A better denunciation of the most powerful man in the world than I could ever write.


trumpflag_0_0

“The man in the white house sits, naked and obscene, a pustule of ego, in the harsh light, a man whose grasp exceeded his understanding, because his understanding was dulled by indulgence.”

Thus speaks Rebecca Solnit in her piece in The Literary Hub that completely destroys Donald Trump with her pen.  The central theme of her piece is the old Russian (ironic, huh) fable of the old man and the Golden Fish.  It is a beautiful fable with a strong moral.

But Donald Trump is not the old man.  He is the greedy, vile, egotistical wife whose desire for power has no end.

This is a long, dense but completely compelling piece.

I hope it predicts the downfall of an evil dictator-to-be.

Schadenfreude, were it to have been invented in Roman times, would probably be one of the 8 vices.

But you know what I can cope with that.

Completely remarkable writing and thank you to Dan Rebellato for sharing it on Twitter.

Read it here.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. (50th Anniversary Edition.)


beatles-sgt-pepper-50th-anniversary-2xcd_01.jpg

Listen to Martin Freeman’s outstanding two part documentary on BBC Radio 2 (iPlayer) called Sgt. Pepper Forever to hear a really interesting insight into the creation of what many believe to be the greatest record ever produced.

I’m listening to Giles Martin’s remix of his late father’s masterpiece and it does sound zingier, cleaner, crisper and yet deeper.  It’s recorded in stereo of course which adds a dimension that purists may not appreciate but I feel adds quality.

And it is quite incredible source material pushing the limits of sound technology absolutely MILES past anything else that had been recorded by 1967.

It introduced completely new compositional facets to pop music (some drawn from classical repertoire) and now we have the benefit of 50 years’ later’s technology to further emphasise its brilliance.

Of course, the songs are what makes it and there’s only 39 minutes 52 seconds of them.

Top of the pile for me are She’s leaving home and the absolve;ute masterpiece Life in a Day.  The story behind the recording of this in Martin Freeman’s documentary is fascinating.

Amazingly (and possibly rarely) all four Beatles have songwriting credits including Ringo who penned “With a Little Help From my Friends.”

Enjoy this spectacular new take on a five star classic.

 

 

 

Alien Covenant: Movie Review.


 

Alien-Covenant-Trailer-Breakdown-59

In which a young Michael Fassbender utters the immortal line to his older brother, also played by Michael Fassbender, as he teaches him how to play a penny whistle, “I’ll do the fingering.”

Stop.

Stop right there.

That was silly right?

Alien:Covenant is Ridley Scott being let loose on his wildest fantasies and this time it’s almost all about religion.  He’s apparently in thrall with the notion that Aliens are gods or some such claptrap.

The name of the ship is ‘Covenant’, the name of the ‘Synthetic’ that was on Prometheus but has met its fate and who forms a big part of this movie’s plotline was David (Michael Fassbender) and David has lured his ten year the junior ‘brother’ Walter (also Fassbender) to Prometheus and to seek the fate of the 2,000 ‘covenanters’ on board ship.

Although Walter is a more advanced model he is more deeply flawed and has had his emotional intelligence reduced as it became apparent that David was too advanced.

Meanwhile, because this is 2017 rather than 1979 special effects, we get to see much more Alien action, which is in itself good (and creepy) but it’s OTT and the Aliens as organisms appear less developed because, remember, this is a prequel to Alien and in the time between the two movies the Aliens have evolved.

It starts great (but slow) the sets are miraculous and the acting largely decent (Katherine Waterston as Daniels is commendable) but the religious theme becomes more and more overbearing and the relationship between Fassbender and Fassbender is preposterous (although well acted).

Although the SFX are great they are just too much and the whole movie descends into a disappointing silly pet project that needs much more script supervision.

Not great I’m afraid.

 

 

 

Evangelii gaudium bullshit. (Or, life in a land of relativistic subjectivism.)


Scan.jpg

I’m a pretty regular Catholic churchgoer.

It gives me a lot of challenges in my mixed up mind and the list of what’s wrong with the Catholic church would fill this blog from now to kingdom come (thy will be done) were I to put my mind to it.

Most of all (and we’ll not even go into child abuse and the horrors that we read about in that Irish convent last week) is its refusal to wake up to 21st century life, thinking, logic and relevance.

Yet still I go.  And get great community spiritual benefits from it.

However, it’s the sort of guff below that really sets my teeth on edge.

It’s a part of the Catholic Printing Press of Farnsworth’s weekly newsletter that is distributed in churches throughout the UK, to churchgoers of every level of intellect.

I’ve written over 2,000 posts on this blog so I think I’d count myself in, at least, the top 50% of the UK’s most literate/reasonably well read population.

But if anyone can explain to me why this sort of self important pomposity should be published to a church of mixed ability readers then I’d be interested.

(I showed it to a couple of my fellow parishioners last Sunday and they hadn’t a Scooby what it was on about.)

What does inculturating mean?

What does relativistic subjectivism mean?

What percentage of the population is aware what a pluralistic religious landscape means?

And what, to the ordinary Catholic, does Evangelii Gaudium mean anyway?

If it means Joy of the Gospel why not just call it Joy of the Gospel?

Get a bloody grip.

Manchester by The Sea: Movie Review


maxresdefault.jpg

About one third of the way through this, quite long (137 minutes) movie the swelling strings and organ of Tomaso Albinoni’s Adagio for Strings and Organ in G Minor start to stir and build through 8 minutes and 35 seconds.

Unlike traditional screenplay music the classical piece, performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, does not subtly grace the background, it grabs you by the throat and dominates the proceedings to the point, almost, of discomfort.

(Some reviewers feel it is heavy-handed, I felt it was well judged.)

The fact that it is in a minor key and is achingly melancholic bursting with sadness, despair and grief absolutely encapsulates the mood of Lonergan’s creation.

I found these lyrics written for the Adagio and they could in fact be the inspiration for Kenneth Lonergan’s Screenplay although I very much doubt he has seen them…

So turn away!
Turn away, turn away

I am alone, I am alone!
I am alone
I am alone
I am alone

Go turn away, go turn away
Turn away, turn away
Turn away,
Turn me away

Alone!
Damned!
Go home!
Gone in darkness
Light, surpasses

All ….
All, is one now!
All, is gone now!
All, is gone
Truthfully
Truthfully
Truthfully
I am gone.

I don’t recall a Hollywood movie so built around grief and that grief is etched into every pore of Casey Affleck’s face. Surely he is a shoe in for best actor at this year’s Oscars.

Lucas Hedges, as his orphaned nephew who Casey Affleck, as Leo – a dead end Janitor – suddenly becomes guardian to after the death of his brother, plays a nuanced role as the troubled teen who can at least find solace in school, sex and band practice; even if his band is dire.

(Actually, there are also a lot of laugh out loud, mainly awkward, moments in it which were entirely unexpected to me.)

It’s  essentially a two header between them although Michelle Williams plays a strong support role, albeit brief in screen time.

To be honest, even calling it a two-header is to downplay the importance of Casey Affleck in this movie.  In truth it is really a study of him alone with supporting characters used ostensibly as dramatic devices and props.

The trailers do not reveal the depth of the storyline, which is devastatingly sad, and for some almost too much to bear.  My wife sobbed almost uncontrollably throughout the third act.

But despite all this, personally, it didn’t quite capture my heart.

Maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind.  It’s a great, albeit slightly one dimensional, movie with a brilliant central performance and a strong screenplay with a good ensemble supporting cast, but that’s not enough to make it the movie of the year.

That said, I would strongly recommend it.