Sunday, 31 July 2011

the skin i live in

The Almodovar film that always sticks in my mind is Volver with Penelope Cruz. Well known for his story-telling techniques consisting of back stories and character driven narratives through relationships; Volver showed these talents of his off at their best.

Almodovar introduced the UK premiere at Somerset House with leading actress Elena Anaya with a verbal battle between them of which was the most 'gorgeous' and 'talented' and then with them both reeling off alternate (good) reviews of the film - 'stunning' 'a masterpiece' etc etc. Not exactly what you'd call humble. Maybe that's ok, if as the critics say, he's at the top of his game. I'm not convinced that's what I want from a filmmaker however talented they might be, or anyone in fact. Still he did say that if you can't speak after it, if you are still thinking about it 2 days later, if you don't know what to make of the film, these are all good things...

Well all these things certainly happened to me. A week later, I THINK I liked it. Perhaps loved it. I definitely think everyone should see it and that it could turn into a cult film. Lynch and Being John Malkovich as comparisons spring to mind. Critics are calling it verging on a horror film and I am still having nightmares about the Tiger.

Disturbing, beautiful, insane. Genius. Quirky, thought-provoking.
There's a thin line between love and hate and I'm teetering between the two on this film.

Monday, 6 June 2011


Last night I watched the film Catfish.

I have a bit of a habit of looking up things about films whilst I'm watching them (I don't do this in cinemas!) If an actor impresses me or looks familiar I google them or look the film up on IMDB for any interesting notes on production and reception.

Catfish tells the polemic story of 'meeting' and creating virtual relationships online, illustrating the extent to which the internet allows one's online and real life lives to differ.

I didn't really do this last night, I guess it totally absorbed (albeit several bits which irritated me as explained here). It didn't occur to me until about 2/3 the way through that there was a possibility that Catfish could be a 'real' 'authentic' documentary and not a fabricated drama pertaining to be a documentary.

As others have pointed out - why would the filmmakers start filming their friends life before anything had even began to unravel which might suggest that there could be a story here? But also - coming from a filmmakers perspective here - the quality of the filming is TERRIBLE. There is noise in practically every sequence. (By noise I mean grainy bits in the picture). Now I know I'm one to talk, my last couple of films have bits of noise in them as I've struggled with getting to grips with the techincals of my new Canon and ISO, aperture and frame rate (think I've got it now!).
But did they set out from the start to use this footage as a feature film? They obviously had ambitions to begin with. Was it their very first film? (It's not, the producer Andrew Jarecki produced 'Capturing the Freidmans' - another film I have many grips against!) Did they not have a friend, anyone who could have helped them with avoiding noise? It amazes me even more that this is a result of documentary filmmaking rather than a choice made by the producers in a drama to give it an amateur feel... for this reason I believed it to be a drama along the lines of the latest trend of wobbly handheld camera technique - Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project style...

I found the film made me question lots of things, perhaps the wrong questions though... Rather than questioning the authenticity and technical aspects, I should be asking questions about what it says about our society today, the way we live and communicate with each other. The way loneliness and despair drives people to go to such extremes.

As Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian said - I don't think Catfish is a fake: the hidden story is all too plausible.
Whether you agree with him or not on the fake question - he has a point!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Bill's in Covent Garden

Only a couple of good ones from this film, must try harder. Camera reluctantly been given back, only to be sold on E-bay. Off I hop to buy a better one from there, they're only about £2!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

the boyfriend who didn't fit in

There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: "Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!"
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life's been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone;
He's a man who won't fit in.

By Robert W. Service 1874 - 1958
Could have been written about my ex-boyfriend...

Saturday, 5 March 2011

art school philosophy

I went to art school (just for a year) in 1998 when I left school. As part of the course we had to write an essay by choosing 3 of the questions below to answer. I just found that list after all these years, below is the best of them - some are still pretty ridiculous but fun to think about. I might blog about some of them in more detail another time.

Why is there folk music?
Could you get along with someone who had no taste?
What if you cooked a meal and no one ate it?
Can you indicate the boundaries of your own culture?
How much space does your body take up?
To whom are you responsible?
For what are you responsible?
Why are you wearing those clothes?
How do you act when you’re alone?
Are you the product of nature or nurture?
Was Darwin right?
Why are there only 2 sexes?
Review a film imagining you are a member of the opposite sex
Review it imagining you are twice your age
Describe a space as if you were blind
What does a house have that a painting doesn’t?
How many words is a picture worth?
Write beautifully about something ugly
Is training necessary?
Does knowledge get in the way?
Could you make something without designing it?
Is style opposed to content?
Describe what is meant by the word ‘rhetoric’
Could crime be described as political?
How easy is it not to think about art when you’re making it?
Is it the same when you are looking at it?
How can you tell the difference between life and art?
How can you tell when something is real?
What is transcendence?
Does belief have any place in the experience of art?
Is religion avoidable?
How can one achieve Nirvana?
How can you be sure that pain exists for someone else?
Do you think good and bad are opposites?
Is ‘abstract’ a verb or an adjective?
Give an account of the ways in which minimalism is expressive
Is art always serious?
Can laughter be revolutionary?
Does the fact that works of art don’t have a particular meaning imply that art is meaningless?
What can silence mean?
Are conversations always about communication?
Can questions be answers?
Is standardisation the road to utopia?
What does it mean to say that modernism has failed?
How do you know what you like?
Are your ideas your own?
When does the future start?
How old will you be when you die?
Does space exist before you fill it?
What is chaos?
What is nonsense?
Write a sensible Dadaist statement about soft drink tins
Is moisturising the answer?
What would you censor?
Are there things you shouldn’t joke about?
Are there things you shouldn’t make art about?
If someone offered to pay you well for something you really didn’t agree with, would you do it?
What is the difference between idealism and ideology?
What is situationism?
Produce a psychogeographical account of your journey to college
Argue for the importance of kitsch
Give me ten good reasons why I should live in a tree
Is art useless?
Is art for everybody?
What distinguishes work and leisure?
Is beauty relevant?

Sunday, 20 February 2011

More Miranda

More photos on my 1950s Japanese Miranda Film camera. The last 3 were taken by my friend, Polly.
Twickenham Riverside Richmond Park.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Monday, 10 January 2011


I have been doing yoga regularly now for 3 years. I had toyed with it a little before then, and then in September 2007 my then employer told me I had to take my holiday before Christmas. Well I had nowhere to go with no-one. The one thing I did have was some savings to spend and I decided to go impulse holiday shopping. Less than 48 hours later I had booked onto a week's yoga retreat on the South Turkish coast. Picturing myself stuck with some true yogi's I expected to die. But everyone was of mixed ability and I had the most amazing time.


There were about 10 of us and we stayed in a hotel on the coast (fairly basic but with a pool and on the beach - all you needed) and every morning we'd walk 1.5 miles up the hill to the teachers house for our morning class. This was followed by the yummiest, healthiest homemade food. We'd then walk back down the hill have a swim, snooze and sunbathe, back up the hill for afternoon yoga/meditation and more yummy dinner and a glass of wine and then back down (that makes 6 miles walking a day) for another drink at the bar and an early night.

I've never felt healthier in body and mind.

I now do yoga once a week - rather sporadically, sometimes I miss a class, and sometimes my teacher does more than one class a week - which is great - and I lap it up. It's tricky to find a good teacher but well worth trying different classes until you find the right one. I don't know what I'm going to do when I leave this part of London and have to find a new one.

Sometimes it can be frustrating, I still can't do a headstand or the bridge, but I'll get there eventually. For me the biggest benefit yoga has been is helping me with my depression and stress. It hasn't cured it but definitely HELPS ENORMOUSLY. Even the relaxation and breathing exercises - I do this weird breathing thing when I'm stressed when I hold my breath.

I hope and plan to still do yoga when I'm 90.


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