Friday, 21 February 2014

Two Towers

Sorry it's all gone a bit slack here. I intended to finish my review of 2013 last week with a stirring post about the value of boredom, typed up on tour in Aberystwyth. That never happened. But I did make a film. So here - in the spirit of boredom - is a twenty-minute long home movie.


A cheap experiment in dread

The Aberystwyth Arts Centre (10 minutes in) was a revelation - not just the eerie, free-standing concrete seats, lone bell-tower, and silvery bellow-shaped pods of uncertain purpose all pressing my 70's scifi buttons (although they were amazing), but because it all worked: a cinema, two galleries, theatres, shops, students, performance art, discos, parents dropping by for a coffee or beer and children dropped off for ballet lessons, all coexisting in a way that seemed unprecedentedly natural and unforced. I urge anyone interested in what "Arts Centre" might actually mean to head over there and eat your heart out.
How have they managed this? There's a view, which I suppose makes the Centre a destination. (It's a mile's steep walk out of the town.) But there's a great view of London from the fifth floor of the Royal Festival Hall as well, and how often do you see families up there? The architecture's important; you can wander through (13 minutes in) and see everything laid out before you. You don't have to awkwardly poke your head round a corner and be invited in by an usher to experience what's on offer, as you might in an older room-and-corridor set-up like the BAC (no matter how many doors you remove), or the Royal Festival Hall's too many floors (and to be fair the RFH must have recognised this, which is why their lifts sing so ingratiatingly) or the windowless Cabinet Warhol Rooms* of the ICA. In fact Aberystwyth's Arts Centre may have finally worked out how to bypass one of modern art's hugest dilemmas: how to go "No, come in." It's all about the view.
Hum. Maybe, if the Barbican let its hair down a bit...
So that's in the film, and some storms, and a search for supper where it all goes a bit Jimmy's End, and two towers, and the happy discovery - accidentally made 17 minutes in - that if the audio from a home video is suddenly replaced by something from Brian Eno, you get Ben Wheatley. I make no apology for my use of Vangelis. I'm knackered and knotted from rehearsing with a new bunch of actors with actual skills, the sods. When I'm recovered, we'll see in 2014.

*I'm firing myself.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Monsters' Ball, #34-48

Continuing the drawing-a-monster-a-day project. (I think there may be one or two gods here as well.) With one exception - the naramoeba - they don't have names now, let alone descriptions. Like that judge in those things, I want to see where this goes.

This post is dedicated Videogum, the much loved, and now much missed popular culture blog, often mentioned here, whose commenters provided the warmest internet community I've yet encountered. They called themselves monsters. Long may they monst.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

November 2013 - BULA WHO! *

"Cowabunga, dudes!" 

Fear not, twenty-fourteenies, though I may be from the Future, I have more than three thousand years of epoch-relevant slang under my belt: "Wash yer 'andies!" See?
Dr. Who turned fifty in November of course, which made it a particularly good month to tear round London in a '66 Routemaster while pretending to be a Time-traveler for the kids. But the Time Tour's always fun. Once, a whole party of schoolchildren asked to be taken back to the year of their parents' birth. Each child. Individually. I don't know what was going on there. Normally it's the Great Fire of London, or just "Egypt", and then I have to explain fire and time, which obviously I enjoy.
And I got back into the Ghost Bus Tours as well for Hallowe'en. That's still fun. And counts. (Andy Field filed a great piece about ghost walks here).
I suppose I should let people know I'm doing them...
Back to Dr. Who though, here's my Dad telling the one about acting in Planet of the Spiders:

"Bula" is of course Fijian for "Ciao", as in the phrase "Bula Quo!" And that's November wrapped.
ShareThis Copy and Paste
- See more at:[gallery1]/6/
- See more at:[gallery1]/6/

Monday, 3 February 2014

October 2013 - Spaces

Let's get back to clearing out 2013... 

Another one of Jonathan Dryden Taylor's

Trolling. Trolling. Trolling... Well, by the look of what went unposted in October, it was a pretty hairy month. There was Stella Creasy and Brand on Newsnight, promotional fences round Trafalgar Square and a dormant snow dome full of gull shit and car adverts around Eros. I started to think about moving to America, where there's actual news (my sister was having all kinds of adventures in LA) and despite the fact that Congress had imploded and there was that business with the stenographer, at least the Oo Ess Eh has a Bill of Rights and a first amendment. Britain, it has been pointed out to me, has also had a Bill of Rights ever since we signed up to the European Convention of Human Rights, but we don't seem to have - and do correct me if I'm wrong - quite the same allegiance to that over here the Americans have over there. October also saw a Royal Charter for regulation of the press, and as David Mitchell wrote, "if that's how regulation of the press is to be conducted from now on, we all need to start shitting ourselves."

Here and Now, 2013

So there's a much larger post to be composed about public space and online abuse and Newsnight, and something like that has actually been brewing at the back of this blog for nearly three years now. However, every time I come back to it, the blog grinds to a halt - sometimes for a month, as in October, sometimes for over a year, as in 2010. I'll give that one a miss for now then, and repost instead something I wrote on twitter, when Stella Creasy MP contended here (possibly buoyed by the Royal Charter) that online abuse should not be treated any less seriously than someone abusing you face to face. I wrote:

"The internet is not a public space. There is no word for what it is yet. But it's clearly not a space."

And that still seems about right. Actually, perhaps it's better to think of the internet as a Shared Private Space. It's not the solitude of this privacy that's the issue. It's the territory.  Contributions are for the most part composed in private - as is this post I'm writing now - on the contributor's territory. But they are read, again in private, on the reader's territory, and there are no real rules for that yet, hence the who-asked-youness of so much correspondence. You could see this as an even heavier count against the trolls, but I see it as a mitigating circumstance. What I read isn't happening in my room, it's happening in the composer's. I think this has to be taken into account if trolls are to be prosecuted. Is there any physical equivalent to this idea of a Shared Private Space? The public toilet, I suppose.
Now we are all the toilet wall, and we can read what's written on us. And a lot of it is horrible, but I'm not sure how personally we should take it.

 An actual public space

Sunday, 2 February 2014

A Monster a Day, #27-33

 The Sob


 Red Rainedupon


Jawjo the Producing AKA Jawjo Arm-many 


Medusa Toothkind