Aberfeldy – doing nothing in the middle of nowhere.

This was a laugh, a fleeting jaunt up to some ridiculously ostentatious lodge in Perthshire – well it was until the taps froze. Ah, rum for brekky instead of water, and shower-free days spent sat on my hoop watching movies and munching Pringles.

I saw a deer who insouciantly wandered into our garden. Here’s the proof with a shitty photo:

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I also played pool and rediscovered my childhood with a game of Buckaroo! Indolence, I’ll always embrace you.

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The Room/Disaster Artist.

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Making art from … art?

The Room (2003) is fucking atrocious, there’s no denying it. And now we have The Disaster Artist (2017) – essentially the making of that train wreck – opening to rave reviews.

The former’s enduring fascination for audiences – and some of these cult fuckers have a drinking-the-Kool-Aid vibe about them – rests on the premise that no matter how appalling the picture is it warrants more repeat viewings than any other shitter out there in film history. It appears, in its apex moments, a movie made by an alien – that this alien had a crash course in filmmaking and declared itself the Orson Welles of the cosmos.

The Room (2003) is art, even more so than anything Andy Warhol ever shat out. Ed Wood (1994) is for me its paramour. A double-bill for the ages. Cinema gives us such lovely treats.

Further viewing/reading:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/dec/01/james-franco-the-disaster-artist-hollywood

http://www.vulture.com/2017/12/the-disaster-artist-an-oral-history.html

http://www.nme.com/blogs/the-movies-blog/the-room-quotes-2113071

 

 

 

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Edinburgh’s Christmas Market.

IMG_20171127_103801004It’s here once more (with feeling). The Christmas Market on Princes Street has been setting up shop every November for what must be the last two millennia. There’s not much to it but tat peddled from wooden shacks, and a sickly, premature jingle bells atmosphere. One can hit the mulled wine and warm ciders, though. Any excuse for a piss-up. There is also an imposing fuck-off ferris wheel if you fancy gobbing on someone from an advantageous peak.

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Black Friday in the UK.

00831808Black Friday, yet another ghastly import from our transatlantic cousins. We now have peasants scrapping at the crack of dawn every late November for electrical equipment made by malnourished Chinese children.

We used to fly Spitfires and storm heavily defended beaches; these days it’s fisticuffs over a 4K TV.

Britain is fucked.

Further horror:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/uknews/11259740/Black-Friday-hits-Britain-in-pictures.html

https://www.theguardian.com/business/gallery/2016/nov/25/black-friday-around-the-world-in-pictures

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Happy Birthday, Martin Scorsese.

martin_scorsese_by_toast77775 years old today. Pioneer, maestro, legend. Keep the masterpieces coming, bro. X.

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Christmas Day in Oslo.

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Christmas brings back the nostalgia, and I do most cherish those memories from the good ol’ days – stuffing my cheeks with selection boxes whilst wailing “Woof” at Buzz’s girlfriend. Xmas is a childhood signifier, the throwback event to an uncomplicated time when the most strenuous task was grabbing forty winks on Christmas Eve.

One recent Christmas Day stays with me, though. Alone in Oslo circa 2013, it was a day of, if not self-discovery, then a serene, surreal solitude (accidental alliteration).

I was reminded of that line in Heat (1995) when De Niro’s character ventures, “I am alone, I am not lonely.” That was Oslo for me: I simply walked the barely inhabited streets apropos of nothing, uttering not a word to anyone, feeling myself an invisible, pointless wanderer passing through the geography. I did nothing, and liberating it was. I’ve not had a jaunt like that since. I recommend Oslo – anonymous, pallid, flat – as the place for it. Maybe it’s livelier in the summer.

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Fountainbridge Marina.

Edinburgh does have its wee accidental allusions.

Gioachino Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie enters my noggin every time I slo-mo stride along ‘Fountainbridge Marina’, a singular image of Alex DeLarge and his droogs syncing to another Kubrickian vignette. Kubrick infects everything, cinema’s supreme stylist.

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‘As we walked along the flatblock marina, I was calm on the outside, but thinking all the time. So now it was to be Georgie the general, saying what we should do and what not to do, and Dim as his mindless greeding bulldog. But suddenly I viddied that thinking was for the gloopy ones and that the oomny ones use, like, inspiration and what Bog sends. For now it was lovely music that came to my aid. There was a window open with the stereo on and I viddied right at once what to do.’

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Berlin and Szczecin booze crawl.

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Back to Berlin again for the fourth time. I’ve seen every Lonely Planet tourist site to death in the Grey City so these days reserve my curiosities to the bars and the incredible possibilities of the late-night U-Bahn adventure. I did glimpse the Brandenburg Gate from a taxi but was too busy reading an article on The Telegraph website about Jupp Heynckes and his Bayern Munich resurgence to take any extended interest. When I first set eyes upon that Prussian landmark I thought it a wonder to behold; now I’m not even bothered it exists. Weird.

What I lionise about Berlin is its seeming randomness and that it’s embraced by the locals (one presumes) as just another quirk on the city grid. It’s one of the reasons I never make a plan or an itinerary. Going for an ad hoc five-minute nap on a concrete pallet outside the Fernsehturm TV Tower was never on the agenda, but then neither was venturing out that evening. Berlin, may the Flying Spaghetti Monster bless you.

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Szczecin, Poland.

This town has little to offer. If Berlin was the party, Szczecin was the crypt. I got the sense that it’s just a memory of a place, residue from a forgotten age. It’s decent for a pint but architecturally has all the appeal of a urinal concocted from toilet paper. This is the only photograph I took, a shot of my two travel companians walking on the pavement, such was the boredom of the topography. You’d be better off drinking in your living room whilst watching daytime television than entering this wasteland.

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Bus oddities.

We took the bus to the Szczecin hovel. It was your usual journey peppered with beer, energy drinks, trance music, and a gruesome shit in an appropriately depraved toilet designed for midgets. The return mission was sadly characterised by a Vladimir Putin doppelgänger in the seat in front who demanded our ears for a two-hour monologue about the trials and travails of his life. Reeking from a single beer, he burst out laughing at our most innocuous observations on Szczecin, and upon our arrival back in Central Bus Station ZOB asked us to wait with him awhile to discuss the comparative footballing merits of Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller. Odd bloke. Escaping him was a convenient metaphor.

 

 

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Edinburgh circa 1931.

Watching this short Pathé feature I’ve seldom recalled so many conflictingly good and bad memories inhabiting the same space. In almost every image here I ludicrously time-travel to a kaleidoscope of experiences and the Sartrean depths of the moment, something about the temporality of being-for-itself.

The singular power of images, for me, is that they transcend the ‘shadows-and-dust’ narrative we direct. A memory of a place or person is just a memory – it’s the image that validates our longing for the past experience.

It is odd how little Edinburgh has changed architecturally since 1931 – it’s one of those cities seemingly impervious to redesign (a Venice of the North?) and this is imbued in its dormant volcano. People come and go, the landscape watches on.

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Your fugitive’s name is Dr. Richard Kimble.

“I didn’t kill my wife.”

“I don’t care.”

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The Fugitive (1993) still holds up today, a thousand action-thrillers on. It’s now widely considered the benchmark for the ‘smart’ popcorn movie (big name star, TV source material, Oscar pretensions). There are spectacular set pieces here but it’s the intelligence of the script and the care in which the characters are sculpted which first captivated audiences. The battle of wits between the two leads and the obsession with which they pursue their agendas is like Maverick vs. Iceman but without the fighter jets and a volleyball scene. Well, perhaps a more mature version.

I saw it the other day for the first time in a decade and I was struck by how mature the film is, how it doesn’t pay lip service to target audiences/demographics. It’s simply a wrongly accused bloke on the run, but these are humans and not cardboard stock characters.

Stylistically, there is one sequence which dominates. A film lecturer I had at university showed us it in class as a textbook/expert use of montage, how a sequence so brief can cover so much crucial plot information. It takes your average modern-day movie an hour to cover what’s done here in under five minutes:

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