Thursday, December 16, 2004
I cannot believe this - though my memory is hazy on some I know have seen all these films! and many are real treats. Okay, this was described/warned as being the cheesy fest or sentimentality but who cares!
79 My Fair Lady 1965 - blubbed like a good 'un even though Rex Harrison plays a misogynistic so-and-so. Cos when Audrey walks in at the end of "Accustomed to her face" you can't help but let it all go.
78 Reach For The Sky 1956 - another of the saturday afternoon/sunday tea-time films that parents and nana made me watch (shucks, still enjoyed it!)
77 Love Actually 2003 - I do not care how unfashionable it is to admit it, hormonal or not I sobbed all the way through my first viewing of this and even though it was the night I was truly busted for being cranky Rullsenberg when hungry I still think its good at its job. Effective Xmas rom-com. You will like at least one of the story-lines and that HAS to be value for money.
76 Ghost 1990 - Hilariously, given how unsentimental Cloud and Rullsenberg are, this was our first trip to the movies together (one of our next ones was "Wild At Heart" on Boxing Day at Telford's multiplex - which gives you some idea of our eclectic taste!). Still a good weepy.
75 Four Weddings And A Funeral 1994 - Okay, so I have only seen the last half of this but anything that can get Auden's great poetry to the masses has to be good. Sniff...
74 Oliver! 1968 - the death of Nancy. Need I say more?
73 Rebecca 1940 - Mrs Danvers and her "love" for the first Mrs de Winter, the eponymous Rebecca, still gives me the heebees...
72 Bambi 1942 - Bambi's mother dies. Again, need I say more? A child's first brush with mortality. Can never pass a wooded area without saying "bambis live there".
71 The Big Country 1958 - Epic in every sense.
70 The Great Dictator 1941 - Actually rather dull, but then Cloud is more of a Laurel and Hardy fan... (me, I'm Buster Keaton. Cue link to Buffy... )
Although media interest trailed pretty quickly (too much emphasis on reading it as Potter-lite) it has been a real treat for Thursdays. Good job its Xmas next week! (erm, of course that would make sense if the schedules are any good - I feel heavy amounts of X-files and Buffys being pulled to assist our amusement!)
Not often that I would promote a product, but Word magazine this month (Morrissey on the front cover) is worth purchasing just for the Tom McCrae track on the CD.
Of course our very special "George" compilation from Xmas 04 has some of the best ever Xmas songs on it, but this is well up there and I wish had been available sooner!
Friday, December 03, 2004
Is this the most pretentious film ever made?
Clearly you have never seen or heard of Russian Ark if you answer "yes" to this rhetorical question.
In summary, besides the fact that I am still struggling with the traumatising image of Jason Schwartzman suckling on the dark hairy breast of a long-haired Jude Law, this was weird enough to be worth seeing; funny enough to be worth staying for; and intellectually stimulating enough to make me want to read existential theory (or at least ask Mr Cloud to explain it).
And as an aside, I was much amused to find that Jason Schwartzman is a cousin to Nicolas Cage (that's a shout-out to you, Christine!), since Talia Shire - of Godfather fame - is JS's mother. That Coppola clan gets everywhere...
87 Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi 1983 - yep, certainly did see this one, though whether this was at the time of release...? Mr Cloud takes much pleasure in having not seen any of the Star Wars trilogy when they were originally released, but instead only saw them during a marathon home-viewing group-drinking session in the 1980s (we do not talk about those later made travesties... I'm with Tim Beasley on this one
You weren't there at the beginning, you don't know what it was like!
85 Lawrence Of Arabia 1962 - just 'cos I have seen it, doesn't make it good. It's visually stunning, but rather like spending too much time in the sun. You could be doing better things.
83 Pinocchio 1940 - still freaking out about turning into a donkey...
81 Close Encounters Of The Third Kind 1978 - I like mashed potatoes... but The X-files were better.
88 Mr Deeds Goes To Town 1936 - in the distant past I watched many, many black and white movies. The likelihood is that this was one of them
86 The Dambusters 1955 - Darn, I guess we have all subconsciously seen this, but not being a war-loving boy it's repressed from my active memory
84 A Bug's Life 1999 - seen it in parts, would like to see more
82 The Citadel 1939 - another of those "reckon I must have" or "only got a partial memory" films
89 The Swiss Family Robinson 1960 - Nah, nadda memory of even knowing about this one
80 Die Another Day 2002 - I gave up on Bond movies as a good investment of my time ages ago. If they get onto TV, generally I see them. Last one I really enjoyed was the Jonathan Pryce one (quelle surprise) Tomorrow Never Dies
More on my movie history next week folks!
Monday, November 29, 2004
100 The Magnificent Seven 1960 (every blooming year when growing up!)
99 Gladiator 2000 (several times, including on the big screen - obviously though I cannot beat Lisette's big screen experiences with Mr Crowe... ahem)
98 Cinderella 1951 (Ah the Disney visits to the Odeon and Futurist cinemas in Nottingham!)
97 The Private Life Of Henry VIII 1934 (TV - a Sunday afternoon... bit boring actually)
93 Chicken Run 2000 (went to the pictures to see this; no shame in being one of the oldest in the audience without children)
92 The King And I 1956 (my mum was an enormous fan of mid-century musical theatre and movies, so you can imagine how well I knew this stuff. What's not to love about Yul Brynner stomping around in big pantaloons?!)
91 The Exorcist 1974 (Mark Kermode's fetishisation of this film aside, it IS a freaky and unnerving film. Should be on every Catholic's favourite film list - no irony intended)
90 You Only Live Twice 1967 (bizarrely, because I loved the theme song, one of my favourite Bond movies. Mr Cloud, yes, I hear ya: I have now learnt you do not need to worry about missing the start of a Bond film to pick up the storyline...)
95 Notting Hill 1999 (Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts --- you would have thought I'd have seen this by now wouldn't you?)
94 The Lion King 1994 (Somehow this never appealed to me; it now being a stage musical doesn't exactly encourage me to do so either)
Between marking assignments and fending of cough, colds, and hiccups (the last was our beloved Mr Cloud's problem of the weekend), I did manage to sneak a view of some of the C4 list "Ultimate Film".
What a refreshing change! A list that was not already selective before starting to gather votes (from a goldfish-brained amnesiac public). It was actually rather thrilling to not be able to predict the entire list. Let alone to see the power once wrought by the "genius" that was Anna Neagle... okay so on that last point even my nan would have groaned slightly (now Ronald Coleman, I know she had a thing for him!)
Just to draw a few general points from the list, its interesting to note the presence of musicals, romances and romantic dramas / comedies, family action films, and animation.
In other words, despite all pursuit of the contrary, boys aged 18-25 are not a sufficiently dedicated cinema attending demographic to really 'break the box office'.
More musings on this fascinating list through the week (subject as always to the pesky intervention of work...)
100 The Magnificent Seven 1960 - Estimated Admissions 7.7m
99 Gladiator 2000 - Estimated Admissions 7.8m
98 Cinderella 1951 - Estimated Admissions 7.9m
97 The Private Life Of Henry VIII 1934 - Estimated Admissions 7.9m
96 The Matrix Reloaded 2003 - Estimated Admissions 7.96m
95 Notting Hill 1999 - Estimated Admissions 8.05m
94 The Lion King 1994 - Estimated Admissions 8.08m
93 Chicken Run 2000 - Estimated Admissions 8.12m
92 The King And I 1956 - Estimated Admissions 8.2m
91 The Exorcist 1974 - Estimated Admissions 8.3m
90 You Only Live Twice 1967 - Estimated Admissions 8.3m
89 The Swiss Family Robinson 1960 - Estimated Admissions 8.3m
88 Mr Deeds Goes To Town 1936 - Estimated Admissions 8.3m
87 Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi 1983 - Estimated Admissions 8.35m
86 The Dambusters 1955 - Estimated Admissions 8.4m
85 Lawrence Of Arabia 1962 - Estimated Admissions 8.4m
84 A Bug's Life 1999 - Estimated Admissions 8.41m
83 Pinocchio 1940 - Estimated Admissions 8.5m
82 The Citadel 1939 - Estimated Admissions 8.5m
81 Close Encounters Of The Third Kind 1978 - Estimated Admissions 8.54m
80 Die Another Day 2002 - Estimated Admissions 8.58m
79 My Fair Lady 1965 - Estimated Admissions 8.6m
78 Reach For The Sky 1956 - Estimated Admissions 8.7m
77 Love Actually 2003 - Estimated Admissions 8.76m
76 Ghost 1990 - Estimated Admissions 8.78m
75 Four Weddings And A Funeral 1994 - Estimated Admissions 8.81m
74 Oliver! 1968 - Estimated Admissions 8.9m
73 Rebecca 1940 - Estimated Admissions 8.9m
72 Bambi 1942 - Estimated Admissions 9m
71 The Big Country 1958 - Estimated Admissions 9m
70 The Great Dictator 1941 - Estimated Admissions 9m
69 Live And Let Die 1973 - Estimated Admissions 9m
68 Saturday Night Fever 1978 - Estimated Admissions 9.02m
67 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 1980 - Estimated Admissions 9.09m
66 One Hundred And One Dalmatians 1961 - Estimated Admissions 9.1m
65 Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones 2002 - Estimated Admissions 9.16m
64 Lost Horizon 1937 - Estimated Admissions 9.2m
63 49th Parallel 1941 - Estimated Admissions 9.3m
62 I'm All Right Jack 1959 - Estimated Admissions 9.4m
61 Moonraker 1979 - Estimated Admissions 9.41m
60 High Society 1956 - Estimated Admissions 9.6m
59 One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest 1976 - Estimated Admissions 9.65m
58 For Whom The Bell Tolls 1944 - Estimated Admissions 9.7m
57 Men In Black 1997 - Estimated Admissions 9.73m
56 Finding Nemo 2003 - Estimated Admissions 9.79m
55 Crocodile Dundee 1987 - Estimated Admissions 9.8m
54 A Clockwork Orange 1972 - Estimated Admissions 9.9m
53 Monsters, Inc. 2002 - Estimated Admissions 9.93m
52 Bridget Jones's Diary 2001 - Estimated Admissions 10.15m
51 Superman The Movie 1979 - Estimated Admissions 10.19m
50 Mrs Miniver 1942 - Estimated Admissions 10.2m
49 I Live In Grosvenor Square 1945 - Estimated Admissions 10.3m
48 Carry on Nurse 1959 - Estimated Admissions 10.4m
47 Independence Day 1996 - Estimated Admissions 10.79m
46 The Godfather 1972 - Estimated Admissions 11m
45 The Sting 1974 - Estimated Admissions 11.08m
44 Doctor Zhivago 1967 - Estimated Admissions 11.2m
43 The Guns Of Navarone 1961 - Estimated Admissions 11.4m
42 Piccadilly Incident 1946 - Estimated Admissions 11.5m
41 The Jolson Story 1947 - Estimated Admissions 11.6m
40 Fanny By Gaslight 1944 - Estimated Admissions 11.7m
39 The Towering Inferno 1975 - Estimated Admissions 11.78m
38 Random Harvest 1943 - Estimated Admissions 12m
37 Toy Story 2 2000 - Estimated Admissions 12.18m
36 Doctor In The House 1954 - Estimated Admissions 12.2m
35 The Great Caruso 1951 - Estimated Admissions 12.4m
34 The Spy Who Loved Me 1977 - Estimated Admissions 12.46m
33 The Bridge On The River Kwai 1957 - Estimated Admissions 12.6m
32 The Greatest Show On Earth 1952 - Estimated Admissions 13m
31 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 1983 - Estimated Admissions 13.13m
30 Ben Hur 1959 - Estimated Admissions 13.2m
29 The Blue Lamp 1950 - Estimated Admissions 13.3m
28 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 1999 - Estimated Admissions 13.59m
27 Goldfinger 1964 - Estimated Admissions 13.9m
26 The Third Man 1949 - Estimated Admissions 14m
25 Mary Poppins 1964 - Estimated Admissions 14m
24 Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets 2002 - Estimated Admissions 14.18m
23 The Full Monty 1997 - Estimated Admissions 14.19m
22 Lord Of The Rings The Two Towers 2002 - Estimated Admissions 14.4m
21 The Ten Commandments 1957 - Estimated Admissions 15m
20 The Bells Of St.Mary's 1946 - Estimated Admissions 15.2m
19 The Lord Of The Rings The Return Of The King 2003 - Estimated Admissions 15.22m
18 Thunderball 1966 - Estimated Admissions 15.6m
17 The Courtneys Of Curzon Street 1947 - Estimated Admissions 15.9m
16 Lord Of The Rings The Fellowship Of The Ring 2001 - Estimated Admissions 15.98m
15 Jurassic Park 1993 - Estimated Admissions 16.17m
14 Jaws 1976 - Estimated Admissions 16.2m
13 South Pacific 1958 - Estimated Admissions 16.5m
12 Grease 1978 - Estimated Admissions 17.2m
11 Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone 2001 - Estimated Admissions 17.56m
10 The Seventh Veil 1945 - Estimated Admissions 17.9m
9 The Wicked Lady 1946 - Estimated Admissions 18.4m
8 Titanic 1998 - Estimated Admissions 18.91m
7 The Jungle Book 1968 - Estimated Admissions 19.8m
6 The Best Years Of Our Lives 1947 - Estimated Admissions 20.4m
5 Spring In Park Lane 1948 - Estimated Admissions 20.5m
4 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope 1978 - Estimated Admissions 20.76m
3 Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs 1938 - Estimated Admissions 28m
2 The Sound Of Music 1965 - Estimated Admissions 30m
1 Gone with The Wind 1940 - Estimated Admissions 35m
Thursday, November 25, 2004
The place was heaving and they rocked big style: extended solos aside, nothing ever sagged and when the musicianship is as fine as theirs, you can hardly blame them for grandstanding with their solos!
Monday, November 22, 2004
I can thoroughly recommend the latest venture from Pixar to hit the movie screens.... with one proviso. Ignore the certificate: it is NOT a "U", but rather a very sharp "PG" movie which will mostly bore or baffle anyone under the age of about 8 years old. The violence is quite dramatic and there are some quite adult issues being dealt with here: depression, alienation, self-esteem. I know these can affect children as well, but I suspect that slightly older children will appreciate this more.
These adult themes means it lacks the immediacy of appeal demonstrated by the "Toy Story" movies, but in some respects it is far superior to those. It's very smart, very funny, often quite scary, frequently moving, and ultimately a good thrill: a bit like a James Bond film (from which genre it liberally steals set scenes!)
Craig T. Nelson (who is obviously a major "Who's That Guy?" from his extensive resume) lends a great sense of gravitas to the lead role of Mr. Incredible that certainly deserves some plaudits, but all the cast admirably bring their characters to life through their vocal talents.
Go, enjoy - you do not need to take the kids!
It was probably no great loss to your lief functions but you may have spotted that old Rullsenberg has neither been setting forth her rules or rants recently. Apologies to all who sail on her wings.
Things have been a tad chaotic in my life thanks to the very unmetaphorical intervention of some real life experiences, most of them centred on death. Shucks folks: I appreciate the sympathy you're giving out, but I know life has to go on.
Thanks to all who helped through the process whether through phone calls, texts, emails, physical labour, loans and feeding: you were stars in your own ways.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
He was crucial in introducing me to more bands than I can count: his show has been a mainstay of inspiring my music collection for more than 15 years.
Condolences to his family: the shows from Peelacres made us all feel that we knew you and we shared so much of your family's life.
Many will miss him, but to honour him we have to keep looking forward.
Cheers John - what a hero you were.
Please post your thoughts on John Peel's death here at BBC Radio 1 website
Friday, October 22, 2004
Movies? Pah! Remakes rarely capture any kind of nuance and often end up being bland, boring or plain insulting to sentiments of the original. Can I just say The Day of the Jackal of 1973 with the cooly suave and ultra 'fit' Edward Fox, versus The Jackal of 1997 with an utterly unconvincing Bruce Willis...? What a waste of celluloid.
A good cover of song though, can make you hear the original in a different light - as well as adding another track to your catalogue of 'good songs'.
Dramas for both television and the cinema can be especially good at tracing quirky covers, or at least versions that stir the emotions differently to the original. Witness the phenomenal response to Mad World by Gary Jules (from the seriously wonderful film Donnie Darko). The original, from the album The Hurting, was - like the primal therapy that inspired it - painful, raw and quite brutish: lyrics almost spat out. The cover version crept up on the film's audience: I suspect few could identify what the track was until some way into it. The words were familiar - to those of us at a certain age - but the tone of the piece was changed utterly by this stripped down version. Just a piano and the ever-haunting sound of a cello, plus a vocal style that was far removed from the brittle anguish of the original. This version was unbearably moving; sad in a way that could not quite be defined - rather like the images that accompanied its occurrence in the film.
Slowing down a track can be a very effective way to change its mood and its impact: The almost baroque lushness and intensity of The Flaming Lips cover of Kylie's hip-swivelling poptastique song I Just Can't Get You Out Of My Head made its listeners wonder how anyone could hear Kylie's version again without feeling a twinge of regret at its fluffiness. And I still recall with astonishment how I felt when Travis covered Baby, One More Time at Glastonbury. How did they get from schoolgirl pouting to this mournful pean about losing love? I know that the Britney version was itself a cover (by ? anyone sure on this?) - much the same way as Natalie Imbruglia came to fame on an obscure non-english song (from Norway?) - but when I heard Travis covering it I found myself singing along and thinking "why does this seem to be in my head? ... oh my god!? A Britney cover?!"
So amidst the random quotes and ramblings on this blog, I am adding a category of informing the world about excellent cover versions. You know you want it. Look at how much the Covers Project can tell you!
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Confronted by students who saw that her reasons for teaching were limited to selling her labour, my friend was shocked by this generation's consumerist ideology. (Sadly I wasn't).
"I think you're being very idealistic if you think that we've come here to spend 3 years fantastising about becoming the next Immanuel Kant"
They are there to get jobs, well-paid jobs. The degree is irrelevant, and they sure as hell do not expect to have to work (for a Cultural studies degree?! Hmm, they haven't swallowed the media/government line about 'soft' subjects have they?). Like those approaching a shop assistant, they want the item in their colour and their size: so it's a case of "what are YOU going to do so that I can pass this degree?"
Sell it me like this...
In a world of customers and consumers there really IS NO ROOM for learning and education. Why the hell would they need to be?
NOTE: not sure what jobs they think they will walk into after they 'achieve' their degrees... still, let's face it, there is little inccentive for institutions to throw them out no matter how blatantly the student fails to work hard enough...
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Just because we are more knowing/postmodern/easily duped does not mean Little Britain is any more sophisticated as comedy.
Why are so many people suckered by this garbage when there are truly hysterical programmes like Green Wing on the planet?
I will not even dignify Little Britain with a link.
Monday, October 18, 2004
How I WISH I had had the schedule and proximity to go and see it more than once! Yes, it was a huge disappointment that Nigel Planer was "indisposed" for the performance (a real blow to my friend). But Michael Jenn acquitted himself handsomely and the direction of the play lent itself well to seeing Planer's performance still there, just in another body.
First produced at Birmingham Rep in 2003, the play has a freshness that clearly draws from its contemporary origins. More importantly, I think it was absolutely right that Hampstead brought in Cressida Whyte from that original Birmingham production. It's a pivotal, if unassuming, role; one whose significance creeps up on you as the play progresses.
In the promotional text from Hampstead, the play is summarised as follows:
Malibu, California. The present.
Charles Darwin has wound up on a beach house overlooking the Pacific with a girl young enough to be his daughter. One hundred and forty five years have passed since the publication of The Origin of Species, and over a hundred and twenty years since Darwin's own death.
But his peace is rudely disturbed when his old friend Thomas Huxley washes up on the beach, closely followed by the Bishop of Oxford. And Darwin suddenly finds himself entangled in a sparkling comedy of life and death, love and loss, and the sex life of hermaphroditic barnacles.
...but in some ways, this synopsis is utterly inadequate to what happens and the emotional journey on which the performances take the audience. The debates are presented through a mix of farcical humour and philosophical/theological discourses. Characters shift from rambunctious verbose fools to psychologically wounded casualties of their personal misfortunes (no prizes for guessing whose character that applies to). Seemingly scatter-brained musings about beach-based encounters are rendered moving communiques across time and space, revealing deep truths - or at least potential interpretations - regardings the status of "life" and "death".
Whatever your standpoint on the debates about creationism, the "meaning of life" and the role of evolution in the modern world, this play was likely to touch a nerve within you (if only to stir furious thoughts). The performances were excellent; the staging beautifully intimate - did I say how wonderful it was to be in an audience of under 400? Overall, I am just delighted to been able to see this production at least once (oh how I wish...!) and in the inimitable phrasing of Mr Cloud "Oi'll give it foive"...
Friday, October 15, 2004
Still get a thrill when the nine minutes goes missing... I have whole days like that...
And I was SOOO looking forward to trying to get my friend his autograph...
Purely unselfish reasons...
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
As another "Indie Girl" - cheers Lily, though I agree that the category still feels limiting - I can honestly say I recognise myself in the Nick Hornby quote if nothing else...
It's no good pretending that any relationship has a future if your record collections disagree violently or if your favorite films wouldn't even speak to each other if they met at a party.
-- Nick Hornby, High Fidelity
Remember, I am the girl who organises her CDs alphabetically - except for compilations which are by genre - and longs to have an iPod to do some serious genre-busting allocation of categories to the Rullsenberg and Cloud music collection.
BTW eclectic does not mean non-judgemental: there just ain't no place for Celine Dion or Cher, even on an ironic level (that's a no to Titantic and a big fat NO to Cher ... inspired by Buffy's dealings with demonic Kathy's "super" repeat playing of "Believe" from Living Conditions Season 4 ep.2).
...and I'm sorry, even the excellent and hilarious non-presence of Cher in The X-files episode The Post-Modern Prometheus cannot redeem the uplifted grande dame of camp.
Consequently, this entry is completely out of place to the general nature of the blog but will make links to the topics of focus for this site to illustrate my sentiments.
Today's Rant Is...
How exactly have I ever been able to save money towards a pension? I sat last night and calculated what had happened over my 20 years of working life.
For approximately 6 of those 20 years, I was unable to contribute to a pension due to being on benefits or receiving other unearned income such as study bursaries or grants (from which you are barred making contributions to pension plans --- not as you can afford to save any money when you are living on those meagre amounts). I know the costs of Higher Education are spiralling in the UK, but even then it wasn't easy - just moderately easier than it is now (Let's hope to avoid the difficulties faced in the USA - so ably explored in The West Wing season 4).
Between 1985-1992 I was living at home with my not-well-off parents. I started working in 1985 on the grand sum of £2000 per year, which was pretty pathetic even that period's standards. Net income £148 per month. £50 to home for board plus travel and work clothes costs. That left a lot of money for being a teenager (we REALLY need a "typeface for irony" as Tom Stoppard's Alexander Herzen notes in the play trilogy The Coast of Utopia --- and for those not savvy, that sneaks in a reference to the beloved Douglas Henshall who starred in these plays).
By September 1992 I was earning, whoo-hoo, not quite £8000 - but that figure was what my gross earnings had risen to for just two months before I left to go into full-time higher education. At which point, my income more than halved to my student grant plus my Student Loan: ah, the joys of the Student Loans Company. (Yes, I qualified for a grant. But I was born in October and therefore did not qualify for the additional mature students' allowance. When I left for university I left home for good and had to keep paying bills over the summer. There was no going home to mum and dad or summers bumming round Europe. Full years of rent and bills and home insurance).
So post-graduation, what happened? Well, I have mostly been working in Further and Higher Education as a lecturer. Well-paid? Think again. For several years, despite working frequent 60-hour weeks, I was often earning less than I had received in student grant income. So far I have had only two years where my earnings have been at or above £12,000 gross.
And I count myself as quite lucky. I do not have children and I am not working in a life-long minimum-wage-type job (though my past income has often been significantly lower than that level). How do you save when your income barely covers your essential outgoings (food, housing costs, work travel - family expenditure)? At the moment, I am lucky enough to be in post with a good work's pension scheme, but how long will that be for? Temporary posts or fixed term contracts are now the norm not the exception...
We can flippantly say that Obesity = the solution to the pensions crisis (or "Eat Fat and Smoke Tabs" as Mr Cloud phrases it), but ultimately a whole raft of people just fall outside of being able to save AT ALL, not just enough, and not just for pensions. Yes, consumerism has spiralled out of control and the corresponding level of debt is closely related to that. But in a culture that criminalises poverty, categorises the poor into the worthy and the unworthy, is it any wonder that few can see as far ahead as the mythical future?
Rant Over... nornal service will be resumed shortly (unless you advise that a Rullsenberg Rules rant blog should be set up?)
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Dearborn's book Mistress of Modernism is, as all the works on Guggenheim are, a valuable contribution to the scholarship on this complex figure. However, despite a feminist slant this time around, the text remains problematic and emblematic of the difficulties faced by those wanting to write about her. Tied to the "telling of the life" format of conventional biographies - narrative, chronological progression - the book is inevitably limited in what it can contribute to our understanding of Guggenheim. I would heartily recommend reading it - Guggenheim is always fascinating and never dull - but the phrase "a pinch of salt" seems a reasonable coda of warning.
Guggenheim's character does not easily suit these kinds of narrative and the detail of her life and experiences pretty much always undermines the readings such texts are compelled to provide. For a taster of the difficulties, I would recommend readers start with Guggenheim's own words: her autobiography Out of This Century: Confessions of an Art Addict which neatly demonstrates her contradictions.
Sorry. Just had to let rip. Our system at work is so shoddy at the moment it is difficult to get anything constructive done.
Even writing on my blog...
Monday, October 11, 2004
At some point there will be a posting on the new book by Mary Dearborn on Peggy Guggenheim. In the meantime I am considering some low-level crime: "let's go get sushi and not pay" (Repo Man, dir. Alex Cox).
Friday, October 08, 2004
Maybe they were using Spike's line as a justification...?
SPIKE: So, you ever think about *not* celebrating a birthday? Just to try it, I mean.
(Older and Far Away)
As usual I have the spectacuarly useful Buffy Dialogue Database to thank for supplying me with that gem!
Thursday, October 07, 2004
It's a stunning episode, full of wonderful and very real moments. But one of the best is the reaction of Anya - thus far too often used as a foil for humour (being an ex-demon she struggles to comprehend human emotions and is brutally honest in her opinions). Throughout the follow-up action to the finding of Joyce, Anya has been asking lots of questions and finally Willow snaps at her.
ANYA: (desperate) But I don't understand!
Willow and Xander look at her in surprise.
ANYA: (crying) I don't understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she's, (sniffling) there's just a body, and I don't understand why she just can't get back in it and not be dead anymore. It's stupid. It's mortal and stupid. (still teary) And, and Xander's crying and not talking, and, and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well, Joyce will never have any more fruit punch ever, and she'll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why.
What the scene highlights is that sometimes it takes an outsider to truly see, to ask the difficult questions in order to understand the world around us. Of course, though Joyce's life seemed horribly and unnecessarily cut short, we all get the same allowance...
"You lived what anybody gets, Bernie. You got a lifetime. No more. No less."
Bernie Capax and Death, in SANDMAN #43: "Brief Lives:3" By Neil Gaiman
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
As people sent in their text messages on the fiasco I could not help but amend Sam Seabourn's passionate argument in The West Wing (Season 2: ep.2) In the Shadow of Two Gunmen: Part two of two.
Sam: Instead of buying these ships? Don't
buy these ships. Buy other ships. Better ships. That's my idea.
Mr Cameron: But Sam, we want these ships. This is as little as we've ever paid for a fleet.
Sam: Well, there's a reason why they don't cost a lot of money. They're 20-year old single hulled VLCCs that nobody wants. When they hit things, they will break. And they will hit things, because they don't have state of the art navigation systems. They don't have G3 tank gauging, or EM-5000 engine monitoring, the recommended staletronic, or electopneumotronic ballast.
I can't help feeling that with a little tweaking of the terminology this was a conversation I wish someone had had with the Canadians (though what the British MOD were thinking flogging them this rubbish is beyond me...)
Monday, October 04, 2004
Creeping round my house at dawn
I'll keep my curtains closed
If you're feeling fond of feeling wrong
For a second time you're on my mind
Planted on this still
You forget I do not pay in kind
Kind's not there
For the eyes to see through
All that I do
For instance I don't have to try
I'm falling over all the right lines
We only have to leave this last
Resist all falling at the wrong times
Safe in knowledge, safe in college
I know all there is to know
To have never stepped outside this ring
Fools they flow
For the self-assured I have no cure
I only wish I was
As my entertaining thoughts grow fewer
Stills my cause
For the eyes to see through
All that I do
For instance I don't have to try
I'm falling over all the right lines
We only have to leave this last
Resist all falling at the wrong times
For the accent, for the day (don't walk just swim)
For the incidents they'll happen and they'll happen anyway (it's gonna pass)
When you leave here, leave this way (one last request)
You are far enough to be impressed
But not so far to be depressed
Drink your souvenirs and go your way
For instance I don't have to try
I'm falling over all the right lines
We only have to leave this last
Resist all falling at the wrong times
For instance I don't have to try
I'm falling over all the right lines
We only have to leave this last
Resist all falling at the wrong times
By The Delgados
Sons and Daughters were a blast of brilliance. The male singer, Scott Paterson - who also shares guitar work with female vocalist Adele Bethel - has an awesome seriousness to his demeanour that is the chief indicator of the band's youth, but it is entirely good thing. Ailidh Lennon - Bass, mandolin, piano (though all three front players handle the bass to give the band a powerful driving pulse) - is, a complete honey. David Gow handles the percussion with a deftness that suits the rhythm of the band and its energetic performance.
In addition to performing most of their current mini-album Love the Cup, they also performed a number of other tracks, including one so fresh from writing they needed a lyric sheet to perform it! Although there was some initial scepticism amongst an audience mainly there for the headline act, Sons and Daughters won them over with great style. I missed seeing them earlier in the summer so was thrilled to see them on the support slot for The Delgados.
The Delgados easily fit into the BBC6 Music schedule but should really be everywhere --- they have a really distinctive manner and a very appealing approach to songs. From the moment they come on stage they are in command of the audience, and though they often take large pauses between songs to sort themselves out they can apply the skill that comes from experience to keep the moment going and the audience enraptured. Founders of Chemikal Underground, the label that brought us Arab Strap and Mogwai, the band are a tight unit of beautiful harmonies and touchingly realistic lyrics. Emma Pollock - damn, she's a fine gal! - and Alun Woodward create these songs, but it's the band as a whole who brings them to life (Stewart Henderson on bass is a real hoot on stage and Paul Savage rounds off the foursome with some gutsy percussion work. Tony Doogan puts the sound together and makes the swirling landscape of thir music truly sing).
They end the night on two older tracks: Pull the Wires From the Wall and No Danger, still two of their best tracks and frankly, they couldn't have made me happier by ending on those two glories. Sweaty but happy, Mr Cloud and I went to get the car home: a good end to his birthday weekend!
The place was packed - probably the fullest I have ever seen the venue, and it is a great venue - and fully enthused. The Rescue Rooms has to qualify as one of the coolest places on this planet to see bands, just for its intimacy. Ballboy (twice - yet more fantastic Scottish music!), Saloon (link provides a nice review of their second album When We Meet In The Future), Mono (Japanese post-rock), and David Thomas and the Two Pale Boys (the current offshoot project of the Pere Ubu founder and all-round cool dude DT), just to name a few of the acts I have seen here. If you are in Nottingham, try to get there. It's part of the Rock City complex, but much better (I spent a large portion of the early 90s at Rock City but the RR are actually much nicer). If you ever get chance to come to Nottingham, find out what's coming to The Rescue Rooms and drop in, if only for the atmosphere of its bar. It's a grand place, fine music at all times and some cracking bands/artistes perform on its tiny stage.
Friday, October 01, 2004
President: ...And how do we make the American dream of opportunity a reality for all? I came to this hallowed chamber one year ago, and I see we’re spelling “hallowed” with a pound sign in the middle of it.
Sam: We’ll fix that.
President: The pound sign’s silent?
Leo: Move on, Mr. President.
President: I came to this hallowed chamber one year ago on a mission: to restore the American Dream for all our people, as we gaze at the vast horizon of possibilities open to us in the 321st century. Wow that was ambitious of me, wasn't it.
President: We meant "stronger" here, right?
Sam: What does it say?
President: "I'm proud to report our country's stranger than it was a year ago"?
Sam: That's a typo.
President: Could go either way.
For those not fully au fait with The West Wing, one of its real glories is not just that it HAS dialogue that is witty and sharp but that it is delivered at such pace. Read the transcipts at places such as TwizTV which has a growing store of transcripts for US TV shows both recent and not so recent. Highly recommended!
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Dream to Lucifer and the citizens of Hell, in Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman.
The series of books by Neil Gaiman entitled Sandman are amongst the most intelligent and literary in the genre of "graphic novels". The book, The Quotable Sandman, ably demonstrates this and I have no problem in recommending these texts to anyone seriously interested in philosophical contemplations of life, the universe and mythology.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
WILLOW: It's so cute. He balances a bunch of stuff, including that fish in the bowl! A-and, but don't try it for real when you're six, because then you're not allowed to have fish for five years.
How would I cope without Vyra and her amazing Buffy Dialogue Database to track down all those half recalled quotes!?
"when watching CSI you see Nick Lea playing Catherine’s boyfriend and immediately think, “He’s up to something… I don’t trust that one,” because, well, he’s Krycek."
I remember watching that episode of CSI - Early Rollout (4:15) and both myself and my partner shaking our heads muttering "he will not be good news for Catherine". 'Fraid Alex Krycek was one of those who met my 'baby-faced=evil' psychological reading...
Monday, September 27, 2004
Over the weekend I have been mostly listening to... these acts. I enjoyed The Shins track I caught on Saturday. Especially when I was reminded why I had heard of them (they are on the soundtrack for Garden State, see my previous blog entry). Then I invested in the new album by Norwegian songster Sondre Lerche, and the debut mini-album by Sons and Daughters. Scottish - I luv them already - I narrowly missed seeing Sons and Daughters earlier this summer at the glorious Rescue Rooms venue. However, I am compensated by them supporting The Delgados next weekend.
All in all some good stuff.
Friday, September 24, 2004
Given that my Mr Cloud has a vehement dislike of the anti-social boxes, I felt obliged to chip in with my own thoughts on the subject. (He may claim subtelty in his argument but believe me, I live with his rants on the subject).
Anyway, check out his blog entry and my reply here.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Over the last few days, in amidst more work chaos than I want to bore anyone with, the forums have been provided particular pleasure. The You Know You're Addicted To Buffy When... forum has made me laugh, wince (in recognition) and gawp in admiration at the extent to which some people love the show... memory testing yourself on all the episodes in order, in alphabetical order, in best/worst order sure got me thinking!
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
For those who did not catch it, Mesh is superb, a vibrant and violently bonkers example of contemporary animation. Well, at least LAST night's example was all that and more.
Mari Umemura's Limbo-X-treme really probably should not have been on at 7.55pm. Decapitation, blood, bodily excess (was that someone taking a leak in the background?!)... it was fantastically OTT. I sat with my jaw-dropping. We loved it. I suspect some post-news parents were not so keen...
Monday, September 20, 2004
Well, finally C4 got around to pulling The West Wing off its "to-show" shelf and started screening season 4. At 7.35pm non a Friday... yeah, that works as an audience-drawing time slot..., no matter that in the USA Season 6 is about to start (E4 has not long started screening 5), we WestWingers have to be grateful for anything... even this belated screening of Season 4 at a ridiculous time of the week.
(Damn it, they are so late on screening this season that the DVD boxset is due out before the end of the month!)
The hopeless treatment of this amazing show by the UK television companies is a well-established bone of contention for fans of the show. Heaven knows how we even got to BE fans given the scheduling this poor beast has suffered. Mucked about by Sky 1 (pah, spit, the only thing you were good for was seeing the last two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer during the dark days of my PhD), the West Wing belated got terrestrial broadcast on C4 early in 2001. After an initial run at a good time - 10pm Thursdays - it changed days, changed time-slots (often without notice), got dropped for a couple of weeks, and finally ended up in the death-hours slots (post 10.45 start) in double episode batches.
And I remember sitting up to watch the finale of season 1... This included a guffaw of laughter at a very predictable but glorious visual/aural gag ("I work with some of the smartest people in the world..." cue in the background Josh Lyman falling to the floor as his chair was absent/under repair). It also included me climbing the sofa during the shooting sequences --- especially as I soon realised it was gonna end that way.
What makes me so mad is that this series deserves so much better. It's flawed but its flaws create debate and discussion. Its about politics. Don't get me wrong, I liked Spooks, but it was a dim bulb by comparison to the likes of The West Wing and 24.
I know that Sorkin left after Season 4 and that nothing will reach the heights of consistant brilliance that season 1 and 2 presented. But I'm sticking with The West Wing, glad to see it again and remind myself of what it could do. And the possibilities we wish were a little more rooted in reality.
For those not aware of the excellent Father Ted, the ineffably dim Dougal is, of course, fictional... Wonder how many have laid bets on those odds though?
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Of course, that last name is the reason for the promotional weblog entry here.
Though there are a select band of us who wish otherwise, and he has certainly not been an inactive performer, Henshall is largely unknown and underrated in the popular consciousness. He's the reason I am busting my guts to try and get myself to London to see the play (I only wish I could get more than once but its looking unlikely).
Comments on the reviews - and a personal review - will of course appear here in due course.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
The teaser set me up well - a sequence where time got stopped and STILL the same mistake was made. This episode My Old Lady had just the right combination of humour and sadness. It truly touched a nerve - and was hilarious into the bargain.
Anyway, all this is by way of introduction to my inclusion on my links list of Zach Braff's blog for his movie Garden State. It's not due for release in the UK until 26 November but I have enjoyed reading about the film and its reception at film festivals across the US. Check out his blog.
I am always intrigued by the selection of music tracks to be played in the background of TV and movies. I know Tarantino is often credited with upping the ante on the quality of movie soundtracks and their accompanying albums but I wonder how much thought is given to the use of music in TV? Its seems an underrated area.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Back last year (autumn 2003) I found an ideal opportunity to introduce somebody to the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Little did I know what I would unleash. Although my victim (sorry, pupil), George, had seen some episodes, he was unaware of what a full-blown addiction to this series would feel like. Between October 2003 and June 2004 he watched every single episode from the 144 produced for TV, pretty much in order (video rental stores get your act together - it really helps to have full series). Given that I knew and loved each and every one in far too much detail to be healthy, this provided me with an ideal situation wherein I could nurture another person's passion.
Of course, we had a reciprocal arrangement. Tracing the mythology arc of The X-files alien episodes and then (by Xmas 2003/4) going back to the start to fill in with the Monster-of-the-Week material, I got hooked myself on a series I had previously only dipped in and out of. Indeed for both of us the real thrill was often suddenly making sense of weird shifts in the plots or character development that had fuddled us when seeing an episode out of sync.
Anyway, I am now in the process of generating a new addict. My friend Christine became receipient of the handover tradition of video/DVD exchanges. I got S1 on DVD; she got my old video box set. It seemed like a fair trade-up!
Anyone else had experience of "inducting" someone into their obsessions (especially the Buffyverse)?
Whilst the main vocal line features some appropriately jaw-dropping inability to handle phrasing - he seems almost astonished at the story of the song - the overall effect is diminished by Jackson's harmoniously 'straight' contributions as the song progresses. Its a pity, but actually the cover is not quite BAD enough to actually be as funny as it could of been. Shame on you Joe Jackson!
Monday, September 13, 2004
I am of course meant to be working - well it is lunchtime so that gets me off that hook - but I hereby declare that RullsenbergRules is open for business.
Want to rant about Strawberry Willow and Marti Noxon's "bang on the head" approach to metaphor? - here's a venue for you! Irked how Chris Carter found God in the magnetite pueblos? - give it to me! Need to share some well located webpages on your favourite movies, books and music (they might not be mine, but we'll give it a whirl!) --- get to it dude. Distressed at the absence of quality music from your radio set? - share the goodies to be found in the more off-beat corners of our music collections and radio listening habitats!
You are welcome - join us