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
ENO's production of La Boheme is a triumph,
Shock, horror - Tim Burton produces his first flop with a frightful film that simply fails to ignite despite every trick in the CGI manual.
Worse still, is his regular partner and the film's producer Johnny Depp on the wane? He's utterly unconvincing as he camps it up as a venerable vampire.
No matter the amount of eyeliner, he simply fails to shine and even palls in comparison with vintage rock star Alice Cooper who makes an appearance.
Dark Shadows is supposedly based on Dan Curtis's vintage TV series that gripped audiences between 1966-71, long before the Buffy generation was spawned.
Yet unlike The Addams Family of the same era, it's unsuccessful in transcending its origins on the big screen.
Scripted by Seth Graham Smith it sketches out its TV antecedents as though it were a tribute to Roger Corman, complete with a Gothic mansion atop a cliff.
Depp narrates and plays Barnabas Collins from 18th-century Liverpool who builds an empire based upon catching and canning fish.
A powerful playboy, he's in love with the beautiful Josette duPres (Bella Heathcote). Problem is, he's already had his wicked way with Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) and she, being a witch, contrives to send her to her death.
When Collins tries to follow, Bouchard transforms him into a vampire, then has him cast in a chains and buried in a metal box.
Flash forward to 1972 and the world has changed, with the once powerful Collins family reduced in circumstance and Bouchard ruling the roost.
Unfortunately, her bulldozers uncover Barnabas's coffin and he appears to the bemusement of just about everybody.
Time to discover his dysfunctional family - matriarch Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer), shiftless brother (Jonny Lee Miller), rebellious daughter (Chloe Grace Moretz) and precocious son (Gully McGrath).
The latter's with a live-in psychiatrist, an overweight Helen Bonham Carter, who sees a way to renew her slim-line youth.
They reckon without Bouchard, seeking a return bout, including a bonking session that literally tears the house down.
Naturally, matriarch Elizabeth has a lookalike in Victoria (Bella Heathcote again) and the scene is set for - well, everything you might expect, except the irreverent humour of the original, which is a satire of contemporary society.