Hard boiled

I quite like the so-called hard boiled fiction of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and so on.

Very often, a young male character is referred to as a “gunsel”. In one book, it is explained that this means a young man carrying a gun.

However, it’s not correct. As far as I understand it, a gunsel is a young man kept by an elder as a homosexual partner. You can see it in The Maltese Falcon.

Wilmer is the gunsel. It’s used as a person with a gun,which he does have, but I always assumed it was (also) meant as a secret reference to homosexuality.


The Wizard Of Oz

A friend of mine says her favourite film is The Wizard Of Oz.

She was telling me the other day that the Tarkovsky film Stalker mirrors TWOZ, even down to the black and white bits at the beginning and end.

Oddly though, there are no black and white bits. It is a colour film all the way through, glorious Technicolour, or Technicolor.

The aspect ratio of this picture is wrong, but you can see clearly that it is monochrome, but it’s sepia. It is the colour you associate with old and faded photographs, it’s the colour of nostalgia (also a Tarkovsky film).


I get very cross sometimes when people continue to make stupid mistakes, even when they know they are wrong. Here are just a few:

“Princess Diana”

Diana Spencer died at the age of 36. At no time in her life was she ever “Princess Diana”.

She was “Lady Diana Spencer” for a time before she married, then became “Her Royal Highness Diana, Princess of Wales”. After she died, as a courtesy title only, she was known as just “Diana, Princess of Wales”.