Wednesday, 29 February 2012

That Leap Year Day: Spring

It is indeed a mild blue day today.
The birds have been wanderin around for a while now...carrying odd twigs in their beaks. Blackbirds are back sparking and scrapping.

I just been lookin up the field to the hill. Two buzzards... but maybe they ain't. People say there are peregrine falcons in the quarry up there. These do seem longer in the wing and their breasts be catching the sun... pale. I dunno. I'm not an expert..

Anyways these two birds are practising to set up together. They glide around beautifully. And I think they's doing that practise of "come feed me" stuff. One has settled in a conifer and the other is flying down to it. "Oh Yeah" she says... "You'll do nicely."

Monday, 27 February 2012

Travels With My Film-Life: Outer Space & "Melancholia"

Well is it Outer Space I ask myself?

We's here at a posh wedding reception in Lars von Trier's film "Melancholia". And the bride (Kirsten Dunst) be going loopy... but who would wonder at that... given the mad parents what she has got (played by Charlotte Rampling and John Hurt) and the controlling sister (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and rich as Croesus brother-in-law (Keifer Sutherland).
She be marrying Michael (Alexander Skarsgard... who at other times be vampire Eric in "True Blood") but seems to be going off the idea...

It becomes clear that a planet has popped out from behind the sun and is on collision course with the earth.... The rational characters explain that it will miss and not be the end of all things. But there is of course an element of doubt. Anyway the plot progresses with large helpings of Wagner's "Tristan" theme...

And I do sit there somewhat stunned at the end of the film but... you know what? Next day it's still with me. So although it's got maybe a mixed reception... I do indeed think it is a good film. But then I am a bit of a von Trier fan.

But also I do see it described as science fiction and....
of course it ain't.

I think it is in fact a study of melancholia, depression, whatever... that darned old rogue planet that pops out from behind the sun in order to smash everything to bits....

Saturday, 25 February 2012

The Old Man Gets Into Danish Crime

So there we be... sittin wonderin what to watch on the box on a night completely devoid of stuff.
I's dreading, I admit, The Old Man announcing that we can watch a nice DVD. Perhaps an item of acclaimed third world cinema involving grim peasant life and not a little goat slaughter; or an early art film from the silent era what goes on for at least two hours.... parts one and then two.... another three hours.

But no. He do say...

"Shall we watch that new Danish crime thing? What we recorded the other night?"

I be gob-smacked as I had decided I would be watching this all by myself in hourly instalments. So I do say in bewildered tone "Er?....Sure...."

And so we do. It's the Danish crime series "Those Who Kill" broadcast for Brits on ITV3 on Thursdays at 10pm. And the Old Man enjoys it. This is a new development. He do already make it clear that he wants no more of the Inspector Montalbano series on Saturday nights on BBC4....
But I had not reckoned with his well-known lack of facial recognition tendency (see this Post.).

It is a wondrous experience as The Old Man settles down and with great air of pride shouts out the "identity" of the actors:

"Politician - "Killing 1"..... soldier - "Killing 2"..."
"Secretary - Borgen..." shout I, joining in with the spirit of the thing...

Seriously, The Old Man thoroughly enjoys the familiarity of it all.
We shall be watching more. But pre-recorded.... there is at least half an hour's worth of adverts in it... and this way you can speed through. Oh, and if you missed it... they seem to be discrete stories per episode so you can start watching soon with no great loss.

You will find a helpful diagram explaining the recycling of Danish actors in this Guardian article!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Blogging Without a Brain

Sorry... I's been remiss. No posts for a few days. I plead the headaches... or rather one of those Big Headaches wot go on for several days and during which I contemplate nausea...

and for some reason... cutting me hair off.

Know what I mean?
Functioning better now.
Back soon.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Blogging Without Connection

Well my dears it can't be done. Without an internet connection I do mean. And mine did crash several days ago. (Though fortunately I do schedule some posts to crop up later... and that was what I done, otherwise my blog be silent for even more days.)

As you do see from the pic here I do live in a rather rural place.... with plenty of Cornish granite and hills. This does not bode well for "signals" if you see what I mean. So my internet connection is hardwired.

When I first try to connect to the internet with my phone.... I have to march to the top of this hill...

(Phone companies do not always understand that the only way that you can get reception for your emergency alternative... the"Mobile"... is hanging by your toes from the bedroom window which faces south.)

So rightly or wrongly a "wireless" connection for my laptop... I'm just as suspicious of.

For those of us down here... amongst the first to be switched to digital-only telly kinda thing... well don't tell us about the wonders of digital telly. First get a signal! The Old Man has the art of tuning; with which digital set-top box... and which brand of digital telly to avoid... down to a fine and precise art. It is all worth it for BBC4, mind.

I admit that my phone's internet connection is not so bad at the moment, but I can't imagine hows I could smart blog when I's runnin around with miserable connection and zero smartphone knowledge... Can hardly call my dear ob'un phone top-rankin "smart" either....
gotta screen the size of a postage stamp. If you remember what a postage stamp is....

No.. I may have to resort to steam power.... um... steam-punk bloggin sounds a notion to conjure with! Now that... I could fancy.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Mattias Adolfsson: "Bazooka Art"

As some of you may have noticed I do follow the wonderful and toweringly imaginous Mattias Adolfsson with his blog - "Mattias Inks". His intricate, inked, convoluted and witty delights are a cheer to start the day... and virtuoso triumphs all of them.

Sample this delight - Bazooka art and see what I mean.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Travels With My Film-Life: Algiers, 1937

Vraiment mes amis. Here we be.... hiding in the courtyards and alleyways of the old Casbah.

It's the French classic crime thriller "Pepe le Moko" directed by Julien Duvivier and starring the wonderful Jean Gabin.

Pepe is the gangster thief supreme, pursued by the police and beautiful women alike. All life is here in The Casbah - turncoats, snitches, fences, molls... loyalty and treachery. Les Flics pile out of charabancs with guns blazing to shoot Pepe. They try to trick him out. But Pepe is smart and he has his loyal crew. Then a beautiful woman appears....
Aah Pepe! Watch out!

This film is a treat and bits of it make me think... "Ah. So that's where Orson Welles got that look and sound for "Touch of Evil"...Mmmn..."

Do you ever experience double nostalgia?
Cos I see this film and I's feelin nostalgia for a time I've never lived in.... and then I's feelin nostalgia for my youthy days in London.... French films at the NFT and The Academy, Oxford St.

Oh ce qu'est un film merveilleux! Watch the trailer here over at YouTube.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Moving Wonders: Keith Newstead

Talking to Niece the other day about automata.
Yes ... another thing that I do love. Thought I'd check the web for info for her... she's a rare lady without a computer nor any form of digital communication. (Yes, such people do exist.)
Anyways I came across Keith Newstead Automata, a great site showing his work, his blog, and links to other automated treasures. Can't resist sharing this Newstead piece - an automaton collection box commissioned by John Rylands Library, Manchester.

You may not know it but Mrs D spent a lot of her working (ha-ha) life as a librarian.....
So we do understand the Dragon reference here.
Enjoy... and check out his site.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Graphic Passions: Being Literary with Auster

So while we's being literary in the graphic novel department - let me mention "City of Glass".

It's an adaptation of Paul Auster's novella of same name... by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli and published in the UK by Faber. (Click here for link to Paul Gravett piece on Mazzucchelli.)

The Old Man gives this to me as a Christmas present and as I start to look at/read it... (Does one "read" a comix book/ graphic novel? Well I guess that I would argue that you can "read" a painting... so maybe "read" is OK.) I be sayin ...

I begin the book and I realise that I did read Auster's original novella. Because I do occasionally read a work of literature you know, and Paul Auster be a writer I do read. So take that, all youse out there who do think I do nothing but watch telly and filch Mrs D's thrillers...

Anyway, anyway, what I want to say is that I really like it. It's a splendid adaptation with a visual, graphic structure that works well as a translation of the book. This edition has a forward by the revered Art Spiegelman explaining how the project came about.

And by the way... for those of you with access to BBC's podcasts you may want to download the broadcast of Radio 4's Book Club of Feb 5 2012.... in which Spiegelman talks about his major work "Maus", without which......

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Eurocrime Sums it Up Nicely

Karen, over on her Eurocrime blog, sums up nicely what's coming up for Brit fans of Eurocrime telly, now that Series 1 of Danish political drama "Borgen" has finished. (Yeah, I know... not crime... but well you know politics...)

Tonight we have the chance to see the Sicilian-set Montalbano crime series on BBC4 (again? not quite sure cos didn't catch it first time...).

And you can read details and explanations of more up and coming Telly Scandi-Delights by clicking through to her Post here.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Old Man Makes Marmalade

Yes indeed. His first ever marmalade.
Very good it is too. Good flavour. Good colour...
But I says to him:
"Howcome your strips of peel are about half inch wide and two inch long?"
He say:
"It said to cut the peel as thick as you like."
I around in the jar what is like a bowl of pasta.... "Huh?"

The Old Man climbs onto his high horse....
"It's what one prefers to call Orange Preserve." Say he. Sniff.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Graphic Passions: "Robot"- Lem Inspired

Just bought myself another "graphic novel".
Which is "Robot" by Danuta Schejbal and Andrzej Klimowski. Based on two of Stanislaw Lem's short stories. Published by SelfMade Hero in 2011.

For those of you who say they don't like sci-fi... well not sure you can really call Lem just sci-fi. Lord knows The Old Man was sniffy when I used to rave about Tarkovsky's 1972 film "Solaris" based on Lem's novel, but when persuaded by another friend that Lem was philosophy... he got very keen on a Lem story or two, and wanted me to read them. Mea Culpa I have not read any yet.

Yous may well know the film "Solaris". No, sorry... I don't mean the George Clooney one. Much as I like to watch George Clooney. (See my Post on "Good Night and Good Luck") No, I mean the Tarkovsky film.

Anyways I digress... the graphic novel is very short and maybe not sweet. Personally I loved the first story "Uranium Ears" but found the second, "The Sanatorium of Dr Vliperdius" a bridge further! I shall look and read again.

Mrs D Capers With Pleasure

Oh yes she does...
What causes this celebration? A glass of red slopping about all over the place as she dances? She flings herself on her chaise longue and crunches another rice cracker.

Mmmn... it would appear that a publisher has placed a quote from one of her reviews for Eurocrime on their website. Being a simple soul, it doesn't take much to please her.

Particularly if her ego be involved.

Still and all. Let's be generous and raise our glasses to the capering Mrs D.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Small Theatres

Scene: A dental practice's waiting room. Several people are seated on chairs.

A small child goes to each seated person in turn and proffers a small furry hat with bunny ears.

Solemnly each person places bunny hat on head.

OK. OK. I was first in the queue. You have to take theatre where you can get it.