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Showing posts from 2016

Forget it, Jake: thoughts on the year 2016

Earlier this year, the famous man Giles Coren opined:
My friends, whether you are having a good or a bad 2016 should come down to what you are doing with your life NOT WHAT'S IN THE FUCKING NEWS — Giles Coren (@gilescoren) November 11, 2016 His tweet missed a couple of extremely obvious points - namely, that what you are doing with your life could very well be associated with the fucking news, and that there is such a thing as compassion. His angry response (dig the all-caps and the swearword!) to the genuine anguish that people were expressing soon after the electoral victory of a stupid and dangerous man to the most powerful job in the world is just one of the reasons I, along with so many other people, have reached the end of this year feeling drained. It feels like we now have to contend with two forces, both of which take their emotional, psychological, intellectual toll: the first is that world events seem to have reached a peak of horror lately, and the second is that ther…

2016 Top Tens

Image
Films

The AssassinThings To ComeEmbrace of the SerpentElleLittle MenThe OrnithologistThe WitchLove & FriendshipYour NameVictoria
Albums

Coloring Book - Chance The Rapper / Telefone - NonameBlonde - Frank OceanAtrocity Exhibition - Danny BrownMalibu - Anderson.PaakA Mulder do Fim do Mundo - Elza SoaresEmily's D+evolution - Esperanza SpaldingStill Brazy - YGThe Life of Pablo - Kanye WestBucket List Project - SabaWe Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service - A Tribe Called Quest
Honeys
1. Antoine Griezmann, from football



2. Anthony Joshua, from boxing





3. Nassim Si Ahmed, from Marseille (Netflix) 


4. Leonardo Bonucci, from football


5. Paul Hamy, from THE ORNITHOLOGIST


6. Nilbio Torres, from EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT



7. Daniel Goodfellow, from diving

8. Greg Casar, from Austin, TX council

Paterson; or, Life in the Woods; or, Bad Luck Fetty Wap!

Paterson, Jim Jarmusch's new movie after Only Lovers Left Alive, about a bus-driving poet in New Jersey, would seem to bear few similarities with its predecessor. Only Lovers Left Alive told a story of two vampires, lovers,  who are at odds with the 21st century and spend their days reliving their memories. But Paterson is in fact as much of a fantasy as Only Lovers Left Alive, rehashing that film's themes of disconnection from the modern world and fetishisation of the past, and it fails on exactly the same artistic grounds, being mannered, fusty, self-regarding in tone, hollow in its intellectual proposition, and politically vacant or regressive.

If you're paying attention you should have noticed one of the film's big themes before it's pointed out to you - but for the slower viewer, Jarmusch has it underlined in a moment of conversation at the old-timey, TV-free neighbourhood bar that Paterson (Adam Driver) frequents. Namely: Paterson is completely analogue in a …

Volunteering and doing

Hiya - in the days after the election of Donald Trump I heard lots of people saying that they want to do something, and I think a lot of people are confused about what, exactly, to do. I don't really have the answers, but I thought I'd just put down a few starting ideas of actions you can take. One thing I think we have seen in Brexit and then again in the election in the USA of Donald Trump, on a platform of social division targeting women and minorities, is a sense of disunity. I think people whom I've spoken to are looking to establish a feeling of connection, and I think part of the answer to the disaffection that enabled these political events to happen could be to get involved somehow. Here are some opportunities for that. This isn't intended to be preachy but helpful: I certainly need to do more myself to be involved, both politically and in my community. (I will update this post with other ideas as they're suggested to me)

Join a political party that isn'…

A few things I need to do before I get round to watching 'The Crown' on Netflix

Watch all of Adam Sandler's films in reverse alphabetical orderRead Infinite Jest, twiceVote Conservative in a general election, as an act of protest against UKIPChange my dating profile to say I love going on long walks, but also staying inDo an M.A. at Birkbeck on Drake and memesWhile my son and I are having breakfast one day, stab myself in the elbow with my knife and look at him with tears in my eyes as blood seeps into my sleeves, while saying to him, "What is the worth of a person, in this life? In this world?"Write an article for BuzzFeed ranking all the episodes of Carpool Karaoke to dateGet a steady girlfriendCatch up on GleePost that birthday card to my grandmotherHang up my Keep Calm and Carry On poster in my bedroomChange my Twitter handle to something spooky in time for EasterEnjoy a little getaway to Uganda with a coterie of fuckbuddiesAccept a knighthood, for services to financeWatch a TED talk on 3D printingWatch every single piece of filmed work featurin…

Tips For Bathing Baby

We've been receiving a lot of requests for tips as to how to bathe your baby properly, especially since one of the community members shared a comment mentioning the 'All-Over Baby Cleanse' on a post about baby health. So, without further ado, here are some guidelines for giving your child the All-Over Baby Cleanse. Please remember: these are just guidelines, but it's extremely important to follow them very closely or your parenting will suffer and your child's upbringing may be impaired.

Place baby in the bathtub. His or her dumpy little body should sit up to about 2/3 height in warm, soapy water. You can test the temperature with a bath thermometer, available from all good chemists, or by dipping your elbow in the water. But don't fret overly: if the water is too warm, you will in any case be alerted to this by your baby's helpful shrieks. Mother nature thinks of everything!

Take a minute to gaze at your baby, sitting innocently and a little stupidly in th…

No It Won't

Could anything be more brazen and mendacious than the Tory party, in their annual conference, parroting Sam Cooke's Civil Rights anthem 'A Change Is Gonna Come'? Theresa May employed the phrase six times in her speech today, making it more than a mere coincidence. Is a change going to come? Well, in a year that has seen political lies, manipulation and distortion reach a truly gut-quaking nadir, this has to count as one of the biggest daddies of all.

When Sam Cooke recorded 'A Change Is Gonnna Come' in 1964, it was as a direct result of personal injustices he had undergone, being turned away from a hotel with his wife because of the colour of his skin. He saw the racial injustice all around him, and was inspired by Bob Dylan's Blowing In The Wind to write a protest song of his own. Cooke's song is personal from the get-go: "I" is the very first word you hear. This "I" relates specific experiences: an unhallowed birth, being chased away f…

I've Suddenly Thought of a Way To Nail My Next Work Assessment

Boss: OK Caspar, so, thanks for attending this session to review your performance over the last year. Me: You’re very welcome! Boss: So, comparing your results against the professional goals that you set yourself last year, you stated in your objectives that… Me: No I didn’t! Boss: What? Me: I don’t know who told you that, or where you got this, the, this so-called fact document or whatever! Boss: We went over your objectives in April, it’s on the work intranet. Me: Ask anyone, ask my mum or the guy who works on reception, great guy, phenomenal guy, his name’s Ignacio, or Chavez, I never said that I would or wouldn’t do something, and I’m a man of my word, ask anyone who’s worked with me, bet you haven’t. Boss: Caspar. Please let’s look at the document. You stated that you would implement a new system for the whole team at work to share documents and files more easily. Now, in October you just sent an email round to everyone… Me: Oh OK, here we go, can’t wait to hear how this stor…

On Almodovar and Munro

Alice Munro would not seem to be a perfect fit for Pedro Almodovar, whose new film Julieta is an adaptation of three short stories by Munro. Unlike the work of Sarah Polley, who adapted Munro’s story ‘The Bear Came Over The Mountain’ for her film Away From Her, Almodovar’s oeuvre shares few thematic or stylistic concerns with Munro’s. But Julieta feels in many ways faithful to the source material while staying true to Almodovar himself, and the key differences that exist between the two artists’ versions are revelatory about their approaches.

An early scene in Julieta, and in ‘Chance’, the first of the Alice Munro short stories from which it is drawn, sees the young protagonist taking a night train, which is forced to come to a halt after a man throws himself in front of it. The young woman, in the following minutes and hours, recovering from the shock of this death, meets the man who will become her partner and the father to her daughter. Thus far the two accounts of the event are br…

Notes On Embarrassment

Is it possible to die of embarrassment? Wikipedia has a fun page devoted to the topic of death from laughter which, among several notable deaths due to hilarity, lists Chrysippus, the 3rd Century philosopher, as having conked it when he got the giggles upon espying his donkey eating some figs. My own father watched The Big Lebowski in the week after he had been told to take it easy following an operation, and the film caused him to laugh so much that he could no longer tell if he was crying from laughter or from the physical pain in his stomach.

But there doesn't seem to be anything online about actual deaths due to embarrassment - and, to paraphrase Adam Mars-Jones in his memoir Kid Gloves, if something is on the internet it may or may not exist, but if it isn't on the internet it doesn't exist. It surprises me that literal death from embarrassment--or mortification, signifying putting the flesh to death--hasn't been known to happen, because I have personally felt on …

How To Apologise To Your Child Today

My child is two - and, given that no monogamous lesbian has ever got pregnant by mistake, his was one of the most planned births ever to have happened. His mothers and I spent days and days, over the course of years, discussing everything from his name to his education, from the sharing of holidays to what will happen to him if one or more of us were to die. We agreed on all of it, and wrote it down in an adorably unofficial agreement that we all signed, less so that our decisions could exist in law, but more so that we would have a record of our promises to each other that we would stand by.

Today, I want to apologise to my son, for this occurrence that we did not predict, that we could not have predicted when we first started imagining his existence six years ago. He's only two, so he has no real understanding of the events, but I think it's important to talk to him, however lightly, about the way we have voted in a future of suspicious disconnection for him, a Europe unlike…

Free Radicals

Now we fight. Now I know radicalisation. Now I am a fundamentalist too, more than ever, ready to take up arms to defend my brothers and sisters who have been, who are always being, attacked. I will be a warrior in the battle for our rights - and let me be clear that the object of our struggle is not acceptance by mainstream straight society, but defeat of mainstream society, which aims its violence and hatred at anything and anyone that stands in the way of straight male domination.

Homophobes are misogynists. They hate the same thing in gays that they hate in women, which is that they cannot own us, we are a rebuke to their sense of their own power, we are not like them.

The attack in Orlando isn't about you, I hear. No, it isn't about me. The people who died aren't me. I am alive. But the people who died are my people, are our people. No-one is claiming this attack, no-one wants to own a massacre. But this is an attack on all of us, and it is not isolated. I've never…

No-Home Movie

It may be a sign of the times: at the moment you can see three films in British cinemas that centre on a threat to a home or community. Alice Winocour’s film Disorder is a more straightforward variation on the storied Home Invasion genre - but The Club, Pablo Larrain’s evisceration of the Catholic church, and Robert Eggers' horror film The Witch, also play on this theme in different ways.The differences between the films - in the way they utilise this format, the way they reflect our fears and insecurities - is telling about contemporary political concerns.

Disorder focuses on Vincent, an ex-soldier with PTSD, played by Matthias Schoenaerts, who takes a security job looking after the wife and son of a shady businessman in their luxury villa. For reasons which aren't entirely clear - and which, to its detriment, the film doesn't investigate - the house will become the scene of a vicious siege, aiming to harm the businessman's wife and child. As the film progresses, Vinc…

Old Queer Cinema

Yesterday the BFI published its list of the 30 Best LGBT Films. You can see the top 30 here and read invidivual top 10s by contributors to the poll here: the latter is inevitably more interesting as consensus polls like this always end up pushing out more eclectic choices.

At first when I saw the poll I was excited, and wanted to discuss the results with friends, and then over the course of the day I found myself growing sort of peeved with it, and then returning to my feeling that it was a great idea, and then getting churlishly pissed off all over again. My criticisms are as follows.

Polls like these amputate critical discourse and, in my view, increasingly fail to be the starting point for discussion and debate that they should be. What does it mean to us that Todd Haynes' CAROL is now deemed by a panel of film professionals to be the greatest LGBT film of all time? Can you compare PRIDE (which just missed out on one of the top 30 spots) and TROPICAL MALADY? What is the definit…