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
The latest on the Hobbit production line does what it says on the JRR Tolkien tin
The world of the hobbits, elves and dwarves of Middle Earth are stunningly recreated again by Peter Jackson to JRR Tolkien's specifications.
The visionary director has shot the feature at 48 frames rather than the usual 24 per second and that takes a while to get used to - some liken the effect to watching an '80s TV production.
But New Zealand's sweeping and exquisite landscapes simply take the breath away as Jackson employs 3D to great effect.
The film's a prequel to the award-winning Lord Of The Rings in which Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) joins a company of 13 dwarves on a quest to reclaim the lost dwarf kingdom from a fire-breathing dragon.
A problem is it is going to take them three films to accomplish it. Given that it is a very slim novel that is a feat in itself, though it does seem like unnecessary padding out for profit.
Fans will adore the attention to detail and the riveting and colourful battle scenes between the dwarves and the Orcs, and though dark and menacing the film contains more humour than its predecessors.
Freeman makes a simpatico Bilbo but it is Andy Serkis as the magnificent Gollum who steals the film as he gives it the piquancy it needs. He looks even better in 3D.
As a close-on three hour scene-setter I was totally engrossed but at the end when giant eagles drop our heroes within sight of the mountain they are seeking I couldn't help thinking a) why didn't they just fly them there and b) sadly it's going to take them the whole of the follow-up to reach their goal.