When modern action movies match the poetry of Betjeman you have an impeccable combination that can only be directed by no less than 3 Michael Bays.
Stage 1: The Print – This place (picture at the top) is the Hanwell Library. A small pokey joint that was pretty handy in the 80’s before the rise of the internet and still useful to old people who are technical luddites
This small borough library happens to be the place that kick started my obsession with cinema as a geek.
Back (way-way-back!) in 1988 I used to go to the library and see what was there, I saw this book called Cult Movies 3 by Danny Peary. This book was unlike anything and as I read it it, it opened a world like nothing else. Imagine being 14 (way-way-back) and you are reading about El Topo, Eraserhead, Mad Max 2 and the ultra mondo movie of all, Cafe Flesh. I became curious to discover these films and in that period (way-way-back) late night television was littered with cult movies. I managed to watch The Keep as a late movie, Zardoz and countless others. Films that are now rarely on the same channels and relegated to the niche that has to be searched. These cult movies blew my mind and I started to read more. I bought All three Cult Movies books which are now out of print and John Boorman’s book series, Projections among hundreds of others.
Stage 2: The analogue television – The second thing that blew me away was Alex Cox’s Moviedrome. Imagine a series where a presenter on a slow Sunday night spends 5 minutes talking about a curated Cult movie before the screening? Look at the second picture, look at the films that were screened during 1990 and 1991. An amazing collection. The first film I saw was Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. The rest I religiously stayed up for and was an instant film school of sorts!
Stage 3: The big screen – The Scala Cinema. A friend and I went to this run down cinema in Kings Cross to watch The Wicker Man. The place got shut down in the mid 90’s as they illegally showed Clockwork Orange. They got a print from France and screened it and when Kubrick found out he bankrupted them.
They showed super weird cult movies and all nighters like the evil dead series/ Hellraiser series amongst others. This was also the place I saw Cafe Flesh which is a one of the weirdest films made…. ever. I could say that the BFI was up there and I practically lived there during the 90’s but the Scala was a real proper grind house cinema. I still hunt out other films still but it’s not the same. Admittedly it’s easier to find a film but not as easy to “discover” something.
Nowadays there seems a super fringe place for enjoying classics like Aquirre Wrath of God and even Altman’s The Long Goodbye. When someone catches a true oddity of a film I am amazed it’s even able to be on their radar. When was the last time anyone saw on the schedules Zardoz, Aguirre or even Koyaanisqatsi?
Admittedly I am a fan of all these new platforms as I can now access more films then ever before but aside from me knowing what I want, how will someone be able to just stumble on a true oddity? Not being a Netflix member yet I was told that they are showing cult movies on their platform. Check them out and enjoy.
In the current climate of diversity everyone, including me, are shouting about levelling the playing field so it doesn’t feel like the same people working in the top tier. Well, soon after the terrific Boy With the Top Know hitting the BBC I watched a rather funny show, Motherland.
Aside from the comedy I noticed how diverse characters are used in this show IN 2017 NO LESS!!! I have listed them below. In fairness the show is about Middle Class Parents but….
Motherland episode 3: We have a Chinese woman applying for a job as a cleaner. We have a Black woman working behind the counter at the swimming pool. We do have a black guy as a war photographer with actual dialogue….3 throwaway lines at the end of the show
Motherland episode 4: Black woman in the opening episode interviewed for nanny job. Said woman has a white dodgy boyfriend. Indian guy as the restaurant server.
Episode 5: Random black man/ pub punter walking in to a toilet.
Episode 6: Two black mother’s sitting on the mother’s table with no dialogue and their only ‘motivation’ is to roll their eyes.
Well done to all!
I wrote a while back about the fact that YouTube had a lot of money to spend on ‘original programming’ when they foolishly thought they could create Premium Content that people will pay for. They were completely rinsed by average programming that made no dent on making them anything other than a site where you can ‘upload your shit for free’. Their original success is also the stigma attached to their brand. They created their own monster and still have to sleep with it. The people commissioning these programmes had no quality control filter much like the current SVOD champions.
The difference now that they are trying the same approach again? Maybe they have become wiser.
As a comparison, Amazon Prime and Netflix have shown that people will pay a premium to watch content online but they never started out giving stuff away for free and giving viewers the concept they don’t have to pay for it. Just ask the decimated press industry who are stuck with advertising and declining print sales as their main revenue. The Sun tried to keep their content behind a paywall but they had to eventually capitulate. Strangely the only subscriptions i have are Broadcastnow.co.uk and Private Eye Magazine who have specific content i crave for.
I sincerely hope YouTube have learned their lesson and actually have people who can get quality media that people are willing to pay for. Maybe they learned their lesson? time will tell.
I listen to radio 4 plays on my podcast and 99% of them don’t bear any relation to life around me. They are well written but I personally feel they are created by people who haven’t had real world experiences.
Fine but why do I listen?
Because I write and want to hear what drama plays are being commissioned as Radio 4 is still the gateway for nurturing fresh talent. There is still a distinct lack of diversity for the most part, that is until I listened to Breaking up with Bradford by Kamaal Kaan which made me slightly annoyed at the opportunities that were missed.
The main Character is a Muslim guy from Bradford and comes back from Cambridge University to see his family but his (white) boyfriend appears wanting to talk to him. The premise is fine and has potential to really be interesting especially with the current climate.
But (and this is my opinion and gut instinct) it comes over as totally inauthentic. This may be based on a true story, I don’t know, but the whole scenario just felt distant and not exactly real. The main character just didn’t feel like he grew up in Bradford and was not as awkward as one would be when growing up in a close knit Asian community and ‘being different’. The restaurant running best friend in Bradford was too forgiving when the secret was out.
The intention was all there but it feels that the development process started doing away with real world characters and how they would really react. Romanticised and too conveniently accepting.
Also to add, Sathnam Sanghera’s The Boy with the Top Knot as a novel dealing growing up north was amazingly well written and all the characters were relatable.
Researching the writer and he hails from Bradford and this playlooks to be part autobiographical.
Why the stupid whinge on my part? I think the development process at Radio 4 drama unit is not diverse enough in the managerial department otherwise there would be a drive to make this piece more authentic.
At the end of the day the play is better written than anything I will ever do but is an example of diversity within the development process that is lacking I am am saddened hat the themes could be pushed further.
*Update* I just watched the Master of None episode ‘Thanksgiving’ and blown away with how they dealt with the coming out narrative. It is an excellent example of how the elders are not compromised and reluctantly accept things in their way. If you haven’t watched it do check it out for the structure alone.
Apple, You are dropping the ball big time, your products are no longer cutting edge and your pricing is now ridiculous for us little guys who want to stay in the Apple ecosystem.
Back when I bought my Powermac G4, the operating system was immense and when Tiger was unleashed we were all excited. Windows platforms were absolute dogshit compared to you guys because there was clueless Balmer in charge, that man had no real vision. Windows XP was no match. In fact Windows Vista was so shite that some companies offered a free downgrade back to XP. OSX Ruled the planet artistically!
Your products have historically been more expensive but felt worth it compared to what we got out of it.
But in the last couple of years things have changed. Nadella is in charge of Microsoft, Windows 10 is actually very good and a lot of people are moving over. The last few iOS upgrades have been a disaster where phones ended up being bricked.
Now with the new MacBook Pro range the pricetag is nothing short of extortionate for us loyal users. I have been looking at the prices and really have to justify if it is worth the investment. Also online there are a lot of complains at the instability of the software and the hardware of these Macbooks and motherboard failures. We are your fans and you are.
Granted your products were more expensive than the rivals but people lapped it up because it was cool and intuitive. People like me bought into the brand and quality but now rather than charging a premium because you are good is getting a bit long in the tooth. I honestly feel you are just being greedy and seeing how far you can push the pricing. Steve Jobs was front and centre and fiercely defended what he did but from Apple it’s just another brand without an identity. Tim Cook may be visibly promoting Apple products but he is nowhere as visible as Jobs was in the same sales capacity. Jobs convinced you Apple was the best. Now your arrogance is assuming we think it’s the best.
Your much vaunted iPhone range which is your cash cow is starting to have the same disillusioned feel to the fans… oh faster, better camera but when was the last real innovation that was the wow factor? , you seen the OnePlus phones? For the price and quality of build that is your competition right there. Undercutting you and providing quality.
Is it coincidental that this falling out of love with Apple is timed with when Steve Jobs died?
Apple may have become too bloated and your apparent greed may be clouding your judgement of your fanbase.
What are you going to do to win us back?