Self-Styled Siren

Websites We Love – Part 4 – Self-Styled Siren

“Let me introduce you to, uh, a friend of ours…”

There are millions of movie sites out there, but here’s one which offers an irresistable balance between erudition and enjoyment, someone who takes cinema seriously but without undue solemnity. In short, the Siren knows her movies inside out, and – crucially – knows that movies are there to be enjoyed. Covering a range of old and new, with an empathis on the classics, there’s always something interesting to be found on the site’s front page, including, at present, one of the best writeups we’ve seen on Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’.

Dig a little deeper and you’ll soon find articles which – like this one on Raoul Walsh’s ‘The Strawberry Blonde’ (1941), starring James Cagney, Rita Hayworth, Olivia de Havilland, Jack Carson, and Alan Hale – cover their subject so thouroughly and entertainingly that you’d struggle to find anything left to say. And yet the quality of the numerous comments posted by the Siren’s equally knowledgeable readership gives the lie to such notions.

- by John Carvill


If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger

Websites We Love – Part 3 – If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger (There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats)

“Let me introduce you to, uh, a friend of ours…”

No real need to say anything much about this site – just go and feast on the images. The guy who runs this place – one of the few image-based websites that is creatively utilising the power of the medium – was under some kind of pressure late last year, and thinking about closing the site. Thankfully, he didn’t.

It would have been tragic to lose a site that can throw up images like this…

…or this…

Thomas Pynchon

Websites We Love – Part 2 – ThomasPynchon.Com

“Let me introduce you to, uh, a friend of ours…”

No, not a garralous blog by the famously publicity-seeking author of ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’. Rather, this is Tim Ware’s cornucopious Pynchon resource – your best one-stop online shop for all things Pynchon.

The meat of this website is the indices to Pynchon’s first three “big” novels — V. (1963), Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) and Mason & Dixon (1997). These “Web guides” have been of great help to readers of Thomas Pynchon through the years, and will no doubt continue to be. Contributions are always welcome. If you’re reading Pynchon for the first time, you may want to take a look at Advice for Newbies, given by a cadre of life-long fans and contributors to this site.

Pynchon Wikis

These days, there is also the Pynchon Wiki, which consists of a suite of seven wikis, one for each of Pynchon’s novels, with extensive annotation — and growing all the time. Those interested can also register to become editors of the wikis.

“He gets back to the Casino just as big globular raindrops, thick as honey, begin to splat into giant asterisks on the pavement, inviting him to look down at the bottom of the text of the day, where footnotes will explain all. He isn’t about to look. Nobody ever said a day has to be juggled into any kind of sense at day’s end. He just runs.”

- Thomas Pynchon, ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’


Michael Gray

Websites We Love – Part 1 – Michael Gray

“Let me introduce you to, uh, a friend of ours…”

Oomska’s favourite music critic, Michael Gray, has a brand new website, here:




Most people will know Michael Gray as the world’s leading authority on Bob Dylan’s music, author of essential texts such as ‘Song & Dance Man’, and ‘The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia’.

His new site is a treasure trove of writing, photos, resources and recommendations.

And of course he still maintains his thriving, always interesting Bob Dylan Encyclopedia Blog

Best news of all: Michael has recently released a wonderful CD containing recordings of some of the Dylan Encyclopedia’s most insightful and entertaining entries. Anybody who has attended one of Michael’s talks will know just how well he presents this material; anybody who hasn’t should snap up a copy of this CD and find out. Highly recommended.