Posts from 19th January 2009

Jan 09

The Bunny’s Lair

FT + Popular7 comments • 1,550 views

For people on Spotify, I’ve created a playlist of all the 50s Popular entries*.

Further playlists to follow for the 60s, 70s and 80s (which will of course be regularly updated).

*except Andy Williams’ “Butterfly” – of all things! – which is not-ify on Spotify.

My 10 Worst Films Of 2008: 5: Vantage Point

FT13 comments • 1,286 views

Imagine an episode of 24 where you see the same thing happening over and over again from a different viewpoint. Each time you see a new view, you get an extra piece of information, fleshing out the story, telling you what really happened. A bit like Rashomon. The pitch for Vantage Point is not what is wrong with it. Not completely. The problem with seeing the same thing from a different viewpoint is that, on the whole, you are seeing the same thing over and over again. There might be a few new interesting tidbits to flesh the story out, but realistically, its just repetition. To make it work you will probably need to invest in the characters with each of these viewpoints, and a clever storyline which allows this teasing out.

Vantage Point is 24 meets Rashomon with no interesting characters, a plot so mind-bogglingly stupid that showing it over and over again really does expose its flaws. Look, this Japanese poster makes the 24 rip even more explicit. Its going to be a long lunch. I will now spoil what I remember of the plot, bearing in mind that in this case stopping you seeing this film is in no way spoiling your life.


Blind swordsmen are like football teams with ten men

Do You See + TMFD3 comments • 170 views

Hard to beat. Love and Honour the sadly generically titled final film in Yôji Yamada’s samurai trilogy is a sedate, old fashioned tale which features a blind swordsman. The ICA for some reason had to show it on DVD, whose reduced resolution made it look like a fifties Japanese film, which was exactly how it felt (like a low powered Ozu). This is no Zatoichi though. Instead we have a court food taster who ingests a bit of poison and it removes the power of sight. A few rumours and a wife needing to do what they can to survive and this peon finds himself committing to a battle for honour with a local samurai.

As we reached the climatic battle, and all the training sequences showed just how hard it is to fight someone when blind, I thought it might be the antidote to Zatoichi. The food taster wasn’t that handy with a sword in the first place, so by rights he should have been diced to pieces. SPOILERS:


THE FT TOP 100 TRACKS OF ALL TIME No. 34: Shanice – I Love Your Smile

FT/8 comments • 684 views

It’s fourteen degrees centigrade in my room, much colder out, and at this point in January summer feels like a friend you’ve lost touch with and will never see again, but sometimes semi-recognise in the faces of strangers in the street; and in this song. 

I don’t remember a time when this song didn’t exist. I don’t remember any one time I’ve heard it on the radio. In my head it’s jumbled up with in-line-skating, loudly-patterned leggings, pineapple and cheese cubes on sticks, an oversaturated yellow mess of nostalgia beyond emotion. The song tells much the same story as Janet Jackson’s ‘Whoops Now’ four years later: school’s boring, her boss is lame, the only thing that gets her through is — is the chorus, the way it rolls with blithe certainty into the hook, whistling and tootling doo doo doos, as sure as summer. Vague discontent gives way to wordless contentment. 

You can’t hear this song and not feel the sun come out, somewhere inside — or even outside. I’ve been listening to this song over and over, writing this, and as I type I’ve just noticed the sun peek out from behind the clouds to shine its smile in through my window. Summer’s going to come back, inevitable as a laid-back drum loop, as heartwarming as a saxophone solo. So: smile!

SHAKIN’ STEVENS – “Green Door”

FT + Popular46 comments • 5,419 views

#483, 1st August 1981

“I don’t know what they’re doing but they laugh a lot”. As a kid I had no great knowledge of speakeasies and after-hours clubs, so I projected a different – perhaps more glamorous – meaning onto the song, drawn from a childhood reading Tolkein, Nesbit and endless books of fairytales. The Green Door, quite clearly set into a hillside, or visible only on Beltane Eve, or found on an old street not marked on any map, led into the Otherworld, and the mocking laughter was obviously that of elves or boggarts. With this reading firm in my mind I could sympathise greatly with Shakey’s frustration – though I thought he was probably too old for this kind of adventure.