What is the Corral about?

Well, simply, it is a place to round-up ideas, thoughts, comments and anything else you may like to hear about. My original intention was to have a forum but the time to manage such a gathering is really beyond me at this stage. But via email I can gather up your input and get it into the Corral.

So, would you like to make comment?

What is your favorite western story, either as a book or a movie?

Want to tell us why?

What are you currently reading, watching or listening to (regardless if it is a Western or not)?

What do you want to see in future Western stories (grit or romance, maybe both, gunplay or justice, grim reality or happy endings)?

Anything you would like to see in one of my stories?



March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011














What am I currently reading?

Rawhide by Frank C. Robertson – picked it up for $5 at a sale. What a bargin.

One of my favorite books is Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carre, and it has finally been adapted to the big screen as a major movie release for 2011. The BBC bought it to television over 30 years ago and did a fine job, featuring Alec Guinness as George Smiley. In fact they were so successful with the seven part series that I though it was a brave act to try and get such a complex story into to a two hour movie.

I was first alerted to this classic spy story in the 1970s by a friend who was to be tragically killed in a military aircraft accident in the Philippines in 1982. So, out of a sense of respect, I thought I better finally take up the recommendation and have a read, and am I ever glad I did. While I had previously read The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, I had thought that the end was a bit sentimental, and it led me to hastily condemn all of le Carre’s books. It was all my own stupidity as Tinker Taylor is a gripping a story and skillfully told with wonderful use of language. It is also the first of what has become known as the Karla trilogy – the other two books being The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley’s People. To read all three in sequence is a treat and a must read for any desert island or bucket list.

But it was through le Carre that I was introduced to another writer who had also written of spies amongst other things, and that was Graham Greene. In a casual conversation I was told, much like Amazon does today, if you like le Carre, then you’ll like Graham Greene. So off I went to see and they were right. The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana are wonderful, as is Brighton Rock, and a gem called The End of the Affair that explores the thin line between love and hate, when obsession gets in the way. But my favorite Greene book is the novella The Third Man, which Greene wrote purely to assist him in writing the screenplay (it was made into a movie in 1949 by the great Carol Reed and starred Joseph Cotton, Trevor Howard and Orson Welles as Harry Lime). This book is unlike his other works as it is stripped down to the bear essentials, and that type of story telling appeals to me. The pace fast and furious, unlike the End of the Affair, which is dense with introspection and allows Greene to showoff his talent, with prose that is, well, quite incredible.  

So what has any of this got to do with the Western? I’m glad you asked, because the central character of the Third Man story, Rolo Martins in the book, but called Holly Martins in the movie and changed from being British to American (and played skillfully by Joseph Cotton), is a pulp Western writer who comes to Vienna to meet up with his old friend Harry Lime, only to be told that he is dead. And one of Martin’s books, written under the pen name of Buck Dexter, is mentioned – It’s called The Lone Rider of Santa Fe.

Now, I have often wondered why Greene chose such a profession for his protagonist? And my theory is, that he wanted Martins to be seen much like the lone cowboy who seeks justice and the redemption of the good name of his buddy. However, while his ideals are honorable, he is both foolish and naïve, as good and bad are never black and white.

Now, I warmed to Matins even with all his bluster and faults, and that’s not to mention his inability to hold his liquor. Deep down he is a descent man trying to do the right thing, but not very well. He is the flawed hero and that for me is more than enough. Oh, and most importantly, there is a shoot out in the end – so could this be seen as a classic urban Western and a must read for lovers of intrigue and adventure. I think so.

Have a happy festive season.


December 2011

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