Saturday, 12 March 2016

Fortnightly Links | Edition 1

I love Harry Potter, friends. I love its magnitude, its effects on literature and charity and pop culture. But it surprises some people to find out that everything succeeding the release of the final film installment has gone right over my head. I get frustrated by new additions to the story or changes or cover-ups. I want the story to be left alone. I am a firm believer in the 'The End'. I could elaborate on this but instead I want to link you to a piece of criticism by Dr. Adrienne Keene, in response to JK Rowling's History of Magic in North America series that's being published on Pottermore. This response is composed and informed and well worth a read.

Check out the trailer for The Witch, a film I saw on a whim last night. It's rated 15 and it's a psychological horror, so consider that before watching the above video. The film, directed by Robert Eggers, screened at Sundance earlier this year, and was released in the UK this weekend. It's the story of a Puritan family in 17th century New England, who are forced to leave their plantation and set up a farm in the middle of bloody nowhere. What follows is an incredible performance from a young newcomer, Anya Taylor-Joy, as tragedies begin happening and the family's faith is tested as suspicion of daughter Thomasin (Taylor-Joy) being a witch is voiced. It's void of jump-scares and melodrama, but instead relies on insidious moments and an excellent soundtrack. My knowledge of witches comes from Macbeth, The Crucible and er... Sabrina, but true followers of witch trials' place in Christian history will love this.

I've been working my way through Variety's Actors On Actors series since last month when I discovered them pre-Oscars. It's a series of interviews where actors who have appeared in some of this year's Academy Awards buzz films interview each other. Because of this, it's very white, but there's some really interesting insight if you have the time to watch them in full. I've linked the Bryan Cranston/Jason Segel one, even thought theirs are among the few films I haven't seen [Trumbo and The End of the Tour]. I'm just so fond of Bryan Cranston and he comes across as not only hilarious, but a very sincere listener/asker.

Finally, some quick links! Little Green Cars' Easier Day is the Saturday soundtrack in our house. I adore Clémence Poésy, she did a speedy interview in i-D and it's worth clicking on for the accompanying photo alone. I have my eye on Miranda July's new short story collection, No One Belongs Here More Than You, mainly because it's just the right shade of yellow.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

This Is Where I'm At | March

An empty space to fill in

February is the shortest month and I can't say I'm not glad.

Last month I saw Istanbul, Barcelona and Andorra. Last year I was pretty good at writing little round-ups of the places I visited and taking a few decent photos, but I can't seem to get back into the swing of that. Especially on whistle-stop trips; it doesn't feel like I can do the places justice. I also find myself frustrated at the 'trendy' style of travel blogging that seems to prevail: posts that only tell you where to eat and shop and share photos taken in some of the biggest chains in the world.

I feel like February was full of words. Generic words on my curriculum vitae edited and re-edited, truths stretched so far they're almost transparent. I've applied for so many jobs. I've been writing fiction, I've been writing poetry* and I've been treating that as my job and making myself perform that job, even if it's not at an Employee of the Month standard.

I'm not February's biggest fan, generally, but I love Bry's birthday. I like the types of gifts people buy him. I like how he's slowly warming to the day, given that for the first few months I knew him, he wouldn't even tell me when his birthday was. He also loathes star signs, but he is such an Aquarius, trust me.

Perhaps I've written before about receiving sad news and that diminishing my ability to write about all the little banal things that I would ordinarily ramble about. This past week has felt a lot like that. When something terrible happens in my hometown, I feel very far away and everything I'm doing here seems a bit meaningless when someone else has had their world torn apart. In the film 50/50, a character called Mitch tells Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character, Adam, that "no one likes going to the hospital. That’s not why people go." I hope you - anonymous you - never have to face hospitals or funerals or those other unpleasant places. But if you do, I hope that you can remember Mitch's words and just go.

The final day of February was an EXCELLENT one, so excellent that I'm not allowed to tell you anything about it. It was one of those days I'm so grateful to have experienced, because creative, talented people doing their thing is always such a joy to witness. I hope that novelty never wears off.

In early February I watched The True Cost on Netflix. It's a documentary about the impact the fashion industry is having on the world. It takes you on the journey a cheap t-shirt from a high street store has been on to reach your hands at that price. It's frustrating and sad and important. I hope to make more sustainable choices in the future.
I read Jeff Zentner's debut YA novel, The Serpent King and reviewed it here along with Lindsay Eagar's Hour of the Bees.
Aside from that, I'm still listening to Adele and still in love with her.

* Whether you can call it poetry or not is debatable, but I just put a collection of writing up for download here.

Yours, feeling the buzz of having encouraging female friends,