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w/e 2019-10-13

A good, and pleasantly busy, week.

On Friday I went to see Cheerbleederz play at Paper Dress Vintage. A vintage clothes shop with a Red Room vibe and a yoga space, that transforms at night into a small bar and gig venue with craft beers, glitter ball and bunting feels 100% East London. I arrived in time to see ME REX who I liked more live than I had when I listened to them for the first time earlier in the day, so I’ll be listening again. And Cheerbleederz were as fun as expected, a lovely evening. Here’s their one video, Staying Up Late:

I keep getting older and grumpier but the bands I like remain young, fun and, if anything, get happier, despite singing about break-ups, crying at work, etc.

Also, all three women in Cheerbleederz seem to be in two or three other bands — two were in ME REX — which, to someone in zero bands, seems greedy. Tsk, young people with their enthusiasm and go-getting-ness.


§   I’ve been to see four movies in the London Film Festival this week, making for a total of six, which felt like a good number until I spoke to a recently-retired guy sitting next to me at one screening who was seeing twenty. Since I last wrote I’ve seen:

  • Only the Animals (or Seules les bêtes), directed by Dominik Moll, a thriller which shows the same events, focusing in turn on five different people. This could be a bit of a gimmick but it works really well and it’s only with the final person that everything clicks together, very nicely. It also has some very good acting-at-a-computer-screen when two characters are messaging each other over the internet, which I can imagine being hard to get right, and to look interesting.

  • Guest of Honour, directed by Atom Egoyan, and starring David Thewlis as a restaurant health inspector, and Laysla De Oliveira as his daughter, who are both sort of working out the hidden story behind the other. It’s mostly told in flashbacks and I couldn’t work out if this was just making an actually very simple story seem more complex than it is. David Thewlis was a lot of fun though. I just had time after this to walk from the South bank to Tottenham Court Road for…

  • Eternal Beauty, directed by Craig Roberts, who I recognised from his performance in Submarine although I must have seen him in other things too. He’s not in this movie, which he also wrote, based on one of his relatives who has paranoid schizophrenia, played here by Sally Hawkins who is, unsurprisingly, fab. Really good, funny and sad, with its style placing it in some slightly retro, stylized Britain, pre-mobile phones. It also featured great people from other movies I’ve seen at LFF: David Thewlis, Billie Piper and Alice Lowe.

  • Rare Beasts, directed by, written by and starring Billie Piper, which IMDb describes as: “An anti rom-com about Mandy, a career-driven single mother, who falls in love with the charming, traditionalist Pete”. It had lots of brilliant lines and moments but I didn’t quite believe it as a whole, mainly because Pete wasn’t charming. At all. So I couldn’t work out why Piper’s character was with this guy who was just a dick. Also, though, David Thewlis again! And Billie Piper’s great.


§   On telly this week we finished watching series five of Peaky Blinders. I wasn’t into it at first; it seemed so overly melodramatic and daft. But maybe I settled into it because it got more enjoyable — helped by Sam Claflin’s chilling and clipped portrayal of Oswald Moseley — although it ended so suddenly I assumed there was still a couple of episodes to go.

I do find the show problematic though. Like Tarantino — whose slow-motion-scenes-with-rock-soundtrack they frequently ape — its violence is unpleasantly over-the-top. I’d hesitate to say the show glorifies violence but, given there’s now a Peak Blinders festival, where people go dressed up like these violent criminals, presumably because it’s all cool and fun, I think we can say they’re glorifying violence. I guess next we’ll have a Kray twins theme park? Or Somali pirate themed cruises? Oh, but they look after their own don’t they, god bless ‘em!

Also we watched The $50 Million Art Swindle which was better than I expected after reading this review by the usually spot-on Lucy Mangan. It was fascinating and entertaining but, as Mangan said, also baffling that the film didn’t mention anything about how they tracked the swindler down… which seemed like the main point of the film.


§   Other than all that I wasn’t doing any paid work this week so managed to catch up on lots of other little things, including:

  • Inbox zero! It’s usually close but for the past couple of months it’s been inbox-about-a-dozen which has been very annoying.
  • Prepared @samuelpepys’s tweets/toots for November 1666. It takes me the best part of a day each month to do these.
  • Had refresher driving lesson #3, and used a satnav (well, Google Maps) for the first time. Still going OK.
  • Took photos of dozens of my books and started back-filling the thumbnails in my Reading section.
  • Attempted to fix an issue Google Search Console has with the breadcrumbs on Pepys’ Diary which is tricky because although it says there’s a missing “id” field, their docs and examples don’t feature an “id” field.
  • Fixed a bug on Pepys’ Diary that had stopped it fetching content from Wikipedia.
  • Spent an hour on the phone with Three support (mostly in a queue) to work out why I couldn’t log into their site. I eventually spoke to someone who could do more than send me yet another password reset email, who discovered my account was set to not let me log in. Well, that would explain it.
  • Fixed a few bugs on my daily Guardian site.
  • Measured some old posters I’m going to eBay so I could work out what size postal tubes I needed.
  • Finished the story in Red Dead Redemption 2! It’s the only PS4 game I’ve played since it came out, and only 2-3 hours every couple of weeks, but I put in a concerted effort this week and finally made it. Now I’m free to pointlessly enjoy the open-world.

§   Also this week I went to the funeral of a friend in Soho which was, obviously, very sad. But I don’t mention it here to end on a down-note. She knew how to have fun and, as evidenced by the turnout, had made many friends who loved her. It was really nice to see lots of people in one place who I haven’t seen in person, and certainly not together, for years. Everyone’s better in real life. So, more of that side of things please.

Have a good week, and try to see some people you haven’t seen for a while.