Mark Grassick

Freelance writer, screenwriter, editor and author

Latest articles

The Virtues – Stephen Graham is superb in Shane Meadows' new drama

In this game, it’s rare that an interview is truly harrowing. But when Miranda Sawyer spoke to Shane Meadows about his new Channel 4 series The Virtues, I don’t think anyone involved – except maybe Meadows – could have anticipated the dark places upon which their conversation would touch. What was abundantly clear from that interview is that Meadows knows deep psychological pain, the kind that leaves a scar on your soul. We might have already been able to deduce that from films such as Dead Man’

Chernobyl – Sky Atlantic's new miniseries is startlingly grim

In our May preview, we warned that Chernobyl probably wasn’t going to be a laugh riot. That turned out to be something of an understatement, as the season premiere of Sky Atlantic and HBO’s new miniseries unleashed its dark, despondent chaos. The opening scene alone deposits a crushingly heavy boulder of doom. Two years after the disaster, Jared Harris’s Valery Legasov sits at his kitchen table, recounting the mistakes made at the Vladimir I. Lenin nuclear power station on 25 April 1986. In his

How To Wash Out Pomade (& 5 Easy-to-Remove Pomades)

How do you remove pomade from your hair? Every man has their story. A couple of years ago, my wife and I were on our merry way to spend a long weekend in Barcelona. At the airport, I discovered I’d forgotten to pack one of my many tubs of ludicrously expensive wax, clay, paste and pomade, so I made a detour to buy another one to tide me over. The old-school pomade I picked up was one of those tins of oil-based, heavy duty gloop that goes in and doesn’t come out. At least, not without a fight. I

Josh Ritter on Speaking Out and Dressing with Intent

The first time I met Josh Ritter, he was a young man bashfully accepting the effusive praise of a room full of Irish music fans. Forty minutes earlier, few people in that room had even heard his name, but every single one left as a devoted fan, copies of his two self-released albums tucked in their pockets. With every return visit, the venues got bigger, the crowds got louder and Ritter transformed from a man who blushed at each round of applause into a consummate entertainer. By the time his th

Murder By Death’s Adam Turla on Space Operas and Haunted Hotels

What’s in a name? Cannibal Corpse, Cradle of Filth, Morbid Angel… you don’t need to be a genius to have a guess at what they’re going to sound like. Some might assume a band that would call itself Murder By Death would fit in the same bracket, but the Indiana quintet couldn’t sound more different to the punishing assault of death metal. In fact, for a band that can prove impossible to define, it’s something of a masterstroke to choose a name that completely wrongfoots listeners from the off. You

How to Style a Quiff: 10 Iconic Celebrity Quiffs

The quiff has had one hell of a resurgence in the last ten years. For a while, it dropped out of sight, save for some dedicated rockabilly folk who kept it alive alongside brothel creepers, bowling shirts and enough pomade to squeeze a whale through a keyhole. Now, everyone from soccer players to movie stars have sky-high styles that would make Elvis weep with pride. We decided to pay homage to the most iconic pompadours in hair history. How to Style a Quiff in 6 Easy Steps Andrew Fitzsimons, c

Robin Wilson's new cheerful experience

No decade feels special when you’re in it. That’s especially true of the 90s, a decade that felt dated, uncool and unfashionable even when we were knee-deep in undercuts, flannel and Matchbox 20. For those of us who were there first time around, it’s inconceivable that when the fashion and cultural carousel came back around to 1990, it didn’t just carry on to the 00s. But the 90s are back with a bang, bringing with them fashion that you’d tried to forget and a whole host of bands you once though

Best Dressed Men at the Oscars 2019

In case you recently found yourself vacationing on Mars or comfortably ensconced under a rock, the Oscars happened on Sunday night in LA. The 91st hosting of film’s biggest annual night out endured a bumpy road en route to the Dolby Theater, but the stars dutifully arrived dolled up as ever, some very impressively so. And while Rami Malek and Mahershala Ali took the big acting awards, there were many more winners on the red carpet…

Remembering Albert Finney

Today’s film industry seems to allow little room for anyone to be larger than life. Watching the speeches veer between politely dull and uncomfortably self-aggrandising at last night’s BAFTAs, you can’t help but pine for the unpredictability – for better and worse – of yesteryear’s more vividly drawn stars. I didn’t know Albert Finney, who sadly passed away on Thursday, but there was little about the man that ever came across as blank or boring. Finney the man always seemed as fascinating…

‘Hunters In The Dark’ – True Detective season 3 episode 6 review

There are elements to this season of True Detective that work and some that are starting to feel like they’re getting in the way. It may be that they’re all heading towards the same point on the horizon but so far, some feel slightly irritating and unnecessary, like that passenger who wants to pull in and use the toilet when you’re 20 minutes away from your destination (full disclosure: that’s usually me). ‘Hunters In The Dark’ is a hard episode to review for that very reason. I feel myself groa

Dylan, Springsteen and Trapper Schoepp…

We all have heroes, but not all of us get to co-write a song with them. Trapper Schoepp got to do just that on his latest record, Primetime Illusion, and not with just any old hero. No, Schoepp has co-written a song with none other than Bob Dylan. The young songwriter from Wisconsin has three great rock and roll records under his belt already, but combining with Dylan across the decades to complete a long, lost song seems to have raised his game even further. Schoepp took some time out of a trip…

10 Best Beards and Moustaches in Rock Music

Touring is a tough business, especially if you value personal hygiene. For most bands and musicians, long stints on the road make showers a luxury and shaving a distant memory. That might be why so many wandering minstrels through history have had such impressive beards. We previously ran through the actors who, in our humble opinion, boasted the finest beards and moustaches, so it’s only fitting that we turn our attention to those fine fellows whose facial hair is as impressive as their musical

What to binge watch this weekend (and New Year’s) – Cheers

Just before Christmas, my wife and I welcomed our second child into the world. Needless to say, the occasion was a joyous one and our daughter has been as well-behaved and easy-going as a tiny, remorseless, burping, pooping and feeding machine can be. We loved her immediately, but good God is it exhausting having two kids, especially at Christmas. Life is now a kind of waking stupor (even when we’re asleep) wherein anything that requires more than minimal brain power is overwhelming and upsettin

HOT CORN Awards | The best TV of 2018… The full list

20. FOREVER – It’s not exactly new to examine how even the most exciting relationships turn stale, but Forever took the concept and came at it from a completely unexpected angle. To say any more would ruin the impact of the superb second episode – Amazon gave strict instructions to press on what they could and couldn’t say prior to release, which was a little out of the ordinary for a dramedy about marital ennui. Twists and turns aside, Forever was frequently charming, sometimes moving and alway

Bill Heck on the Tender, Dusty Romance at the Heart of Buster Scruggs

Picture a cowboy. Some of you might see John Wayne, walking across a saloon like his legs are made of tin. Some of you might have conjured up Clint Eastwood, the tail end of a smoke clinging on to the corner of his lip, a dirty poncho draped around his shoulders. Or the more romantically inclined might see a ruggedly handsome young man in denim and boots, the kind of man who’s seen hardship and cruelty, but somehow kept it at bay. Bill Heck fits firmly into that latter category. In ‘The Gal Who

'Janet(s)' – The Good Place season 3 episode 9 review

Have you ever felt like the universe is listening to you? Have you ever said, “I’d give my right arm for some pizza” and then walked right past someone handing out free slices of pizza? Have you ever taken a free slice of pizza from a stranger on the street and thought, “I really hope this isn’t drugged” and then not woken up tied to a chair in an abandoned warehouse? Have you ever sat dejected after a crappy date with a 4-foot sack of racist jokes and cat puke (who claimed to be 6’4” and a dead

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Fantastic Negrito

Most of us have one story to tell. Xavier Dphrepaulezz has several, any one of which would be more than enough for the rest of us. Whatever he’s been through (crime, near-stardom, near-death), the word that keeps coming back is “survivor”. One of 15 children of a Somali-Caribbean immigrant, Dphrepaulezz has risen and fallen enough times to cause serious motion sickness. His brush with fame came in the 90s, signed as Xavier to Interscope records until a car crash broke both his arms and legs…

If you only stream one thing this week: Soul Of America

In Alanis Morissette’s ‘Ironic’, a man wins the lottery and dies the next day. Another takes his first ever flight and dies in a plane crash. To Alanis, these situations – while ironically not being ironic – are as shit as it gets, the brief tastes of joy that bring the whole thing crashing down. And while Alanis would no doubt consider soul singer Charles Bradley’s life in keeping with the characters in her song, the whole thing overlooks the value of even the briefest joy and the price…
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