What I did on my holidays

13 Sep

Alright, I admit, the header above is not exactly the most eye-grabbing of titles (nor, for that matter, will this be the most thrilling of blog posts), but it’s been a while since I put anything up here. For consistency’s sake, I reckon it’s about time I gave some recommendations for any readers who might find themselves at a loose end in London over the next couple of weeks.

This summer may have been the worst blockbuster season on cinematic record, but reports from the film festivals have been encouraging, and there’s already a glut of event movies on general release. I went to see Ben Wheatley’s second feature, the truly terrifying The Kill List at the Ritzy in Brixton last night. This film has single-handedly boosted British Cinema’s credibility by around 85%, but unfortunately weakened my mental stability by around the same proportion. Who says audiences have become desensitised? Not even the most autistic of torture-porn aficionados could watch this without later suffering from a degree of trauma, and a fairly crippling one at that. I’m pretty sure The Kill List is the most disturbing movie I have ever seen- it takes apart the formulaic skeleton of the Horror Movie and reassembles it with the mangled corpses of a dozen different genres to create a nightmare beast that, frankly, I should erase from my memory rather eulogise if I ever want to sleep peacefully again. For a proper, y’know, review (which at the present moment, I’m too terrified to even contemplate writing), I’ll direct you to Lucian Robinson’s amazingly articulate summary for the FT…

Phew. As I mentioned earlier, the blockbuster season was a near-total washout. Proof lies in the fact that, in all seriousness, the most fun I had at the cinema was watching the Cameron Diaz vehicle Bad Teacher, which despite the unremarkable reviews, was a masterclass in mean-spiritedness. While not exactly deserving of such high praise, I also enjoyed the adaptation of David Nicholls’ One Day far more than I expected to. In spite of some very icky-sicky mawkishness and Anne Hathaway’s much-derided Yuuurkshiaar accent, it was a pretty bold attempt to repackage the recent past for the costume dramas of the future. Of particular note was the Jim Sturgess-fronted 90s yoof TV show, with a actor presenting himself as a repellant hybrid of Chris Evans and Terry Christian, and a scene at an engagement party at the turn of the century, where the cast bawled along badly to Robbie Williams’ Angels. The latter was scarily accurate. Okay, so not Kill List scary, but weirdly not a million miles off. A Robbie Williams karaoke moment is about the best cinematic shorthand for the Millenium years as could be. What, I wonder, will be the soundtrack for those future 2011 nostalgics?

Not Baxter Dury, that’s for sure. Whatever Robbie was to 1998-2003, Baxter is the inverse for 2005-2011. Over three albums, he’s built up a persona that is as low-key as it is supremely confident, and I mean this in the nicest way possible. “Low-Key” usually denotes a singer or group wearing their “authenticity” (what the fuck does that actually mean?) as a badge of honour- Yeah, man, keepin’ it real- but Baxter’s new one, Happy Soup is a long way from the nauseating false modesty of the Nu-Folk set.

For sure, Baxter Dury has his whimsical affectations, but there is nothing disingenuous about this lovely record. Equally, though, there’s no hit, no Cocaine Man, no Love in the garden, but the CD more than deserves repeated listening. It may sound like damning with faint praise, but when I say it’s good music to type to, I mean it with all the heart and soul- and after The Kill List restructured my psyche, that means rather a lot.

Finally, if you haven’t yet been, get down to the South London Gallery for the last weeks of Paul Etienne Lincoln’s wonderful show, which takes in, amongst other things, a giant singing robot pig, a plan to turn Giles Gilbert Scott’s Battersea Power Station into an enormous beehive and the Sinfonia Torinese, an attempt to interpret Punt e Mes, Turin’s signature vermouth, through the medium of birdsong. If that doesn’t sound interesting, I seriously fear for your capacity to be impressed.


No Responses to “What I did on my holidays”

  1. Castro September 25, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    This is a good blog. Keep up all the work. I too love blogging and expressing my opinions. Thanks 🙂

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