Catchaser is an Elmore story, published 1982 – one of his potboilers on the whole but it has its moments.
The first chapter has a great line thought by the hero, an ex-Marine, busted by divorce and running a motel, looking at a sozzled private eye who is trying to negotiate a cheap rate for a room..
“He looked high risk. The kinda guy would fall asleep smoking in bed.”
Lately, The Shed has been holed up looking at the world mainly through Elmore and Gogglebox and finding them comforting in a similar way. Both of them are mines of the sort of hard-won wisdom which makes half the world laugh out loud. You can imagine the Elmore line coming from Mr Malone of Manchester, or Dai in Swansea, or Jenny and Lee in Hull. Or even, come to think of it, Giles in Oxfordshire. Life in The Shed gives us an empathy with Giles.
Gogglebox actually launched a few months before Elmore died but he would surely have loved it.
Last time we looked, the Siddiqui brothers summed up the business of burying bad news as like taking your shoes off after farting in the lift: confuse the issue a little.
And Jenny and Lee spoke for a city watching a former deputy prime minister of theirs fumble helplessly through a presentation on Yorkshire produce …
“At least you can tell he’s from Yorkshire.”
“You can tell he’s from Hull. Common as fuck.”
Watching Prescott try to pack sausages, Baasit Siddiqui said: “Those fingers were made for punching.”
The Siddiqui boys are whip-smart. How about when they dubbed the heir to a biscuit empire as the one who put the knob in hobknob?
But rivalling them in sharps lately is Sophie in Blackpool who said once – and we can’t even remember what about – just her laconic comment:
“You wanna play with the boys, you’re gonna get your ass tickled.”
That line could have gone to one of the casino girls in Glitz or the shotgun mommas in Justified.
Justified was the last of Elmore’s great works, a tv series which he helped to draft, on the basis of a couple of stories about a sharp-shooting marshal in outlaw country in somewhere close to contemporary Kentucky.
He did not choose all the music but he was reported as loving it and the Shed would guess it as being the soundtrack closest to his tastes when he died, at 88.
There is a Justified CD, which is a good selection of fringe Americana, but the full soundtrack also includes a lot of straight country worth tracking down.
You can find most of the information, including scene context, at a website called tunefind.com – www.tunefind.com/
For easier printing out, there is a simpler list on a website run by Italian subtitle writers who work on American series. Find the site by googling Italiansubsnet or go straight to their Justified track list at
The opening theme tune, Long Hard Times To Come, was an Elmore favourite, apparently. Can’t say if he suggested it or just picked it but he apparently got friendly with the band, Gangstagrass, a New York two-tone outfit, picking up on quite a long tradition of redneck-and-rap crossover. Best example the Shed can think of would be the version of Snoop Dogg’s Gin’n’Juice, which The Gourds have been doing since 1994. The Gourds were pretty good in general: broken up for now though. Google for Gourds and Snoop to find this …