Skip to main content


There have been few singular cultural pleasures as notable as the trilogy of Bourne films starring Matt Damon, each featuring Moby's solemn yet oddly upbeat 'Extreme Ways' theme song ("I would stand in line for this"). Their gritty action, cinema realism, and downbeat subjects made Bond seem like a cartoon, and changed that franchise (as well as influencing the new Batman trilogy).

Greengrass, the director, turned out to be an action genius, easily the best of his generation. Then we had that fourth unwelcome verstigial spin-off, with another Bournelike character, and though it had its moments, we all missed Jason.

Jason is back again this summer, with his pumped-up guns and lost-boy glare. Also back is the chaos that ensues when he brings the conflict up close and personal to the shadowy espionage forces ranged against him. Aptly, he is now, in the trailer, called worse than Snowden - a sign his Bourne brawn is being supplemented by more than a special injection - he has smarts and intelligence (not always the same thing).

Truth be told, the Bourne films are simply the Day of the Jackal fused with Three Days of the Condor, in terms of genre style and cold-blooded relentlessness, but they are the best of commercial Hollywood this century, and the 5th will make the fist of greatness complete.


Popular posts from this blog

Review of the new Simple Minds album - Walk Between Worlds

Taste is a matter of opinion - or so goes one opinion. Aesthetics, a branch of pistols at dawn, is unlikely to become unruffled and resolved any time soon, and meantime it is possible to argue, in this post-post-modern age, an age of voter rage, that political opinion trumps taste anyway. We like what we say is art. And what we say is art is what likes us.

Simple Minds - the Scottish band founded around 1977 with the pale faces and beautiful cheekbones, and perfect indie hair cuts - comes from a time before that - from a Glasgow of poverty and working-class socialism, and religiosity, in a pre-Internet time when the heights of modernity were signalled by Kraftwerk, large synthesisers, and dancing like Bowie at 3 am in a Berlin club.

To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived,…


Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand


With the death of the poetic genius John Ashbery, whose poems, translations, and criticism made him, to my mind, the most influential American poet since TS Eliot, 21st century poetry is moving into less certain territory.

Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.