Mixed Media, Friday 29 May 2015

Just a quick list so I don’t slip too far behind…

  • 2 Days in Paris: I like Julie Delpy, but Adam Goldberg’s character was so annoying I stopped watching part-way through.
  • A Lonely Place To Die: Tight little thriller set in the Scottish Highlands. Good, if a little predictable.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: So much has been written about this already, and it’s all true. Excellent.
  • Tomorrowland: This was released under the inane and uninspiring title “Project T” here in the Netherlands because of stupid trademark issues. Seriously, Disney, you couldn’t come up with anything better? Anyway – I loved it. Playful, mysterious, and full of spectacle and hope. It almost felt like a Disney live-action movie from an earlier era, but brought up to date. Not a classic, but heaps of fun.
  • The Imitation Game: I’ve read so much about Turing, Enigma, and Bletchley Park, that this felt like a walk over old ground. Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance felt over-the-top to me.
  • Top Five: Chris Rock plays a comedian and actor struggling to be taken seriously, and failing. On the release day of his new movie, he consents to being interviewed by a journalist (Rosario Dawson), and they end up learning more about each other and themselves than they had bargained for. It’s not a laugh-a-minute riot, and it doesn’t try to uncover deep meaning; it’s just funny and touching. It reminded me a bit of Before Sunrise, and it also reminded me that I still need to see Birdman

I was staying with Mum & Dad while I was in Edinburgh this week. I took the day off on Monday, and we went to Glasgow. We did some shopping (I bought a new suitcase), saw a couple of music videos at the GoMA, and had dinner at DiMaggio’s (their gluten-free pizza is excellent).

I had rented a car and was driving back and forth to Edinburgh. I still am not fully caught up on 99% Invisible, and so I had a stack of episodes cued up for the commute. One of them was episode 118, which features a different podcast, Song Exploder. In Song Exploder, Hrishikesh Hirway invites musicians to deconstruct some of their work, and show how they build up their soundscapes layer by layer. This particular instalment was with Jeff Beal, who composed the soundtrack for House of Cards. It was fascinating, and I think I’m going to have to listen to all of Song Exploder’s back catalogue now. Also, it put House of Cards further up my priority watch list, and Abi and I sat down to the first two episodes yesterday evening. Very good so far!

My flight back home on Wednesday evening was more interesting than usual. About 45 minutes into the flight the pilot announced that we were diverting to Manchester for a medical emergency. We banked right, and landed quickly. An emergency services crew came on board and spent some time with the passenger before taking her off the plane in a wheelchair. She did not look well, and I hope she is okay. Afterwards we spent a while refuelling and waiting for an exit slot at Manchester. The second leg of the flight was incident-free, but it was late by the time I got back. The Easyjet flight crew were excellent throughout.

To pass the time I listened to some other podcasts I had on my iPad, including a couple of episodes of Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything. Eh, I can’t say it struck me right. I found the content engaging, but I don’t like Benjamen Walker’s voice. Like Adam Goldberg in 2 Days in Paris, it made me give up part-way through.

Finally, Mark dropped a bomb in the music chat room at work: Garbage are touring again in November. They’re playing the Usher Hall in Edinburgh on Saturday 14th November, but I went for their gig at 013 in Tilburg on 4th November instead. They were great on the Not Your Kind of People tour in 2012, and I’m looking forward to seeing them again.

Even better: the opening act will be Dutch Uncles. In my second week at work with FanDuel (HELLO, WE’RE HIRING, HARD) back in 2013 someone (I’m guessing it was John) dropped their track “Flexxin” into the shared New Music Monday playlist on Spotify, and it became one of my favourite songs of the year. (It also has one of my favourite music videos of all time.) Their last album Out of Touch in the Wild was brilliant, and I spent today listening to their new one, O Shudder and liking it a lot. Despite it being fresh and unfamiliar, the rhythms and vocals lodged themselves in my brain very quickly, and contributed to a couple of hours of actual flow at the end of the day. Wow.