Wednesday 11 July 2012

Culture Vulture

I know a lot of people read this blog just to get an eye on what’s cool. The vibe is very much ‘what’s Phil watching, reading and listening to? He’s so fucking cool and has great taste’.

Well let’s go bullet point…

  • Girls – TV series from America (USA). Written by and starring Lena Dunham, produced by Judd Apatow this HBO show is fucking briliant. A really lazy way of describing it would be ‘tv show’. Less lazy – but still lazy – would be that it’s a bit like a cool, young person’s version of Sex and The City. That’s what some people have said, because it’s about a group of female friends in New York. SATC never really appealed to me, nor did I enjoy the episodes I saw but I was gripped by this from the get-go. Dunham is a brilliant new writer and you should all watch it. (I am not condoning the copyright infringement that takes place when people download stuff through torrents, but I don’t know if any network plans to show this over here.)
  • Tiny Furniture kind of the film that the above is based on. Written, directed by and starring Dunham – it’s also ace.
  • Salmon Fishing in Yemen is one of them films where Ewan McGregor plays a bit of a weird type. It’s kind of about a sheikh building a river in Yemen so he can fish salmon. It’s also kind of about not much of an interesting love story with predictable twists and turns.
  • Lockout aka SPACE JAIL (in my head). Guy Pearce is SNOW he if wrongly imprisoned for a crime we don’t understand; a prison in space has the PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER as hostage. SNOW is the best there is so he gets out of EARTH PRISON to go and rescue her. Woody from This Is England is one of the two main baddies and is brilliant in it.
  • The Great Buck Howard was a brilliant little film I don’t remember coming out/getting any publicity. John Malkovich (brilliantly) plays a mentalist (what Americans call people like Derren Brown) who’s past his 15 minutes of fame. Colin Hanks is someone fresh out of college trying to figure out what he wants from life and ends up being his tour manager. I really liked it – Colin Hanks is a really good actor, he has a lot of what made his dad – who plays his dad fleetingly in this – such a good film actor.
  • The Amazing Spiderman. As I said to my mate Al, amazing is overselling it a bit – to which he suggested The Alright Spiderman would be a good title. As much as I would like to see that as a title for a summer blockbuster it would be underselling this film a bit also. I really enjoyed it – Garfield is brilliant in it (Andrew, not the fat cartoon cat) and it’s different enough from the first Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi origin film for it not to be repetitive.
  • Bookwise I’ve remained drifted away from fiction. I’ve just finished (finger on the pulse) Coming Back to Me: The Autobiography of Marcus Trescothick by Marcus Trescothick. It’s Marcus Trescothick’s autobiography, which is when someone writes the story of their life. The first half of it is the tale of a natural cricketing talent rocketing through the cricketing ranks to the point where he is one of the best batsmen in the world. The second half of it is a detailed study of someone’s depression. That second half is unflinching and honest and so is often a bit harrowing. I’ve read quite a lot of Instructions, Guidelines, Tutelage, Suggestions, Other Suggestions, and Examples Etc: An Attempted Book by Tim Key (And Descriptions/Conversations/A Piece About A Moth) which I only got yesterday (birthday present) but is very funny and brilliant. I couldn’t really be arsed with Spike Milligan’s books – which this reminded me of in some ways – but I was a bit young when I read them and I think my sense of humour is more in tune with Key’s than Milligan’s. I still haven’t started Skagboys yet, this is the longest I have taken to start reading a new Irvine Welsh book in a while, I think this says more about me than him*.
  • I’m not just trying to sound like I am vaguely cool but the last thing I got music-wise was downloading Childish Gambino’s new mix-tape, Royalty (you can get it yourself – for free – from his website). I can prove I am not trying to seem cool or like I only like good, current music by saying that previous to that I downloaded the last Kaiser Chief’s album and before that both of So Solid Crew’s albums as I realised I don’t have the tapes of them anymore.
Bullet points were not an appropriate format for this.

*This is just bullshit. I didn’t even buy two of them – the one about the celebrity chef or the one with the woman in riding gear on the front – as they didn’t sound like my cup of tea.

The Da Vinci Code

Because of the success of this 50 Shades of Grey [1] I have heard people complain about its success. The main complaint is that it is terribly written. I can’t comment on that because – at the moment – I have only reached the stage of putting them on my Kindle and not got to the more time consuming stage of reading them. This has reminded me of the similar accusations thrown at Dan Brown and the prose of The Da Vinci Code, which I have read [3].

The reason TDVC was so addictive was that at the end of every chapter there was some kind of cliff-hanger, ranging from whether Professor Robert Langdon had died when he described dying in the last few sentences of the chapter (he never had – he was the main character in the book; this even worked when you read Angels & Demons after TDVC and you knew Professor Langdon had survived through to the events of TDVC) to whether Professor Robert Langdon would solve some seemingly impossible puzzle (yes: or the narrative would stop).

The pressure on Brown to create these cliff-hangers was immense – if he had forgotten to do one in ANY chapter every one would have realised that the books were ridiculous. He didn’t (fail to deliver), though. I’ve forgotten what my point was.

[1] It seems a bit obvious [2] to do a stupid version of the name here,  I have done one in a statement on a social network before and though I think it went well enough I felt dirty afterwards. And not in a good way.
[2] How obvious? Not as obvious as the beauty of Rachel Weisz, but more obvious than the reasons why Peter Andre has earned millions of pounds in the last five years.
[3] And all of Dan Brown’s books – something I am currently very open and honest about, however I may deny reading any of them by the end of 2015.

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