Thursday, October 31, 2019

It's the horror that people remember

Hundreds of movies are made all over the world every year, and this has been going on for a century now, so it's not a surprise that so much has been forgotten. The vast majority of films produced in the 20th century are barely mentioned and rarely watched. But dopey genre films are far more likely to be remembered, regardless of actual merit, and when old movies disappear from the public consciousness, horror, science fiction and fantasy stick around.

Horror is a great place for young filmmakers to start out, because you can do truly scary things with a minuscule budget and - more importantly - produce a profit that will set you up for further films. But they're also remembered for many, many years afterwards, written about in books and kept alive by genre lovers.

More people will have watched Carnival of Souls - a micro-budgeted chiller with a genuinely creepy atmosphere - than the really big hits of 1962 like That Touch of Mink or Bon Voyage or The Interns (more people have probably seen Lawrence of Arabia, or Dr No, though.) Cavalcade might have swept the Oscars in 1933, but it's an insanely dated drama to 21st century eyes, while the original King Kong is immortal. Even something as relatively obscure as I Walked With A Zombie is remembered with far more fondness than contemporary hits like The More The Merrier or This Is The Army.

Most of these films that have survived were written off as trash in the day, and yet they're still part of the conversation, even in this fast and modern 21st century. And while it's another Halloween today, these kinds of films are for more than one day. They're for ever.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Five stars, or nothing

Giving something a star rating at the end of a review - whether it's for a book or comic or movie or album or anything - is a cheap, easy way to get an idea of whether something is any good or not, without bothering with any pesky details like context or depth. I try and read as many reviews as I can, to get the broadest view possible, and a star rated shortcut certainly helps.

But I'm still a total fucking snob about these things. I can't get behind any kind of letter grading - I still have no fucking idea what a B+ means - and four star reviews just don't do it for me.

It's gotta be a five star-system or nothing, because that's the easiest to instantly grasp - five stars mean it's essential, four is pretty good, three is average as hell, two is mediocre and one is diabolical. That's all you need. You certainly don't need to start throwing half-stars in there, you just have to commit to the rankings.

The five-star ratings in Empire always stick in my mind as the best example - for years I made a point of hunting down every five-star review they gave (they haven't been quite so accurate in recent years), and it's always a bit disappointing when something gets three-stars, because that just means it's bland, and probably not worth the time - even a one-star can be worth watching for the awfulness.

This is a totally irrational way to consume data about entertainment, but it still always works for me.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

I couldn't get to Batman

Thirty years later, and it's getting hard to explain how the first big Batman movie was a huge fucking deal, and I was just another 14-year-old dork losing my mind over it. I had the excellent prestige-format comic adaption, I had a lot of the bubblegum cards (and even bought a whole unopened box, and was gutted to discover I still couldn't put a complete set together from) I had multiple making of books and magazines, and I had two of the soundtracks.

But I just could not get to the movie, because I was 14 and poor and lived a half-hour drive from the nearest cinema. It was just a period of time when I just couldn't get to a cinema, no matter how hard I tired, and I missed a lot. There was about four years there when the only film I saw at a theatre was Edward Scissorhands during the afternoon in the school holidays, and even though I was absolutely desperate to see things like T2 and Star Trek VI, I just couldn't.

As soon as I got a car and some disposable income, I made up for the cinema drought, and once I moved to a decent-sized city, I was going to the movies six or seven times a week, and there was things like film societies and festivals and it was absolute heaven.

But for a few years, right in the middle of the teens, every single film I saw came from the video store. There was never a huge selection, but there was always something, and I watched hundreds and hundreds of films through the dodgy tacking. That's how I eventually saw Batman, nearly a year after its cinema debut, on glorious tape. (I did get to see it at the start of a midnight triple feature once, where there were only about 12 people in the whole audience, but I was so tired I fell asleep before the big parade.)

Later on, when I could get to the cinema regularly, I saw Batman Forever three or four times at the movies, because while it's still cheesy as fuck, it was still fun and colourful and sexy as hell. I haven't missed a Batman film at the movies since, but I don't think I ever really got over that frustration of the early teens, when I was stuck in a small town, far from the flickering lights.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Do not mess with the cleaning ladies

There is a brilliant bit somewhere in the Thick of It, when Malcolm Tucker meets somebody he can't scare, or intimidate, or bargain with, and he just has to totally capitulate, because he has no choice. And it's a cleaning lady.

In the halls of the most powerful people in the country, Tucker has something on all of them. But when one of those meatheads disrespects a cleaning lady who is only trying to do her bloody job, Tucker can't bribe her, or threaten her, and he bloody knows it.

Because she hasn't got much, but she's got her pride, and she's not playing the silly little games that the flesh-sacks in suits around her are playing. She's got more important things in life to worry about.

And Tucker is proper fucked, because the cleaning staff have access to everything, and hear it all, and are almost always ignored, but they know everything that is going on.

So Tucker never loses his cool at them, and is always polite with the staff. He does the same with his secretary, showing her a bit of respect while methodically dismantling the egos of the politicians he works with, because he knows that power is an illusion.

This is why it's always best to be polite, and say please and thank you to the people who clean your offices, or drive you home, or make your food. Not just because they can totally fuck you over if they wanted to, but because they bloody well deserve a bit of respect.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

We all need some upsetting sometimes

Who needs an upsetter? You need an upsetter. I need an upsetter. We all need some upsetter.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Face the wheel!

Okay, so settling all of society's woes with a Thunderdome-type battle, bungee-jumping around a steel cage with chainsaws and blades and giant fuck-off mallets is obviously deeply problematic.

But the world might be a better place if the 'break a deal, face the wheel' concept was around in modern society. The threat of gulag might make people a bit more honest.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Nobody's Fool: The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead

Bill Griffiths has long been known for his magnificent Zippy The Pinhead comics, but his latest excursion into the world of beautiful freaks takes a detour into the real world, telling the story of  Schlitzie the Pinhead.

And it's a fantastic biography, telling the life of this glorious freak with wit and compassion. It's a  biography that veers into personal memoir, as Griffiths injects himself into the narrative and revealing how his legendary Zippy character was born, but never loses sight of the real pinhead at the heart of it.

It's also really, really funny, especially with Schlitzie's non sequitur reactions to everything. Even when he is rejected and let down by society, and on the skids, his outbursts are still warm and hilarious. Schlitze didn't always have the best life, but was supported and loved, and with his truly idiosyncratic view on life, he's a true legend.

And Griffith's retelling of the pinhead's life is meticulously well-researched and incredibly easy to follow, with his straight-talking cartooning style bringing it all to life. Even as it spans decades of time and an equally sprawling geography, Schlitzie is always front and center, and bringing the reader along with him, as he really gets into doing the dishes.

We're so much more socially advanced now, apparently, and things like freak shows have been consigned to history, but Griffith's book makes it clear that there was also dignity in a life in front of a gawking public, and a real person behind that goofy grin.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Spider solitaire: You have to cheat to win

For the past decade or so, I've become straight up addicted to Spider Solitaire several times. It's the only computer game I ever keep coming back to, even after I've conquered it.

I think I've got the hang of it now, I have a perfect 100 percent solve record with all four suits on the current stats, with a couple of hundreds wins in a row. But it's still fucking hard, and a decent bloody challenge - it can take me more than two hours to crack a hand.

And the lovely wife is deeply unimpressed by it all. Not just because it's such an incredible waste of time, but because she thinks I cheat because I make prodigious use of the undo button.

I try to explain that it's like a maze, and there is a path to completing a dealt hand. There is just so much randomness in the cards and zero room for error, and the odds of choosing all the right cards to put on each other is truly astronomical. You have to go back and forth, like a Choose Your Own Adventure, trying out different combinations, but she's having none of it, she just thinks I'm cheating.

It's not that kind of game, but it's the kind of game that I can't stop playing. There is always a path to victory, even if it gets fuckin' frustrating finding it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

I gots grammar!

If I put 'GRAMMARLY CAN FUCK RIGHT OFF' in every single blog or social media post I can, will they stop showing me ads for their service on every single fucking video I try to watch online?

I do this shit for a living, man. I don't need a website to keep telling me how to do it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Not everything has to go in a box

There is an obsession with labels and categories that has spread all through critical writing these days, and it is something that is almost completely unavoidable. Everything needs to go in the right box. Which is a shame, because it's so fucking boring.

Along with a regrettable sense of sheer entitlement, it's one of those things that have infected the mainstream from geek culture. Hardcore nerds have been saying for years that everything has to be in its proper slot, everything has to be in the right place, and now there are few critics who manage to avoid it.

I grew up buried up to my tits in Doctor Who and comic book fandom, so I'm certainly used to this shit. But when Sight and Sound is fretting over whether something is a film or not, because it's released through Netflix instead of a typical cinema release, nowhere is safe. Unfortunately, it's also possibly the single most boring argument in all of film criticism, because who fucking cares?

(If it really fucking bothers you, there is an easy fix: everything that is filmed - for television or streaming, or short films, or series, or YouTube videos, or whatever - are films, and things that play in the cinema are movies. Always works for me.)

Likewise, there was so much hand-wringing over whether Succession is a drama or a comedy, as if that matters. Knowing it's created by one of the geniuses behind Peep Show is a bit of a fucking giveaway, but it can still be both.  Or one, or the other. It doesn't matter at all

Worrying about where it goes is for squares.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Comic books in the toy store

There were no comic shops when I was a kid, and as a total fiend for four-colour funnies, I was usually shit out of luck. There were just racks of the barest and most expensive Marvel and DC and Archie comics in the bookshops, and whatever randomly showed up at the local corner dairy. The thrill of the chase is all well and good, but sometimes you'd miss an issue of X-Men and it would literally be 10 years before you ever saw another copy of that issue.

But sometimes, there would be a dump of remaindered comics at a toy shop or supermarket, and that was like a gift from the heavens. They would be so much cheaper than the new stuff (where you'd be paying roughly three times the US cover price, and left you staring daggers at the fuckers in the letters page complaining about the 75 cent price tag), and they would often be brilliantly random selections.

Sometime in the mid eighties, I found a huge toy warehouse just off George St in Dunedin, and went in to see if they had any new Super Powers action figures. I still got the amazing red Parademon and the armoured-to-fuck Mantis figures, but the real excitement was up by the counter, where there were relatively new issues of DC comics that I'd never seen before, like their Star Trek title and the Red Tornado miniseries, for just 50c each.

All my school holiday money went into that giant bookshelf of DC joy, because you just didn't find those kinds of comics for those kinds of prices, and I still have some of those issues, all these years later.

It happened a few times after that, but never enough. There was the huge amounts of DC comics from the very late eighties - including almost every single Invasion! tie-in - that showed up at Timaru's biggest toystore (now a liquor outlet),;the odd three-pack at the local supermarket that would give you some Batman: Year One, a precious Uncanny X-Men and some bloody Star Comics thing; and there was the bunch of comics at the Christchurch airport bookstore that was the best of them all.

That last one was a hard introduction to brilliant things like Sandman and Doom Patrol and the 5YL Legion of Super-Heroes, but most of the time it was the dregs that got remaindered down to this level. A rare drop of Marvel at the supermarket where my Mum used to work in the early nineties was full of Nth Man and early New Universe comics, and it was obvious this was a bulk lot of rubbish that somebody couldn't get rid of, but I still hoovered a lot of it up, because I was still hungry for any comic book I could get.

Since nearly everything went fully direct market, you don't really see these kinds of things anymore, and I no doubt benefited over the years from massive overprints and a plentiful supply that just doesn't exist anymore. But I'm still keeping an eye out every time I'm in the supermarket, even if they haven't been there for years. You never know.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Adventures in South African comic advertising #3

The best thing about the  ads in this Spider-Man comic is that they're not just trying to get people to read other superhero nonsense, they're trying to intice readers into all sorts of crazy shit.

That, and the way that Wit Tier looks ready to rip somebody a new one, even though Tessa is the truly dangerous one.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Adventures in South African comic advertising #2

I have never wanted to read a Kid Colt comic book, or any kind of story starring a woman named Louise, as much as I do right now.

One more lot tomorrow - all from the same comic! - including the brutish horror of the mighty Wit Tier and the swashbuckling titillation of Tessa!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Adventures in South African comic advertising #1

I'm slightly addicted to buying overseas reprints of American superhero comics, especially when they come with local ads, because it's always fascinating to see what they thought the audience would be interested in, (and considering the state of the advertising in modern US comics is so dire and narrow-focused).

I don't know how this South African reprint of the Amazing Spider-Man #165 ended up at my local second hand bookstore, but I'm bloody glad it did, because the ads in this things are magnificent. Mostly photo-stills of men and women in action, ads for photo novels and storybooks and other comics featuring nurses and manly men and young love.

More of this tomorrow. Scorsese reckons Marvel adaptions can't be art, but that's just because he hasn't seen this live-action pic of Kid Colt yet....

Thursday, October 17, 2019

It's funny because it's true

I like a lot of writers who focus on brutal and transgressive cinema, and how it is a vital part of any artistic diet, but when they get upset by seeing somebody who looks like them getting mistreated, it's always a little bit funny, and I always think of this Evan Dorkin cartoon, (because there is always a great Evan Dorkin cartoon for everything...).

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The dishes are DONE, man!

I do the dishes in our household, that's been the deal for more than a decade, and I'm happy to do them. Partly because every time I finish them - and I mean every single time - I hear in my head this dude from The Burbs going 'The dishes are DONE, man!'.

I take my thrills where I can get them.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Another Dredd end

He takes off his helmet for her.

Monday, October 14, 2019

GI Joe's creepy suburbia

The GI Joe comic in the 1980s was a lot better than it had any right to be. As a gigantic ad for the action figures and accessories, it still managed to do genuinely interesting things with world-building and comic craftwork, and building up character without resorting to clumsy dialogue.

Larry Hama did an amazing job with the writing chores on this silly little comic. There were humongous and fast-moving action scenes, scores of witty asides between the gunplay and a pleasing willingness to murder many of the characters without a second thought.

But one of the best things about it - which was hugely resonant in the yuppyfied 1980s and is just as relevant today - was the way he hid a terrorist organisation between the facade of small town America.

Cobra's recruiting methods were straight out of the conservative playbook - using working class dissatisfaction with government dysfunction to fuel an unabashedly fascistic organisation. Recruiters brought in grunt soldiers through door to door salesmen and financial pyramid schemes, and soon had them tooling up with high-powered weaponry.

It was right there, under the surface as much as the Joe's headquarters were buried beneath a desert. And behind the picket fences and sensible clothing, there were torture chambers and genetic experiments and ninja clans and weather dominators, because that kind of terror is everywhere.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Looking for the Wedding Shemp

They keep saying that his role was cut from the movie, but I've spent a quarter of a century trying to spot Bruce Campbell in the background of The Quick and the Dead, and I'm not about to give up now.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Invisibles and The Boys: Time is flat

I had to give up listening to a podcast about the Invisibles - even though I ever wanna do is listen to people talk about the Invisibles (all I ever wanna do is talk about the Invisibles) - because they didn't seem to get any of the context, and were more interested in annotating stuff like it was a fuckin' Wikipedia entry instead of the complex, fucked-up and hilarious narrative it was.

This was all very familiar. If time is a solid, these kind of reaction to Morrison's comic is a bruise that spreads across reality.

Added to that the endless furrowed brows about the super decadence of The Boys TV show, (which was never the most interesting part of any version of that story), and I really feel like I'm stuck in the geekiest time loop ever. Stop this ride, I wanna get off.

Friday, October 11, 2019

I just can't throw out any books

I'm all brave and shit when it comes to cleaning out the print collection, and deciding that I don't really need so many comics, magazines and books, but I'm a total coward when it comes to actually tossing them out and getting them destroyed.

I just can't do it, even if it's got nothing more I can get out of it - somebody else might. All those music mags form the turn of the century, those Reader Digest books about ancient Egypt, all those books about politics in the earliest days of the 21st century (already looking hopeless antiquated in their naivety), I just didn't have the room, and I'm unlikely to ever crack them open again, so they've got to go. I just can't put them in the trash.

I try to sell this shit off as much as possible, but some thing I can't even get a buck for, and they go straight to the local charity depot, who always seem grateful for something that can turn around quickly at one of their mega-sales.

As long as it's not moldy or falling apart, everything goes there. The only book I really had to get toss out, and that was a semi-porno book, which wouldn't have gone down well. Nobody wants second hand porno.

They will all get tossed or mulched or burned or just fall apart, somewhere down the line, but maybe somebody will get something out of it. I'm not taking that responsibility.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Grendel! Arkwright!

There is certainly excitement in the news that Matt Wagner and Bryan Talbot are both working on new Grendel Prime and Luther Arkwright comics, (the first issue of the new Grendel came out last week), although it really is a little bittersweet to know that these are highly likely to be their final stories for these excellent characters and concepts.

Hopefully they've both still got decades of good comics to come, because both artists are at the absolute peak of craft and style, but this is obviously the time for both of them to have the final word on these stories. And with the never-ending adventures of so many comic characters draining all the life out of them, it's always refreshing to have that kind of definitive ending.

I can't wait to read these comics, and I also can't wait for that full stop.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

This, and that, and nothing inbetween: Joker and Ad Astra

It was genuinely surprising to realise how much I wasn't interested in seeing the new Joker film. Partly it's because I just can't get to the cinema at the moment, so why worry about it, and partly because I just don't need to see a skinny white dude who is mistreated by the world lash out in a homicidal rage, and the director's inability to sell his movie without falling into predictable old man bullshit didn't help.

But mainly it was because every time it gets compared - even favourably - to The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver, it seriously dulled the enthusiasm. Yeah, I've seen those movies too, dude, and yeah, they ruled. What else have you got?

I've also seen many, many different versions of the Joker, and this might the first to really make him a sympathetic character, but there's a good reason for that. (Hint: HE FUCKING KILLS PEOPLE.)

There was a similar disniterest in seeing Ad Astra, where it went for the structure and thematic meat of Apocalypse Now and 2001, but replaced the transcendence of humanity pushed beyond the limits of existence for more fucking daddy issues. (We get it, screenwriting dudes. Your dad was a cunt.)

This didn't stop the director of Ad Astra from moaning that that audiences were more interested in superhero nonsense than something original, which is a depressing simplistic view of the way we all consume media these days, and not conceding that maybe we've seen all this before, and that a director with a large backlog of deeply mediocre films is unlikely to have much more to show us.

The 'it's a popular film meets another popular film' tagline is an easy way to sell a movie, but if that story has already been told by better, smarter filmmakers, decades ago, maybe it's not worth repeating.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Bored Games: Risk

I haven't played the classic version of Risk in years now, but I've still got the basic strategies filed away, ready to bring out at a moment's notice. They don't guarantee I'd win every game, but they always mean I'll be there at the end.

They are strategies formed and tested on a shitty monochrome video game that I played at one of my first jobs in the mid-90s, and then finely honed in countless campaigns with a group of mates who were just as experienced and cunning as I was. With blitzkrieg options and nuclear weapons involved, they were fast paced and ruthless.

But come at me in any way, and I'll have a plan. There's Fortress Australia, which is near unbeatable; or the American Creep, always moving north; or the African Home Base, which sets you up to take on anybody at any time. If the cards are against you at the start, there's always the Malignant Tumor option, where you just sit on the border at the top of Europe and Asia - nobody attacks you, because your territory is worthless, except nobody wants any other player to have those continents, so you just sit there and wait for the time to strike. It can take hours, but it's hard to defeat.

Following all these strategies always works, while also allowing for some extreme improvisation. All other strategy games are a pale imitation of Risk, and you play me at your peril.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Horror begins in the Twilight Zone

The first time I was allowed to stay up and watch a horror film in the usual Sunday Horrors slot on TV2, it was the Incredible Shrinking Man, which wasn't very horrific at all and certainly nothing scary - not even the giant spider at the end. But around the same time, I was also allowed to go to a Saturday matinee screening of the Twilight Zone movie at the pictures, and that scared the fucking shit out of me.

Not the Spielberg story - that was boring because I was 8 and didn't have much interest in slow meditations on the pain of aging, and George Miller's climactic 30,000 Feet was too exhilarating to be really scary.

But the suddenness of Dan Ackroyd becoming a Thing in the opening credits, and there was the eye in the doorway and the creepy fucking cartoons of Joe Dante's segment.  And even at that age, I had heard of something horrible happening on the set during John Landis' segment, and the dread of those awful deaths overhung the entire movie.

There was no internet in those days, so I had to spoil it for everybody personally, which I did for weeks afterwards at school, telling everybody at length about my first brush with a real proper horror movie.

It had scared the shit out of me, and I wanted more of it. So much more.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

This is my life now, and it's the best life

I've been devouring all sorts of entertainments for my entire life, because all those comics and books and movies and TV shows and music and theatre and video games and fine art makes me feel things, and gives me a better appreciation and understanding of this fucked-up world we live in.

And even though this is hardly a groundbreaking revelation, none of that matches the intensity of having a brand new human in your life. Nothing has ever been funnier than the faces she pulls and the noises she makes, and nothing has been as moving as the way she makes us feel.

But this is not a baby blog, and I'm going to lay off the parental over-sharing for a while, and go back to more blathering about the entertainment I consume, and the way I consume it, and the way that consumption makes me feel, just like I have been for the past decade.

This is my life now, but I don't need to keep going on about it.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

This is my life now: Reading the reads

There are only many puzzle games you can play, and after a while, even the effort of following the relentless momentum of a movie narrative gets a bit much, but when I'm trying to stay awake in the middle of the night, there's always room for comic books.

When it comes to reading material in this state of mind, comics are so much easier to follow than the dense prose of a novel or magazine article. The mind tends to wander all over the fucking show when you have a new human sleeping on your chest in the absolute silence of 3am, but comics have that visual kick that helps you keep your place. Even if it takes half an hour to get through half a dozen pages, you never really lose your bearings.

And there is so much time to fill in during this fugue state, so it's possible to get through a small forest of comics. I scorched through every issue of Stray Bullets in the first three days home with the baby, swerved into a thorough re-read of all of Frank Miller's Daredevil comics, and have just about polished off all of the America's Best Comics by Alan Moore, from Top Ten to Promethea.

There are a lot of the naked emotional reactions that I was having with the films, but it's also been a chance to really pore over the craft of the things, and sometimes just stare at some beautiful art for a while. It's a chance to see how these huge, sprawling works all tie up and resolve, and it's a chance to really get through fucking entertaining comics.

I've been reading them over the shoulder of the new human, but she hasn't got a hope in hell of avoiding the comics as she grows up, and I look forward to sharing these with her one day, and seeing what she finds for herself. Judging by the way she stares at the bookcase of graphic novels beside the changing table when we're switching out a filthy nappy, she's already well on her way.

Friday, October 4, 2019

This is my life now: Gaming the game

When you absolutely, positively have to stay awake in the middle of the night, but can't move too far without disturbing the new human sleeping on you, nothing beats playing a puzzle game on the phone.

Something that doesn't require too much mental effort, because that's just never going to happen, but also something that is enough to keep the brain from totally shutting down. Something that just keeps things ticking over, but doesn't require a lot of enthusiastic mashing of buttons.

I ended up laying a lot of Sudoku, because I find that game eternally fascinating, but even then it was so easy to lose games through inattention. I found the absolute best game to keep things going was 2048, you had to pay just enough attention not to fuck things up, but could get into a semi-mindless groove.

Plus, it always takes ages to get to the really tricky stuff - getting the target 2048 is a piece of piss, racking up a 4096 is relatively easy - but getting to a 8192 takes a fucking shitload of swiping, and kept the mind occupied for hours in the deep, dark hours of the night.

Staring in wonder at the baby also took up a lot of time, but it was the puzzle that really kept me conscious.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

This is my life now: Feeling the feelings

The new human wouldn't sleep for long in the first few weeks unless she was lying on top of one of us, which means I have been spending an awful lot of time watching movies on TV at three in the morning.

It means I've finally got around to watching a lot of films I'd always intended to get around to, such as Little Big Man, or rewatching recent favourites like Sorry To Bother You. But it also meant I was getting weirdly emotional about the things I was watching.

In the case of something like Ace In The Hole, that's to be expected, because it's a deadset masterpiece with a killer ending that crushes the heart, but I really wasn't expecting to burst out into actual tears every time Cynthia Erivo started singing in her scenes in Bad Times At The El Royale. Plus, poor fucking Miles the hotel clerk. The part where he reveals exactly how many people he's killed broke my fucking heart.

I also got set off by the sheer humanism of the ending of The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!, which shows how things are right now.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

This is my life now: Dreaming the dream

In the first few nights as a proper dad, I had a lot of fucking weird dreams, and I only understood a tiny fraction of what my brain was telling me.

The startling nightmare where I was being driven away from home by a driverless car was obviously a metaphor for the uncertainty of a new future, which is what you would expect, but I'm fucked if I know what the one where I was Bunk from the Wire, congratulating McNulty on being elected mayor means (all I kept saying was 'THIS motherfucker?').

It probably just means I watch too much bloody TV.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

This is my life now: Singing the song

Walking in on the lovely wife singing this Radiohead song to our new baby, a day after the birth, was instantly one of the greatest moments of my whole life, because of course it fucking was.

I tried to sing to the new human too, but all that sleep deprivation meant the only lyrics I could clearly recall were from The Wall (proving that all that time going over the lyrics wasn't wasted) and the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Whatever works.