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f/e 2019-07-13

The monthly round-ups of media I’ve finished (e.g. last month) are fine but get a bit long. So maybe it’s back to weeknotes? They sometimes have their own downsides (for me). I don’t know. I’ll get the hang of blogging one day. For now, catching up on the past couple of weeks…

In daily life I’ve been working on Job Garden, writing new stuff, which is all going fine. I still haven’t got my head around pytest (which has too much “magic” for me) especially using it with Flask. Away from the computer I’ve been to a couple of Meisner acting classes, doing the repetition exercise, which have been good — some achievements, and new things to master.

On telly we watched Gentleman Jack which was entertaining, despite my usual knee-jerk wariness of pretty BBC period dramas. It was maybe a bit too long. I guess it was interesting to have a protagonist, Anne Lister, who was selfish, snobbish and a sexual predator. Suranne Jones did well to make me root for her (most of the time) despite that. Jones was relentless.

Chimerica was odd. The main plot — a disgraced American photojournalist in New York battles to out the identity of a Chinese illegal immigrant for no good reasons other than curiosity and a selfish desire for fame — was much less interesting and affecting than the fragments of two stories in China, in 1989 and the present. Anne Lister might have had her faults as a hero but at least she was also battling the crooked patriarchy and, eventually, fighting for love. On the plus side Sophie Okonedo, in a small role, was a delight to watch; I don’t know if it’s being the sole British accent among Americans but she seemed more natural and relaxed.

We’ve also been catching up on episodes of This Farming Life we recorded a while back which is a pleasant way to spend an evening. Slightly sad or stressful when lambs die or something goes wrong but otherwise nice. There are some careers/lives I wouldn’t want but do enjoy watching on TV: teachers, restaurant owners, trainee soldiers, and now farmers.

There’s also lots of Glastonbury to catch up on before it disappears from iPlayer around the end of July. Things I’ve enjoyed most so far: Ezra Collective; Billie Eilish; Low; Stormzy (35 minutes in); and IDLES who were righteous and emotional. All that and no ads. Brilliant.

I went to see In Fabric at the cinema which was very good. A peculiar, eerie, funny, stylish movie about a cursed dress. I loved everything the saleswoman said, such as (from IMDb’s quotes), “Did the transaction validate your paradigm of consumerism?” I wish I could remember more.

I read Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland, a short book subtitled “Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking”. I think it may have been a recommendation to someone on Ask Metafilter. It might be good if you’re already making, or trying to make, some art and need some encouragement, or some words to make you focus on the right things. But I’m not making any art so those aren’t what I need right now. I suspect Ask MeFi’s recommendation for me would be The Artist’s Way, a book that sets my inner cynic’s eyes rolling: “This book links creativity to spirituality by showing how to connect with the creative energies of the universe…” Nope.

I did like Art & Fear’s bit about the differences between art and craft (from a modern “Western” point of view), which might be old hat to some but I found it a simple and useful distinction:

In essence, art lies embedded in the conceptual leap between pieces, not in the pieces themselves. And simply put, there’s a greater conceptual jump from one work of art to the next than from one work of craft to the next. The net result is that art is less polished — but more innovative — than craft.

That seems like quite a lot of things for a fortnight. Who knows if I’ll go back to weeknotes. It doesn’t matter. Whatever.

Have a good week. Make a piece of art. It doesn’t have to be polished!

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