books and films and music – March


William Boyd – Ordinary Thunderstorms
Ever readable if not always that convincing, not quite the narrative verve and swagger which I loved in Restless.

Adam Foulds – The Quickening Maze
Highly rated and Booker longlisted, my hopes weren’t met here.  Though embellished with occasionally breathtakingly lyrical descriptions which always kept me reading, the subject matter and characters fundamentally failed to engage and my reading of it was stalled throughout.

Nick Hornby – High Fidelity
Second novel of ‘Double A Side,’ which I’m re-reading for first time in years.  As readable and recognisable as I could remember.  I swell with envy reading Hornby, but could read him, or at least this era of his work, forever.

Recently ordered new Dave Eggers, new Jon McGregor and a now cheap paperback of Mantel’s Booker winner, which I imagine will take me forever.  Tempted to buy new McEwan also, but cunningly bought it as a gift in order to borrow afterwards, because I’m selfish like that. 


Rise Of The Footsoldier

More offended by this disgusting film than I was by Antichrist.  Also not without its elements of torture porn and misogyny, it charts a football hooligan’s mobster rise.  I’ve watched a lot of these kinds of films, mostly because I like football – which seems a juvenile reason, I know.  Nick Love’s efforts at least ring of an authenticity without overdoing it,  but most are total pish.


Massively controversial film by Lars Von Trier.  Extremist in its psychosexual torture porn and narratives which pretentiously attempt to make sense – by virtue of the work of researchers, as charted in the DVD extras – its release offended many, as the Director’s films have done in the past.  It appears that he’s viewed with unguarded contempt by some and as a merely a pretentious attention seeker by others.  The film went off in strange dreamy tangents, though the cinematography and music of some early sequences was not at all without merit.  In the end, I felt it was a bit odd, tried to be quite extreme and was, but inconsequentially so.

Crazy Heart

Jeff Daniels’s award winning outing in an essentially rehashed version of last year’s The Wrestler, where the beaten-up and past it man touring small American towns is a former country music star.  The film has a quite simple and always watchable heart, though I do wonder at the small American town women populated with fragile waifs of Maggie Gyllenhaal and Marisa Tomei calibre who always fall for these alcoholic wastrels.

Bright Star

John Keats biopic.  Looks lovely, beautifully shot, lots of overacting and squalling.

Green Zone

Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon’s Bourne does Iraq.  Entertaining enough in the realist but flighty shaky-cam which has come to characterise Greengrass since United 93 and Bourne.  You never feel like the argument is particularly balanced, Greengrass’s agenda shines through in ever frame, but not oppressively so.


Broken Bells

Fell in love with this collaboration between Shins and Danger Mouse artists.  A handful of really splendid songs and thebest first few seconds of an album I’ve heard in a long time.  Hearing the intro still makes me smile wryly.

Frightened Rabbit

Enjoying the pained anguish of their new album packed with quite similar sounding tracks.  I like the similar sounds.

Ellie Goulding

Poor Ellie.  She could never really live up to the massive media hype which swept up around her.  It’s fine, nice, inoffensive.  There’s a couple of particularly pretty songs, but nothing that properly rouses in the way I’m hoping Laura Marling’s upcoming second album will.

Spotify added then pulled then added again (Goulding) the latter two albums.  It’s quite annoying when it does that.  That’s all.


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