless and tyrannical by
their people, who remain placated only to avoid the wrath of their
Flair Kingdom Queendom is a
small Kingdom settled between the Outlands and Empire Central. It was
recently created out of land originally belonging to Empire Central, and
its creation was intended as a means of protecting the Capital City
from any potential attacks coming from the Outlands. Originally placed
under control of the Emperor’s trusted ally Ric Flair, King Ric’s
daughter Charlotte convinced her father to hand his power over to her.
Queen Charlotte, though cold and heartless, was also smart in doing so,
because she is believed to be the only one in the Empire who could
possibly defeat the leader of the rebellion in the Outlands - the
mysterious Empress of tomorrow.
The Outlands are a harsh
and unforgiving place where the banished go to die. Unprotected by the
laws of the Empire and the Emperor’s iron rule, anything goes, and it is
considered a dog-eat-dog world. Bandits and thieves run wild, murderers
go uncaught, and those considered traitors to the Empire are cast out
to fend for themselves. In recent years, though, those cast out have
begun to work together, forming the rebellion. Rebel numbers continue to
grow and gain traction, and some have even left their comfortable lives
in the Empire to join their forces, believing that the Emperor is cold
and corrupt, and that only by overthrowing him can the Empire become the
utopia that many believe it can be.
Prompt- “The reader is Cisco’s cousin and at some point both Team Flash and the Rogues find out that she is in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend ( overly possessive, hits her, etc). This would really anger Len and he takes care of the situation, fluffy at the end between him and reader (gentle peck on the lips). Please and thank you! 💜❄💜❄💜” -@buckyslittlekitten
If you are new to crystals and are interested in collecting some pieces, here are some things you should know!
You will learn about trademarked stones, dyed stones, man-made stones, and more!
A good stone for prosperity, it is often recommended for beginners who don’t know where to start; however, the more vibrant the color, the more it isn’t actually citrine!
Many vibrant colors of citrine are actually heated amethyst. Natural citrine should be a pale yellow like below.
Some people feel that heated amethyst still works like a natural citrine. Others feel that its not the same. Whether or not you choose to invest in it is your choice, just be aware.
A stone that can change colors in different kinds of light or create a blue glow against a dark background, it is very beautiful, but its just
man-made glass. Some people feel that opalite still contains healing properties. You must decide that for yourself.
Is it natural or lab created? Well, its both!
Bismuth occurs naturally in nature; however, not as the picture above. Nature does not provide the necessary environment for it to form this way, thus the lab creates this environment to achieve the final product. Again, despite the interference of humans, some feel it still bares healing properties. You must decide for yourself.
Goldstone, coming in a variety of colors including blue and green, glimmers in the light. This stone is man-made however. Goldstone is a type of glimmering glass made in a low oxygen-reducing atmosphere. Again, some claim is this has healing properties. You must be the judge.
This is simply man-made glass.
Well, no, not all smoky quartz. If you see a smoky the appear to be so dark it is black, chances are it was irradiated to darken the color. But! There are some exceptions. Morion smoky quartz is naturally dark and very rare.
These stones have an unusually vibrant, saturated color! Once you are familiar with the more toned down and grounded versions, these will stick out like a sore thumb. Commonly dyed stones are agates, quartz, howlite, and dalmatian jasper. Sometimes sellers will dye howlite blue and sell it as turquoise. Remember, agate does not come in bright vibrant colors like above, howlite is always white, and dalmatian jasper should be white with black spots; it’s called dalmatian jasper because it looks like one!
The Corporate Gem World ~
Yes, corporate. Whenever a corporate business man sees potential cash to line his pockets, he will most definitely take it. Unfortunate, the corporate world has been spreading its reach to control the gem world.
A stone of spiritual understanding, it is say to expand consciousness and connect the user to spirit and earth planes. Yet, Mystic Merlinite is a trademarked name. If you would rather purchase the stone and not pay for the trademarked name too, look for indigo gabbro. That’s it’s real name.
Edit: Robert Simmons’ has dropped the copyright claim. It seems like he was going to renew it but for some reason abandoned it? Anyway, anyone can call it Mystic Merlinite now.
Look at this beautiful piece of Azeztulite. Wait, is this really just quartz?
Yes, Azeztulite is just quartz that has been trademarked to be sold at outrageous prices. According to the trademark holder, Azeztulite was placed in select spots around the world by magical Azez beings who serve the Nameless Light of the Great Central Sun. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Random crystals that have been placed under an Azeztulite pyramid to be blessed by the Azez spirits. Same company.
Just cinnabar in quartz. Don’t waste your money
Quartz with an excessive amount or rainbows.
Edit: Robert Simmons’ copyright claim of the name Anandalite has expired. He has yet to renew it. Right now anyone can use that name as they please.
Banded quartz and amethyst.
Be careful when purchasing gems. The corporate world has been working hard to make its place in the gem world, there are many more trademarked crystals out there. I chose to mention what I see most commonly but there are way more than you think. Make sure to ask questions and do your research. If you see something new, ask is it real? is it trademarked? Don’t buy something if you are not certain.
10) CARRIE (Brian De Palma 1976): The seminal horror film from Brian De Palma is King’s original mind bending story of bullying gone wrong. Sissy Spacek might have been a little too old for the role of a high school girl. But the performances of Piper Laurie as Carrie’s insane mother, and Betty Buckley as the gym teacher add class to the entire film. A great career start from John Travolta and Nancy Allen, the scene that has made the film famous might have been lampooned so many times, but it’s still a piece of cinematic genius. From the awkward and slightly perverted opening to the big shock at the end, De Palma is clearly in love with the story and wants to make a film that is about women, that both genders can enjoy. He succeeds. (Based on the novel “Carrie”)
9) STAND BY ME (Rob Reiner 1986): A classic story of childhood features brilliant performances from the young cast. Based on the third novella in the compendium Different Seasons. The touching story of a group of children that discover a dead body. Something that could be seen as a pre-curser to Danny Boyle’s Shallow Grave, the story has no pretensions of being anything other than a beautiful ode to growing up. Richard Dreyfuss classes up the whole film with his cinematic stature. But the entire film hinges on the likeability of the young actors, it might only be Keifer Sutherland that actually gained a career after the film, and the tragic loss of River Phoenix make for upsetting viewing, but the entire film is beautiful. (Based on the novella “The Body” from Different Seasons)
8) SECRET WINDOW (David Koepp 2004): From the outset a rather incidental film from all involved, but actually a hidden gem in the catalogue of King adaptations, Koepp films and Depp performances. Depp plays a writer who is accused by a strange man, John Tuturro, of stealing his story. The thriller builds on two great central performances. Once from an incredibly sinister Tuturro and another from Depp on fine form before his apparent downfall. This film might, yet, prove to be the last great Depp performance and if that be, well it’s a decent enough performance, twitchy, worried and desperate. The film builds to an inevitable twist, and your reaction really depends on how much you read and understand film cliches. (Based on the novella “Secret Window, Secret Garden” from Four Past Midnight.)
7) THE DEAD ZONE (David Cronenberg 1983): Christopher Walken plays a man who after a horrific accident is able to see a person’s future by touching them. What follows is a part horror film, part superhero origin story and part political thriller. Walken, like Spacek in Carrie, does great as someone trying to understand what has happened to him and what is going to continue happening to him. Martin Sheen plays the politician with a heart of absolute black and perfectly plays the role of villain. While in lesser hands Sheen would be the hero and Walken the villain, Cronenberg mounts a thrilling horror film with building tension. Not one of his showier films, but one of the more enjoyable and with a brilliantly understated central performance by Walken, who reigns in his mannerisms to play the meek and mild Johnny Smith gives one of his career bests. (Based on the novel “The Dead Zone”.)
6) THE MIST (Frank Darabont 2007): The first of three Darabont films to make it on the list, this tense supernatural monster movie pits a group of New England townsfolk against a a sinister mist and the monster that lie within it. Darabont plays down the monsters outside for the monsters inside with a host of brilliant character actors showing their worth: Thomas Jane and Nathan Gamble play father and son to great success, with William Sadler and Marcia Gay Harden providing villainous support, Laurie Holden, Toby Jones and Andre Braugher also class up the proceedings. The ending is either a stroke of brilliance, or a let down depending how invested you are in the characters, but as a tense inspection of how society breaks down under pressure, it’s pure brilliance. (Based on the novella “The Mist” from Skeleton Crew).
5) APT PUPIL (Bryan Singer 1998): A brilliant study in evil, and the corruption of two people with souls already rotting to the core, Apt Pupil casts Brad Renfro as the all American apt pupil of the title, and Ian McKellen as the nazi down the road hiding in plain sight. In Todd Bowden, Renfro gives a performance that should stand up alongside the likes of Malcolm McDowell’s Alex De Large or even Ezra Miller’s Kevin. McKellen already a respected actor sinks his thespian teeth into the role of Arthur Denker, and later his true identity of Kurt Dussander. While David Schwimmer might look a little out of place in this broiling tension filled thriller, McKellen keeps everything grounded with his sublime performance. The scene in which McKellen marches in a nazi uniform is particularly unsettling. (Based on the novella “Apt Pupil” from Different Seasons).
4) MISERY (Rob Reiner 1990):That moment all writer’s hate - when someone approaches you and tells you that they’re your biggest fan. Psycho fanboys threatening death because you botched the latest issue of Spider-Man have got nothing on Annie Wilks played to perfection by Kathy Bates, with James Caan as famed novelist Paul Sheldon who writes the Misery Chastain books. Clearly drawing on his own nightmare scenarios, King’s novel proved to be an unsettling chiller, but under the direction of Reiner who had success years earlier with Stand By Me, mounts a tense almost two person drama about an obsessive fan, and a writer at the end of his tether. Bates’ Academy Award win has gone on to become a benchmark in female villains and in the “bunny boiler” subset. The scene involving a sledge hammer, James Caas, and an ankle makes for one of the most wince inflicting moments in cinema. (Based on the novel “Misery”).
3) THE GREEN MILE (Frank Darabont 1999):One of two King prison drama, the second of three Darabont films, and a supernatural story about the goodness one man can bring all come to the forefront of this moving drama. Death row officers Tom Hanks, David Morse, Barry Pepper and Jeffrey DeMunn are at their wits end with the obnoxious Doug Hutchinson. The inmates, Michael Jeter and Graham Greene are all put out of sorts with the arrival of Michael Clarke Duncan’s towering John Coffey convicted of raping and murdering two little girls. This epic film, featuring Sam Rockwell, Gary Sinise, James Cromwell, Patricia Clarkson, William Sadler and Dabbs Greer all offer brilliant performances, but the film belongs to Hanks and Duncan who both give career bests. The film builds to a gentle climax and the finale leaves you in floods of tears. Darabont’s sensitive direction, as well as another brilliant score from Thomas Newman make for a long, poetic and beautiful experience. (Based on the novel “The Green Mile”).
2) THE SHINING (Stanley Kubrick 1980):Considered by some to be the ultimate horror film, Kubrick’s adaptation of the King’s most infamous novel makes many differences from the novel but offers a different take on the same idea. Jack Nicholson takes a job as a winter caretaker for the Overlook Hotel and brings his wife and young son along. What follows is a terrifying journey into the psyche of a man haunted by vice, conflicted by anger and hunted by the spirits of The Overlook. Scatman Crothers is brilliant as Dick Halloran, but the film is all about Nicholson’s simmering performance. Of course the greatest moment comes from an almost gentle conversation in a bathroom between Nicholson’s Jack and Philip Stone’s Delbert Grady. A simple conversation that grows and grows as fear becomes more and more. With the legacy of the film as well as the death of Kubrick it’s unlikely we’ll see a film based on Doctor Sleep anytime soon, the changes made from novel to film would need Kubrick himself to decide how to do it. Which is a shame, because Kubrick’s Doctor Sleep would have been quite the film. (Based on the novel “The Shining”).
1) THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (Frank Darabont 1994): Of course it has to be the number one, the enduring favourite of any film buff. Accused of a crime he may or may not have committed, Tim Robbins’ Andy Dufrense shows up at Shawshank prison and befriends Morgan Freeman’s life timer and “only guilty man in Shawshank” Red. The friendship is the centre of this moving drama film which offers the idea that fear can hold you prisoner, but hope can set you free. Clancy Brown, Willam Sadler and Bob Gunton all class up the proceedings, with a brilliant Thomas Newman score and the soothing tones of Freeman’s narration letting us know we’re in safe hands. Gunton’s Warden Norton might go down, along with Grady, Mrs Carmody and Annie Wilks are one of the great Stephen King villains, here is played with just the right amount of malice and cruelty, but still a believable menace. The final scene might not be what King fans would want, but it perfectly ends a film that is, essentially, a love story between two guys. (Based on the novella “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” from Different Seasons).
…So over the past year I have compiled a list of upper mid-range to mostly high end restaurants that I really like in London; all of which I’ve visited with POTS and SD’s. I’ve found that POTS are impressed when they ask you where you want to go for dinner and you can say “Let’s go to robouchon/Pied a terre/Ormer I’m dying to check out their winter menu after the fabulous meal I had there this summer” or some other bs aha. It set the tone for your expectations from him. Only the best. Nothing less will do.
Some restaurants that I’ve left out from the note:
*The shard. (Great views, poor service)
*Pied a terre. (Stunning fine dining, a little too quiet)
*Novikov (Italian section is awful, Asian is okay. This is hoe central so great for freestying)
**I’m not terribly crazy about them but they are worth a mention
Please repost/ comment with your fave restaurant/bar for sugar dates. The list can only get longer 😉