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Roger Goodman "Veteran McGoohan interviewer" (North Wales)
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[(Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner?)] [Author: Roger Langley] published on (December, 2007)
[(Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner?)] [Author: Roger Langley] published on (December, 2007)
by Roger Langley
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars A really extraordinarily written book, 19 Jun. 2015
I just found this a really extraordinarily badly written book. Here's a typical sentence, where caution, syntax, grammar and common sense are all thrown to the same wind: "Whether the star's possible mid-life crisis, a realisation that there was a crossroads in his career mid-decade or whether the actor harboured a wish to be experimental - like his mentor, Orson Welles - might never be known". And this in a book, touted by the publisher as explaining "the enigma" that is Patrick McGoohan. Well, the author doesn't know, so how can the readership?

The other thing that the above dog's dinner of a typical sentence demonstrates is that the author hasn't even begun to get under the skin of his subject, otherwise he wouldn't write such compromising cobblers. The surface of the subject is hardly scratched. This isn't a biography of Patrick McGoohan so much as a depthless look at those aspects of his life that are already in the public domain, much of it on the 'Net. What is pointedly missing is commentary from the subject on those "black holes" in his life, where speculation fails to replace substance.

Worrisome also is the author's uneasy relationship with his subject. The whole handful of their abrupt personal telephone conversations and snippets are recorded verbatim but, if they are meant to be passed off as interviews, well, the author's interviewing technique needs some upping. These pointedly brief exchanges only serve to highlight the paucity of original thought and the fact that the author has rarely spoken to his subject, never actually met him and certainly never formally interviewed him - and, hey, doesn't it show?

And the one occasion when the author, who insists on referring to himself as "this writer" (as though anyone else is writing this sorry stuff), actually finds himself in the same tv studio space as his subject, his write up contains mistakes and he leaves us without any background to this momentous occasion, nor any mention of his subject's remarkable behaviour towards his chauffeur and his fellow guests in the Green Room.

In the same way that many years ago the author levered a number of other people's McGoohan interviews into a "constructed text", this is a constructed book (the author admits as much in Appendix 7 - yes, 7 appendices, it's that kind of teeth-pulling unfinished exercise), little more than a glorified scrapbook, a linked series of cuttings, other people's reviews, elderly Sheffield residents' memories, actors who struggle to remember what was only a job 40 years ago. Sir Donald Sinden is on record as critical of 'The Prisoner', but curiously that doesn't feature amongst the author's pre-owned musings, despite his claim of thoroughness.

In his writing up of some minutiae the author also falls for a number of media in-jokes, embarrassingly reproducing them as facts, and there are some conspicuous-by-their-absence attributions too, which let the book down badly in terms of authority. Even worse, there's a lot of text about what is, or more often is NOT, being written about, some of it self-contradicting, where the author declares he is not concerning himself with the actor's private and family life, when this is patently nonsense in too many too personal references.

Even regardless of the factual pitfalls, the misidentification of the subject's childhood home being one of the most prominent, the prose style is so tedious and every page cries out for a sub-editor. At no time do you ever feel you've got to know what makes McGoohan tick.

There are real literary irritations too, where the author goes for alliteration and fails, for example: "brainwashing and beliefs; censorship and coercion; jingoism and justice; psychology and peace; loyalty and love". A poor mix of hard, soft and silent consonants doesn't create alliteration and the whole effect is cringe-making. Where is the editor?

At the end of the day the world is still without a probing, insightful, in-depth book on Patrick McGoohan, but that, as all true McGoohan supporters know, is exactly how the subject would want it. And who hasn't seen the Easter Egg and heard the subject's one word comment on the topic?!

A really badly written book in more ways than one, not remotely "definitive", as its publisher claims, and a big opportunity missed.

Caveat emptor


Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner? by Roger Langley (2007) Paperback
Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner? by Roger Langley (2007) Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A REALLY EXTRAORDINARILY WRITTEN BOOK, 31 May 2015
I just found this a really extraordinarily badly written book. Here's a typical sentence, where caution, syntax, grammar and common sense are all thrown to the same wind: "Whether the star's possible mid-life crisis, a realisation that there was a crossroads in his career mid-decade or whether the actor harboured a wish to be experimental - like his mentor, Orson Welles - might never be known". And this in a book, touted by the publisher as explaining "the enigma" that is Patrick McGoohan. Well, the author doesn't know, so how can the readership?

The other thing that the above dog's dinner of a typical sentence demonstrates is that the author hasn't even begun to get under the skin of his subject, otherwise he wouldn't write such compromising cobblers. The surface of the subject is hardly scratched. This isn't a biography of Patrick McGoohan so much as a depthless look at those aspects of his life that are already in the public domain, much of it on the 'Net. What is pointedly missing is commentary from the subject on those "black holes" in his life, where speculation fails to replace substance.

Worrisome also is the author's uneasy relationship with his subject. The whole handful of their abrupt personal telephone conversations and snippets are recorded verbatim but, if they are meant to be passed off as interviews, well, the author's interviewing technique needs some upping. These pointedly brief exchanges only serve to highlight the paucity of original thought and the fact that the author has rarely spoken to his subject, never actually met him and certainly never formally interviewed him - and, hey, doesn't it show?

And the one occasion when the author, who insists on referring to himself as "this writer" (as though anyone else is writing this sorry stuff), actually finds himself in the same tv studio space as his subject, his write up contains mistakes and he leaves us without any background to this momentous occasion, nor any mention of his subject's remarkable behaviour towards his chauffeur and his fellow guests in the Green Room.

In the same way that many years ago the author levered a number of other people's McGoohan interviews into a "constructed text", this is a constructed book (the author admits as much in Appendix 7 - yes, 7 appendices, it's that kind of teeth-pulling unfinished exercise), little more than a glorified scrapbook, a linked series of cuttings, other people's reviews, elderly Sheffield residents' memories, actors who struggle to remember what was only a job 40 years ago. Sir Donald Sinden is on record as critical of 'The Prisoner', but curiously that doesn't feature amongst the author's pre-owned musings, despite his claim of thoroughness.

In his writing up of some minutiae the author also falls for a number of media in-jokes, embarrassingly reproducing them as facts, and there are some conspicuous-by-their-absence attributions too, which let the book down badly in terms of authority. Even worse, there's a lot of text about what is, or more often is NOT, being written about, some of it self-contradicting, where the author declares he is not concerning himself with the actor's private and family life, when this is patently nonsense in too many too personal references.

Even regardless of the factual pitfalls, the misidentification of the subject's childhood home being one of the most prominent, the prose style is so tedious and every page cries out for a sub-editor. At no time do you ever feel you've got to know what makes McGoohan tick.

There are real literary irritations too, where the author goes for alliteration and fails, for example: "brainwashing and beliefs; censorship and coercion; jingoism and justice; psychology and peace; loyalty and love". A poor mix of hard, soft and silent consonants doesn't create alliteration and the whole effect is cringe-making. Where is the editor?

At the end of the day the world is still without a probing, insightful, in-depth book on Patrick McGoohan, but that, as all true McGoohan supporters know, is exactly how the subject would want it. And who hasn't seen the Easter Egg and heard the subject's one word comment on the topic?!

A really badly written book in more ways than one, not remotely "definitive", as its publisher claims, and a big opportunity missed.

Caveat emptor


By Roger Langley Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner? (1st) [Paperback]
By Roger Langley Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner? (1st) [Paperback]
by Roger Langley
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars A really extraordinarily written book, 1 Mar. 2015
I just found this a really extraordinarily badly written book. Here's a typical sentence, where caution, syntax, grammar and common sense are all thrown to the same wind: "Whether the star's possible mid-life crisis, a realisation that there was a crossroads in his career mid-decade or whether the actor harboured a wish to be experimental - like his mentor, Orson Welles - might never be known". And this in a book, touted by the publisher as explaining "the enigma" that is Patrick McGoohan. Well, the author doesn't know, so how can the readership?

The other thing that the above dog's dinner of a typical sentence demonstrates is that the author hasn't even begun to get under the skin of his subject, otherwise he wouldn't write such compromising cobblers. The surface of the subject is hardly scratched. This isn't a biography of Patrick McGoohan so much as a depthless look at those aspects of his life that are already in the public domain, much of it on the 'Net. What is pointedly missing is commentary from the subject on those "black holes" in his life, where speculation fails to replace substance.

Worrisome also is the author's uneasy relationship with his subject. The whole handful of their abrupt personal telephone conversations and snippets are recorded verbatim but, if they are meant to be passed off as interviews, well, the author's interviewing technique needs some upping. These pointedly brief exchanges only serve to highlight the paucity of original thought and the fact that the author has rarely spoken to his subject, never actually met him and certainly never formally interviewed him - and, hey, doesn't it show?

And the one occasion when the author, who insists on referring to himself as "this writer" (as though anyone else is writing this sorry stuff), actually finds himself in the same tv studio space as his subject, his write up contains mistakes and he leaves us without any background to this momentous occasion, nor any mention of his subject's remarkable behaviour towards his chauffeur and his fellow guests in the Green Room.

In the same way that many years ago the author levered a number of other people's McGoohan interviews into a "constructed text", this is a constructed book (the author admits as much in Appendix 7 - yes, 7 appendices, it's that kind of teeth-pulling unfinished exercise), little more than a glorified scrapbook, a linked series of cuttings, other people's reviews, elderly Sheffield residents' memories, actors who struggle to remember what was only a job 40 years ago. Sir Donald Sinden is on record as critical of 'The Prisoner', but curiously that doesn't feature amongst the author's pre-owned musings, despite his claim of thoroughness.

In his writing up of some minutiae the author also falls for a number of media in-jokes, embarrassingly reproducing them as facts, and there are some conspicuous-by-their-absence attributions too, which let the book down badly in terms of authority. Even worse, there's a lot of text about what is, or more often is NOT, being written about, some of it self-contradicting, where the author declares he is not concerning himself with the actor's private and family life, when this is patently nonsense in too many too personal references.

Even regardless of the factual pitfalls, the misidentification of the subject's childhood home being one of the most prominent, the prose style is so tedious and every page cries out for a sub-editor. At no time do you ever feel you've got to know what makes McGoohan tick.

There are real literary irritations too, where the author goes for alliteration and fails, for example: "brainwashing and beliefs; censorship and coercion; jingoism and justice; psychology and peace; loyalty and love". A poor mix of hard, soft and silent consonants doesn't create alliteration and the whole effect is cringe-making. Where is the editor?

At the end of the day the world is still without a probing, insightful, in-depth book on Patrick McGoohan, but that, as all true McGoohan supporters know, is exactly how the subject would want it. And who hasn't seen the Easter Egg and heard the subject's one word comment on the topic?!

A really badly written book in more ways than one, not remotely "definitive", as its publisher claims, and a big opportunity missed.

Caveat emptor


Flow and Change
Flow and Change
Price: £12.66

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Needle weave, 9 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Flow and Change (Audio CD)
This album has rarely left the CD player of my car since I bought it. Fortunately I live and work in rural landscapes and it is an astonishingly welcome companion on my journeys.
Songs with subject matter from decades apart sit on adjacent tracks: `Letters', the tragedy of a follow-up greeting from two people who have only just found each other in an era when the only mail was Royal, anticipates the nightly farewell to unmet online friends in `Shadows'; like the two versions of Lady Pole at Starecross Hall, `Silence' (the one in an ivory-coloured dress) and `Head Full of Stars' (the other in blood-red evening gown with jewels or stars in her dark hair) reflect their different distance.
`Flow and Change' dances through the last few decades of music with nods to Jimmy Webb and Clifford T Ward that sit totally comfortably alongside something very contemporary. Phil Toms' string arrangements are happily reminiscent of John Cameron's and George Martin's; they work perfectly where they have to, as does Alastair Murphy's beautifully evocative music.
If you haven't yet done so, after playing this album revisit an album by King Crimson, preferably one with the evergreen `I Talk To The Wind', after which you hear `Flow and Change' differently, King Crimson becoming the enhancer.
`Flow and Change' is a most remarkable album, a tour de force with its final eleven minute track, revisiting musical themes in the previous nine with an intricately woven patchwork of lyrics, inspired by the quiltlike quartet of artists, whose artwork and illustrations adorn the album cover and booklet, taking you into yet another media for expressing the tanglewood emotions.
Reviewers elsewhere have described the album as `soothing' and `melancholic', but I find it arresting and challenging. The reconciliation of lost letters, lost loves, lost childhood to new hopes, the granddaughter, the sisterhood of Ruralists, the birth of the magic of their art, plus the ever present sense that there is more than oneself watching events with a dark impersonal eye ("Crows are made for staring"), is deeply impassioned and thought provoking. The past is not easily being reconciled to the future; souls indifferently separated do not always survive intact.
I have seen `Flow and Change' labelled as `bitter sweet' by more than one online review, but this is too simple a description; `Flow and Change' is far more complex than that.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 11, 2013 6:26 PM BST


Unique But Similar: The Prisoner Compared
Unique But Similar: The Prisoner Compared
by Andrew K. Shenton
Edition: Paperback

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trig Points of Television, 5 Aug. 2013
In the early days of Prisoner critiques, whether in the academic OECA booklets or the Jackdaw-style leaves of The Prisoner Appreciation Society's 1970s journal Alert, the programme is compared with the works of John le Carré, Len Deighton, Franz Kafka and Lewis Carroll, to name but four. `Unique But Similar - The Prisoner Compared' by Andrew K Shenton comes to the subject with the tv hindsight of 25 years and compares and contrasts The Prisoner with various fellow trig points of television, such as Children of The Stones and Blake's 7. Included are obvious choices, such as Doctor Who and UFO, with its plethora of Prisoner personnel and themes, treachery, mystery, ambiguity, contradiction, frustration, pessimism - even the re-use of the Living In Harmony backlot reflects the same later episode budgetary constraints. Less unexpected tv references are examined, such as Look and Read and Yes, Prime Minister. Whilst reading this book on holiday in Anglesey, I came across all the Robin of Sherwood paperbacks for 50p in a charity shop in Holyhead, so for Andrew Shenton to acquaint me with Richard Carpenter's early career with Look and Read's `Cloud Burst' was particularly welcome. The latter deals with "who can be trusted", a theme George Markstein, story editor of The Prisoner, saw as important to his brainchild. By comparing The Prisoner with other series that are more rooted in reality, Shenton is able to remind us that questions like "Whose side are you on?" were uppermost in the early discussions of the series, areas of interest that have receded with the (over?)development of allegorical interpretation and the dissipation of the Cold War.
Unlike some Prisoner commentators, Andrew Shenton is more than prepared to deal with the less pleasant aspects of Patrick McGoohan's character and this makes refreshing reading after some recent sycophancy.
Each chapter has dozens of references and notes (Chapter Seven has over a hundred!), and there are some kind words about myself and Prizbiz. The references and notes give the book a tone of both respect and authority, as well as being a fine tribute to the author's research, whilst providing the reader with a constant stream of memory jerkers and an invaluable Prisoner printed Pinterest.
Unique, as the title suggests, and unhesitatingly recommended.

- Llanbadrig July 2013


The Old and the Young (Seren Classics)
The Old and the Young (Seren Classics)
by Margiad Evans
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long moments in time, 9 Feb. 2013
Margiad Evans (1909-1958) was born in Uxbridge and brought up near Ross-on-Wye in agricultural south Herefordshire, whose deep rural landscape is the setting for 'The Old And The Young', a wonderful compilation of fifteen short stories (some shorter than others) first published in 1948.

A child's-eye observation woven with intense description, seemingly viewed both from the foreground and from a distance at the same time, a scarlet leaf-shuffled sunrise mottling a bedroom wall, make these stories something special, stone gems that are constantly being polished.

Loving but unromanticised descriptions of both the magnitude and minutiae of nature blend with enchanting and disturbing aspects of a family world, both fragmented and empowering. A padlocked rafter-filled cottage ruin, as a metaphor for a squandered relationship, probably never had roses round the door.

As the cover notes say:
"In many of these stories, all but one written during the Forties, the hardships of rural living are exacerbated by the war. Men are absent, families are separated, women have to shoulder added burdens. This collection is testament to the quiet heroism of the home front, to the stoic resourcefulness of those who have no cenotaph. Indeed, in war or in peace, it is Evans's ability to delineate the defining nature of small incidents, and to uncover in a precise locality moments of profound spirituality, which raise 'The Old And The Young' to the level of a classic."
I wouldn't disagree with that.

Not a book to be rushed, a book rich in vision and execution and (like Lyn Webster Wilde's 'Becoming The Enchanter') to return to time after time.

"Their hands are deep in the hedgerows,
their faces are solemn with sun;
A moment ago I was with them,
A moment ago I was one."


Calman The Dove
Calman The Dove
Offered by Global_Deals
Price: £3.76

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Celtic crystal, 5 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Calman The Dove (Audio CD)
I will declare an interest. I run an arts festival and I booked Savourna Stevenson to play a couple of years ago. However, I booked her on the strength of seeing her in concert a dozen years previous and listening to her CDs since. Her compositions and playing have a clarity and complexity that perfectly compliment her instrument, the Celtic harp. If this is the first CD of hers you're thinking of buying, it won't be the last.


The Prisoner - 40th Anniversary Special Edition - Complete  [DVD]
The Prisoner - 40th Anniversary Special Edition - Complete [DVD]
Dvd ~ Patrick McGoohan

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine tribute, 13 Jun. 2008
There were 17 episodes of The Prisoner and this will be the 17th review to praise this collection. A huge amount of work has gone into it, of which the people behind it are justly proud. You'll have probably decided to buy it without reading this far, but, if you're remotely hesitating, don't think twice.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 30, 2008 12:49 PM BST


Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner?
Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner?
by Roger Langley
Edition: Paperback

35 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A REALLY EXTRAORDINARILY WRITTEN BOOK, 10 May 2008
I just found this a really extraordinarily badly written book. Here's a typical sentence, where caution, syntax, grammar and common sense are all thrown to the same wind: "Whether the star's possible mid-life crisis, a realisation that there was a crossroads in his career mid-decade or whether the actor harboured a wish to be experimental - like his mentor, Orson Welles - might never be known". And this in a book, touted by the publisher as explaining "the enigma" that is Patrick McGoohan. Well, the author doesn't know, so how can the readership?

The other thing that the above dog's dinner of a typical sentence demonstrates is that the author hasn't even begun to get under the skin of his subject, otherwise he wouldn't write such compromising cobblers. The surface of the subject is hardly scratched. This isn't a biography of Patrick McGoohan so much as a depthless look at those aspects of his life that are already in the public domain, much of it on the 'Net. What is pointedly missing is commentary from the subject on those "black holes" in his life, where speculation fails to replace substance.

Worrisome also is the author's uneasy relationship with his subject. The whole handful of their abrupt personal telephone conversations and snippets are recorded verbatim but, if they are meant to be passed off as interviews, well, the author's interviewing technique needs some upping. These pointedly brief exchanges only serve to highlight the paucity of original thought and the fact that the author has rarely spoken to his subject, never actually met him and certainly never formally interviewed him - and, hey, doesn't it show?

And the one occasion when the author, who insists on referring to himself as "this writer" (as though anyone else is writing this sorry stuff), actually finds himself in the same tv studio space as his subject, his write up contains mistakes and he leaves us without any background to this momentous occasion, nor any mention of his subject's remarkable behaviour towards his chauffeur and his fellow guests in the Green Room.

In the same way that many years ago the author levered a number of other people's McGoohan interviews into a "constructed text", this is a constructed book (the author admits as much in Appendix 7 - yes, 7 appendices, it's that kind of teeth-pulling unfinished exercise), little more than a glorified scrapbook, a linked series of cuttings, other people's reviews, elderly Sheffield residents' memories, actors who struggle to remember what was only a job 40 years ago. Sir Donald Sinden is on record as critical of 'The Prisoner', but curiously that doesn't feature amongst the author's pre-owned musings, despite his claim of thoroughness.

In his writing up of some minutiae the author also falls for a number of media in-jokes, embarrassingly reproducing them as facts, and there are some conspicuous-by-their-absence attributions too, which let the book down badly in terms of authority. Even worse, there's a lot of text about what is, or more often is NOT, being written about, some of it self-contradicting, where the author declares he is not concerning himself with the actor's private and family life, when this is patently nonsense in too many too personal references.

Even regardless of the factual pitfalls, the misidentification of the subject's childhood home being one of the most prominent, the prose style is so tedious and every page cries out for a sub-editor. At no time do you ever feel you've got to know what makes McGoohan tick.

There are real literary irritations too, where the author goes for alliteration and fails, for example: "brainwashing and beliefs; censorship and coercion; jingoism and justice; psychology and peace; loyalty and love". A poor mix of hard, soft and silent consonants doesn't create alliteration and the whole effect is cringe-making. Where is the editor?

At the end of the day the world is still without a probing, insightful, in-depth book on Patrick McGoohan, but that, as all true McGoohan supporters know, is exactly how the subject would want it. And who hasn't seen the Easter Egg and heard the subject's one word comment on the topic?!

A really badly written book in more ways than one, not remotely "definitive", as its publisher claims, and a big opportunity missed.

Caveat emptor
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 29, 2011 1:18 PM BST


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