The Lobster: Film review.


Hello-Lobster

Extraordinary but, actually, whisper it, a bit dull.

Having slept through fairly long tranches of this movie I’d nevertheless call it a success.

In part.

Colin Farrell is quite wonderful as the central character who is consigned to a form of detention in a hotel in the depths of Ireland after his partner dumps him.  With his brother in tow (a Border Collie names Bob) he has 45 days to find a new partner or face being turned into an animal of his choice which is a lobster.  Why?  Because they live over 100 years and are fertile throughout their lives.

On arriving he faces a gentle interrogation as to his sexual preferences in which there is a slight suggestion that he may in fact be homosexual but faced with making a decision he opts for straightness.  It’s an odd moment that isn’t actually played out in any underlying way in the movie that follows.

It’s a dystopia in which no-one has any names and humans are not just transformed into animals but are also hunted in a nearby forest for hotel extensions.

His quest for love is challenging and results in his escaping the, presumably government run, facility to join a band of guerrilla terrorists where he finds his match in Rachel Weisz.  However the terrorists ban love so a complex sign language evolves between the pair as they seek to develop a relationship.  It’s kind of silly but also kind of funny.

It’s part farce, part surrealism and has several laugh out loud moments but it’s too slow, dragging endlessly in parts. Yet the juries at Cannes nominated it for their top prize.  I can see why, but I can also see why it failed to scoop.

The director, Yorgos Lathimos, is renowned for his satires and this is his first English language excursion and has much in common with previous outings.

This is Farrell’s movie from start to finish as he is rarely off screen.  He demonstrates his knack for off kilter humour that had us rolling in the aisles in In Brugges, but this a very different kettle of crustaceans.

Nevertheless he pulls off his task with aplomb.  It really is as quite remarkable performance ably supported by John C Reilly, Ashley Jenson and Olivia Coleman.

Odd? Yes.

Great? Not quite.

My favourite New York Street Art.


In the city of a thousand art galleries you don’t actually need to visit a gallery to enjoy world class art.  Here is a selection of my favourites that I have photographed over my last two visits.

There are many more.

I photographed this astounding Tristran Eaton portrait of Audrey Hepburn in Mulberry Street in Little Italy that he painted in 2013.  It prompted a special visit for me and Jeana on our recent trip to pay homage.  It’s my favourite street painting in the whole goddam city.

Audrey

This one isn’t far behind mind you.  It’s by Eduardo Korda and you can catch it from The High Line and is based on the iconic 1945 photograph “V-J Day in Times Square” by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

IMG_5711 large

And then there’s the Einstein, also on the High Line (but certainly modelled on) Banksy.

I loved this Joey Ramone painting at the entrance to Bleeker Street on The Bowery by John “Crash” Matos and Solus.

joey

And I’m a fan of this by Nick Walker called Love Vandal, you’ll find it above a car park at 17th and 6th Avenue.

I love

This one, four storeys high, also in Mulberry Street in Little Italy is called Terror Tot and was painted by Ron English.

baby Hulk

The following bunch are all in Williamsburgh…

IMG_6010

wish I was gaysm

IMG_5991sm

IMG_5996sm

Hidden: Lyceum Youth Theatre. Review


CSKy-GXWoAE1KbB.jpg-large

(Picture Credit:  Douglas Shirlaw)

I have to share my congratulations with the Lyceum Youth Theatre.  I’ve seen many of their productions in my time as a board member of The Royal Lyceum Theatre Company but none have been as absorbing and original as this.  Conceived and developed by the company themselves and boasting no fewer than four directors (Mark Thomson, John Glancy, Christie O’Carroll and Amanda Gaughan) it’s a showcase of Lyceum directing and producing talent past and present and a fitting way for our amazing theatre to celebrate its 50th anniversary as one of the stars of this site specific production is the theatre itself.

We get to see dressing rooms, the undercroft, behind the bars, a now unused Victorian staircase and the dusty old ‘Gods’ as we are ushered around the building by a series of guides, one of whom turns out to be a performer in disguise.

What the production itself consists of is four ‘Penny Dreadfuls’ that are anything but dreadful as they spookily explore the mysteries of the Lyceum’s Victorian building, its ghosts and the secrets it may contain.  Particularly affecting is John Glancy’s contribution in ‘The Gods’ in which a group of animal-masked performers summon up demons and appear to sacrifice the biblical Abel.  The disused and peeling Victorian stairwell gives Mark Thomson a fantastic canvas on which to paint a picture of ghostly Victorian trauma with a number of particularly creepy vignettes.

The back stage area was used effectively to show a group of actors preparing for their stage performance in pale white light casting effective shadows in the gloom, and the undercroft hosted a particularly effective scene with three Cheshire Cats (or were they dastardly rabbits) that whirled the audience of only 25 about their space demonically.

The scariest moment was reserved for the bar area where we passed through another Victorian Bedlam.  Pity the poor lady audience member who was first in, as she was met by a shrieking madman, caged to her left, in a moment redolent of Silence of the Lambs.

The dressing room sequence also had some particularly Kubrikesque moments that would not have been out of place in The Shining.

Throughout the hour long performance the young cast were entirely inscrutable as they delivered their otherworldly creepshow to perfection – not easy to keep up this degree of deliberate underplaying so consistently.

All in all a superb theatrical experience that had all of the audience laughing nervously as they approached each play within a play within a play full of trepidation.

Excellent.

Memento Mori. Creepy photos of the dead popularised in Victorian times.


I’ve missed this whole concept of Memento Mori but read about it on Yahoo’s home page today.

it’s weird and means “remember that you have to die” in Latin.

it is rooted in Christian tradition although it’s popularity as a photographic record of your lost ones died off very quickly after the advent of photography which the Victorians seemed to take to with some gusto.

Here are some examples.

n.b. NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 02.20.47

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 02.20.11

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 02.19.26

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 02.18.58

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 02.18.41

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 02.16.30

mother252520and252520post252520mortem252520child

Live Music Review. The Sleaford Mods: Live at La Belle Angele, Edinburgh. 14/10/15


IMG_1245

To start with it, was probably not my best move to spend the evening of my wife’s birthday in a nightclub listening to Britain’s most interesting band.

The Sleaford Mods are like no other band ever and yet are like an amalgam of many; PIL, Mark E. Smith and John Cooper Clarke spring immediately to mind on the vocal front underscored by The Prodigy.

The set starts slowly(ish) and immediately it’s apparent that, good as it is La Belle Angele’s sound system is, it is not subtle enough to enunciate each of Jason Williamson’s vitriol-fuelled words; Jolly Fucker and Bunch of Cunts being two fairly representative song titles.  What follows is a gradual winding up of the tension spring as each song adds one or two bpm’s to the tempo and the volume gradually cranks up in tandem with the speed.

Or so it seems.

The hatred of working class life and utter disgust at austerity UK lays the foundation for this 55 minute set of songs rarely longer than two minutes long.  I say songs but we are talking poetry here as very few melodies stray into Williamson’s performance.  That said, it is a tuneful, rhythmic affair as Andrew Fearn drives the groove through his laptop.  His set consisted of beer drinking, slouching (upright admittedly) with both hands in the pockets of his jeans and the pressing of ‘play’ every other minute.

And yet his contribution is every bit as vital as Williamson’s as the groove flirts with disco, dubstep, rave and heavy metal in a relentless thundering of bass, drum and keyboard.

It’s an extraordinary contrast to the ever more demonic performance of Williamson who reaches the set end drenched in sweat and surely with a larynx in spasm.

They call it post punk/hip-hop.

I call it mesmerising.