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w/e 2020-03-08

Hello! No mice were caught during the making of this episode.

§   This week in Buying Albums I’ve Been Meaning To Buy For Ages, I bought Kelly Lee Owens, partly because she has a new album out in May, so I should catch up. Nice electronic-y sounds with voices. So here’s a track from that:

§   Seeing people on Twitter wondering how to cope with working from home all the time, and not seeing friends, reminds me that this isn’t normal, although it is for me. I don’t just mean since we moved to the countryside. When I was living in the centre of London I was always working from home and was not very sociable. A successful day would be one in which, after popping to the gym/pool, I didn’t need to leave the flat.

I’m not saying this is good or healthy, but at least it makes both moving to an inconvenient rural location and pandemic-induced isolation easier. Yay.

§   I happened to see this tweet the other day…

jon hendren @fart
im prepared to lose followers over this, but like, everyone just sort of quietly has admitted to themselves in the last 10 years that Cake was actually pretty good, right

…and I immediately thought, “Oh no, is Cake another JavaScript framework or task runner or module bundler or testing tool or…” It’s the band. Cake the band. I bet there is a Cake.js though. I’m not even going to look.

§   Every time I post to Twitter I feel like a little dollop of my emotional strength, my oomph, has been extracted as payment. I wondered how people who post to Twitter a lot cope with this, but maybe they’re different. Maybe they need it, maybe they feed on it, on the oomph the rest of us are paying as tweet tax, and that’s why they tweet so much.

§   This week we saw three films at Hereford’s Courtyard Theatre, as part of Borderlines Film Festival, whose organisers I imagine being relieved at having got in under the wire before coronavirus disruption really kicks in.

First was Parasite (in a full house) which was pretty good. Fine. Maybe I’d have liked it more if I hadn’t heard over and over about how amazing and Oscar-worthy it is. It was fine.

Yesterday evening we saw The Lighthouse (half full) which I loved, a claustrophobic descent into brutal, macho madness. It could have been a bit shorter – the Courtyard’s seats didn’t help this feeling – but otherwise it was great, and every almost-square, black-and-white frame was horribly beautiful.

I got the sense that, in liking it, I was in the minority, and the woman behind me who said as the credits rolled, “So pretentious! What was the point?!” probably vocalised a wider sentiment. I felt a bit like that time I was in an Urban Sociology class with a load of Houstonian undergraduates and the lecturer showed a bit of Koyaanisqatsi and, aside from me, they were baffled, with not a good word to say about it. I was not among my people.

Tonight we saw Portrait of a Lady on Fire (almost empty) which I really enjoyed. I do like a slow, French film in which people are Very Serious About Love. It’s also the kind of film that, being slow, I’d never watch at home or, if I did, I’d get too easily distracted by the internet. So, just as celebrities unconvincingly say in those ads before movies, it was good to see it on a big screen. I also do like Adèle Haenel who was similarly good at being surly in Les Combattants.

§   When not at the cinema, this week we finished watching season three of Snowfall which I’ve still never noticed anyone else mentioning anywhere. It’s still good and I do enjoy it a lot.

This season they tried a couple of different things: one episode that, rather than jumping between the different plotlines, focused on a single difficult, emotional event, and another that involved a flashback to before season one began. Both were good, the second adding some depth to Franklin and his motivations. While the show’s good, both these episodes made me realise they could be pushing it further, and deeper, than they generally have.

§   Just as I betrayed my childhood self by giving up on watching any more of Star Wars a couple of movies ago, maybe it’s time for me to further disappoint little me by giving up on Doctor Who. To be fair I’d probably have done so before Star Wars if it cost me cinema-prices to watch.

I like Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor but I can’t remember when I last regularly looked forward to watching the show. Everything always works out OK in the end, often when “a seemingly unsolvable problem in a story is suddenly and abruptly resolved by an unexpected and unlikely occurrence”. It all feels a bit random and, well, childish. Sorry, childhood me, but you are a child, so you carry on.

One major thing I’ve wondered though… given the Doctor has the entirety of time and space in which to find assistants, why has she ended up with Graham and Ryan as companions? They’re both gormless and spend much of their time stating out loud what’s happening. Honestly, all of time and space and you travel with these tedious buffoons?! On the other hand, Yaz seems clever, capable and good company but so often is overshadowed by her less competent… male… peers. 🤔

Anyway, I suspect the Doctor is just one of those terrible managers who doesn’t want to feel threatened or challenged and so generally hires useless yes men, casting them aside before they start getting too insistent on promotion.

§   Yes, that very long link a couple of paragraphs ago was because I’d feel a bit pretentious actually writing deus ex machina. Also, the phrase always immediately makes me think of that old Spectrum game rather than its actual meaning.

§   It is now too late, so good night, or good morning, or afternoon, wherever you are.

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