The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
This year's London Film Festival is set to be a Tim Burton family affair. It opens with the European premiere of his fabulous 3D animation Frankenweenie, to be screened simultaneously in 30 cinemas across Britain for the first time.
The acclaimed director's other half is Helena Bonham Carter and her latest film Great Expectations will bring the 12-day cinematic event to a close. She makes a formidable Miss Haversham in Mike Newell's solid adaptation of Charles Dickens classic novel.
Senile dementia and chronic illness in the elderly seem to be a running theme this year.
They are central to Amour, Michael Haneke's deserving Palme d'Or winner at Cannes.
It is an amazingly powerful and brutally honest, unsentimental depiction of an octogenarian couple trying to cope when a stroke leaves the wife paralysed and speechless.
Dementia features too in Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut Quartet, a delightful and acerbic comedy drama about four ageing opera singers who are reunited in a retirement home. A stellar British cast includes Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly and Michael Gambon and all are sublime.
Another film worth catching is the charmingly surreal Robot And Frank in which Frank Langella plays a former cat burglar whose children, worried about his increasing memory loss, give him a robot butler to care for him. Instead he trains it to help him pull a final heist.
Others worth looking out for are the political thriller Argo, directed by and starring Ben Affleck, and Seven Psychopaths, Martin McDonagh's follow up to In Bruges. It's a truly bizarre, wise-cracking comedy starring Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken.
Then there's The Sapphires, the inspirational 1960s-set Australian musical comedy about an aborigine girl band who entertain US troops in Vietnam.
Also worthy of note is the gritty police thriller End Of Watch in which Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena deliver standout performances.
But one of the must-sees is The Sessions. It's based on the true story of a poet and journalist who's confined to an iron lung, and his attempts to lose his virginity at the age of 38.
It is raw and funny and the knockout portrayals by John Hawkes and Helen Hunt turn a very difficult subject into a compelling and surprisingly enjoyable film.