Showing posts from 2014

Lists of the Year: Films, Music and Honeys


(I've asterisked the ones that haven't had a general UK release yet)

1. Leviathan
2. Eastern Boys
3. Under The Skin
4. Still The Water*
5. Girlhood*
6. Ida
7. Her
8. Horse Money*
9. Mommy*
10. The Possibilities Are Endless

Runners-up: The Tribe*, The Golden Dream, Tom At The Farm, Maps To The Stars
Best actor: Agata Kulesza for Ida
Biggest disappointment: Two Days, One Night/Inherent Vice*
Worst actor: Dorothy Atkinson for Mr Turner
Best scene: the extended party/house invasion in Eastern Boys
Worst scene: Dominic West’s appalling dance moves in Pride


NB: I did this list before D'Angelo beyoncé'd his album, but Black Messiah is obviously incredible and in my top ten if I could be bothered to rejig it.

Ten Albums:
St Vincent - St Vincent
Schoolboy Q - Oxymoron
Owen Pallett - In Conflict
Big Freedia - Just Be Free
Willie Watson - Folk Singer Vol. 1
Perfume Genius - Too Bright
Hurray For The Riff Raff - Small Town Heroes
Mac DeMarco - Sa…

Lord Monckton and the 20,000 Lays

Hold your noses as we consider the latest hateful comments made by Christopher Walter Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, former advisor to Lady Thatcher (boo!), climate change denier (boo!), homophobe (boo!) and inventor of the Eternity puzzle (bo… hang on, what?).

We’ll come on to the Eternity puzzle later, because it’s incredible. First, let’s look and laugh at Chris’s article for WorldNet Daily earlier this week, in which the hereditary peer bravely tilts at the windmill of homosexuality and posits that gays are evil because of AIDS and sodomy and drugs and look he just doesn’t like it, OK? He also spends a lolsome paragraph fretting about what LGBTQ stands for and decides to call all non-straight people QWERTYs. Ziiiiing! That’ll show us!

Let it be noted that, as usual, Monckton’s beef is with gay men - not, say, lesbians. The locus for this particular fear in straight men is, as ever, the ol’ back door: the homophobic man does not fear or hate, or even consider the exi…

Dulce et decorum choc-fest

The Sainsbury’s Christmas ad has arrived, and you will no doubt already be aware that it takes for its setting the lone heartwarming episode in a war that decimated a generation of men one hundred years ago. The football game that united enemy sides on Christmas Day of 1914 was a short-lived but touching truce whose legend has grown stronger over the years, even inspiring a syrupy film in 2005. In the Sainsbury’s advert, two wide-eyed young men in the twinky vein of Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon slip each other an illicit treat on Christmas Day, the memory of which will remain with them for some time after both sides have resumed their conflict, perhaps even up until their death by spade, grenade or bayonet the next day or year. The advert doesn’t say so of course, but we are rather led to hope that these dewy-faced teens are not among the reported 888,246 British troops or the estimated 2,037,000 Germans who were murdered in the war. Chances are that they would have been, obvious…

I'm Telling You Why - John Lewis Is Coming To Town

The John Lewis advert has finally aired, marking, at long last, the start of the long and thrilling mudslide towards Christmas. Laddies and gentlewomen, permission has now been granted from on high to start planning your Secret Santas, begarlanding your work computers with tinsel, and anxiously giving your parents notice that you’ve only been able to obtain a few days’ leave so will be arriving early on Christmas Eve and leaving late on Boxing Day you’re afraid, there’s nothing you can do about it.
I don’t know about you, but as soon as I saw the new John Lewis Christmas advert (I’m lying, I haven’t seen it), I immediately wired J.L. ten quid via PayPal in return for nothing at all, merely because they do such a great job of just being themselves. And I bunged a crisp new Jane Austen to a penguins charity, too, because I loved Elijah Wood in Happy Feet.
Don’t you just love money? Sorry, I mean chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Just the smell of cold hard cash and cloves is enough t…

Which Character From FRIENDS are you?

Are you black? You’re Aisha Tyler.

Are you straight? Thank God. Please proceed.

Do you lock up the coffee shop that you own in Manhattan every night, wondering why love continues to elude you, why you remain friendless and scorned every day, when all you have ever wanted to do is bring happiness and joy to people, which you consider, after all, that you have succeeded in doing in this friendly, colourful establishment that you own, with its large cups of coffee, its comfortable seats and musical guests –and do you then go home to your perfectly agreeable apartment in Brooklyn, which no-one condescends to visit, in which you have not received a single unpaid-for sexual favour in the last five years, and do you stare at your now-thinning hair in your bathroom mirror and recall your teenage years in Düsseldorf, how happy you were as a perky young punk, hanging out in the park with your friends and your dog, Hanno, and listening to Die Toten Hosen on a big boombox for which you had saved …

Robin Williams In Neverland

Mrs Doubtfire was an important film for me because it was the first film I saw in a cinema that I recognised not to be very good. When you're a child, everything you see at the cinema, pretty much, is brilliant - or at least, it was for me. How could it not be? Getting your ticket, finding your seat, the lights going down; then, the curtains would part, then there were always the same adverts, for ice-cream and popcorn, a couple of trailers, and then the lights went back up, briefly, and then switched off, and the cinema screen seemed to re-jig its size. A lion roared, someone whispered shhhhh!, and you were off. You're ten. Ah, Wayne's World. This is going to be brilliant.

Mrs Doubtfire was a huge success at the time and everybody in my school had seen it, and so I was naturally very excited to see it at the cinema. I was twelve. From the start something seemed wrong in the film; it was tonally adrift. Robin Williams was presented as a cool Dad and Sally Field as the sta…

Lee Mead: One Year On

Rejoice! Today we celebrate the one year anniversary of  this interview with actor Lee Mead - quite possibly the funniest thing I have ever read. I feel about this interview the way I used to feel about Alice Munro ten years ago: why don't more people know about this? Something this wonderful and brilliant can't be allowed to stay so little known - it should be shared; its brilliance should be shouted from the rooftops; we should be talking about this every day. I don't know how I will celebrate future anniversaries of the publication of this interview with Lee Mead. Perhaps there could be a staging of the events described in his answer to the final question (for this is the pot of gold at the end of the interview rainbow). Perhaps we could all tweet catchphrases from it. Maybe I could go to schools and give lessons about it to some eager children, who will always remember the interview thenceforth and talk about it glowingly to their own children and grandchildren in year…

The Black Sheep, by Joanna Newsom

T’was a humdrum, cloud-bespotted day
Rumblesome skies unfurled, turbid and grey
And the air was charged with smoke, was charged with sulphur and with hay
As I tripped like a sea-washed shingle down yon rocky terrain

The whippoorwill cawed slyly in the sighing willow trees
And the long grass heaved with the bulk of the breeze
And as it blew, it grew, and drew toward my feet, toward my knees
So I hummed like a mariner; chanted my larky, garbled refrain

And as to pick some dandelions and mint and sage I knelt
I chanced upon a woe-behobbled beast, upon whose charcoal pelt
The brunt of weather and of hunger was sorely felt
I asked him whence his wool had gone, and sadly he did explain:

“Aye sir, nay sir – I do shiver verily to tell
This coat of mine, my garment, my friend, was taken for to sell,
By my master and his cruel dame, and the little boys who dwell
In the crumble-down cottage, down the honeysuckle lane”

We cleft our ways; I watched the path he took
As he limped amongst the poplar …

Where AMERICAN HUSTLE Fits in the Pantheon of American Things

1.  Tune
2.  Boy
3.  Pastoral
4.  Airlines
5.  Psycho
6.  Apparel
7.  Beauty
8.  History X
9.  Hustle
10. Woman
11. Pie
12. Idiot
13. Idol

Not ranked: Express; Graffiti