Tuesday, 28 August 2012

filling in the gaps

some days are a long time coming

there isn't much to mark today out from many other days, I suppose it is my third day in a row off work, I suppose I did shave my facial hair into a rather natty looking handlebar moustache on Saturday, neither, or perhaps both of these have impacted on a welcome, brief spat of creativity

coming up in the next few days is the second anniversary of my home, and tho a number of decorative duties have still alluded me, it has spurred me on to fill in a few gaps off the back of the good feeling that visited me this afternoon

I'd had an idea or two gestating, and they returned to me as I cycled home, as I made my lunch I jotted down the first line, and then the next, and the ideas kept flowing, I moved not the garden after my sandwich was no more and probed at my recent recall for that other idea, and it spilled forth as I tap-tapped at the screen of my gizmo

theses were to be a couple of tracks that I hope to work on soon, so I quickly opened up garageband, improvised a couple of string parts that may need editing, and felt content

I relaxed with a beer in a sunny patch of grass with my bean bag, I tapped away again, this time briefer than the others, and then wondered if it really needed expanding on, as I reclined in the garden, surrounded by the chaotic plantlife that nature has wreaked havoc with this year, I noticed that a butternut squash or two seems to be growing, after I had given up hope on it in the never ending battle against the slugs and snails

with enough day still ahead of me after sinking my pint, I then took myself indoors, with birthday celebrations imminent and a geek room that is gathering pace, I decided something should be done to bring the decoration nearer to completion

it must be a year now since I asked my girlfriend to contribute a few pictures or photos to be framed on the stairs, and bar a single postcard of Krishna she hasn't, and since it has probably been a year since I last added a few myself, I decided to dig out the frames and expand the gallery further up the stairs to help us see in a second year together

a little further up the stairs I intend to hang the art my dad created of our house, not long after we moved in, and also the Jack Nicholson/Joker print I bought in Camden before we even bought the house, and the flyers of various gigs and club nights we have frequented that I have been collecting

it will probably take a while, you can't always force these ideas, but at least I have had today to help fill in the gaps

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Bam! Ka-pow! Pop!

so it has been nearly three weeks since i saw The Dark Knight Rises, and to be honest, it is nearly all that i think about all of the time

perhaps that sounds a little sad, but it was certainly a well crafted movie that really upped the stakes in terms of what is expected of films, superhero movies and trilogies in general

thankfully, there are wonderful things in this digital age that can borrow from pop-culture, mash it up and spit back out something smart and spot on

such as The Dark Knight Rises synopsis summed up pretty neatly to the tune of Carly Rae Jepson's uberhit, Call Me Maybe

i beg of you, i plead of you, if you have not seen the movie yet, please hold out and do not watch this vid!

you have been warned


Monday, 13 August 2012

save me


one of my favourite twitter hashtags, detailing the hardships in life that many of us have to deal with in developed counties

my own contributions have included jabbing non-touchscreen devices in confusion and the glare from sunshine making it difficult to read my gizmo in the garden

and now I have a new pet peeve to add to this list, for today I am suffering a great loss...

today I lost the preferences I had been building up on Zite

for those that do not know of Zite, it is like a magical oracle that gathers suitable reading material from all over the interwebnets, basing it's selection on tags that you approve, websites that you favour or block, and simply choosing whether you like or disliked an article you have just read.

in its early days it may throw up plenty of crap that you have no real interest in, and it is your prerogative to exclaim your disdain in such useless information, but given time it will adapt to your tastes and very rarely throw up a dud, ever

mine almost always displayed plenty of comic and superhero news, a smattering of music and film, with a side portion of interior design.

so of course I would want this tailor made reading experience to also be present on my sinister phone

I'll just download the app, sign into my profile and the magic will now also be in my pocket all of the time.

except it seems that I have never actually activated a saved profile, and in my haste to sign up and register my perfect fit Zite, I seem to have deleted all that I once held dear

and now I am back where I started months ago, mercilessly dipping in and out of articles in order to express my likes and dislikes and to block anything vaguely political or too America focused.

while there are clearly bigger issues facing the world right now, this is my own personal current crisis and my latest first world problem.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

was it worth the weight?

i may or may not have mentioned previously that I have had to frustratingly wait to see The Dark Knight Rises (ok, that is a downright lie, I know I've mentioned it)

and I know that I have previously mentioned what the weight of expectation can do, and how crushing it can be.

(and I think my brother wood appreciate the use of a homophone in the post title)

and since I shared my opinions on Batman Begins to quite a good response, I guess I should take a critical look at The Dark Knight Rises too.

*WARNING PEOPLE -I dare say there may be a few spoilers ahead*

the first thing that struck me about the movie was Bane's voice.

I hated it.

some bizarre autotuned English aristocratic accent that instantly got my back up, I found it incredibly jarring, more-so than Bale's overly gravelly Batman tones on Dark Knight.

I wanted to get up and run away, I didn't know if I could really cope with it.

the Bane I have always imagined was probably greatest informed by the BBC Knightfall radio play, or possibly by my own imagination, and his origin going back to the fictional Santa Prisca in Latin America

Tom Hardy certainly looked imposing, but the voice was preposterous.

of course I didn't turn and flee from the IMAX, even if I hated every moment of the film I would have still sat there and just bitched about how retarded the whole thing was afterwards.

and it was the next scene that really brought the film into focus for me, Bruce Wayne hasn't been living his life as a billionaire playboy in the eight year gap between films, he has been living as a recluse.

And nor is this just a ploy to allow his night time activities to go unnoticed by Wayne's peers and colleagues, Batman has not been seen for eight years either.

I believed that the intervening years would be filled with outlawed heroics as the Dark Knight fought to stay ahead of the cops that would be hunting him down, I believed Batman would still be lurking in the shadows, that there were stories to be told that filled the gaps, that a rogues gallery would have developed over the time that we have not been a witness to.

But this was not the case.

and that was when I realised that this Batman truly belongs to Christopher Nolan, in my opinion piece on Batman Begins I noted the flaws, the inconsistencies that I wished to have seem carried forward from the comics.

but these Batman myths have been raided and then almost wholly disregarded to build a completely new world and a completely new legend.

'my' Batman would not have disappeared for eight years, 'my' Batman would not have given up so easily, but this is Nolan's Batman, and this is Nolan's Bane, funny voice included.

and Nolan's Batman certainly deserves high regard, as the trilogy ties together well and presents a complete story.

The weakness that took Batman to breaking point in Knightfall, the mass breakout of Arkham that had already been pilfered and incorporated into Batman Begins, is instead substituted for eight years of losing his edge, losing everything he had become.

The legend of Rās al Ghūl comes full circle, as do his wishes for the fate of Gotham that I felt was not fully delivered on in Batman Begins, in a far more epic and far more disastrous fashion.

sure the film wasn't perfect, but what film is? even the regarded pinnacle of the trilogy, The Dark Knight, has a number of stumbling points that can be easily exposed if analysed.

but the fact that Nolan made a concluding chapter that didn't let me down is admirable, that he made a film that for the most part sidelines Batman himself in favour of building the story around other supporting characters is a brave move indeed, certainly something that has been many times before in comic book stories, but rarely in a big screen effort that so much is riding on.

and despite initial misgivings and the expectations that I had tried not to give into, when the final credits rolled I had been blown away by what I had seen, an epic final chapter that definitely delivered, a well-rounded world of intriguing characters that borrowed from the comics that I know and love, but refused to treat them as a definitive scripture.

these were the things that went through my mind after just the first viewing, I may revisit my opinions when I inevitably revisit the film, and I may shed light on some spoiler-shaped gripes I have, but I can honestly look back on this trilogy and say I enjoyed it.

well done Christopher Nolan.

a busy mind

I lay in bed while my girlfriend is snoring next to me.

I'm cursing the alarm that I thought that I had turned off last night, yet still went off at half eight this morning, I curse that I cannot now get back to sleep

it has been a while since I have actually managed to get a really good lay in, to wake up later than intended feeling rejuvenated and harbouring no real guilt over the hours of daylight missed. it is an affliction, that my mind is too busy, and once it has been turned on it is hard to turn off again.

I wake up. and then I think.

I've thought about the comic that I didn't finish reading in bed last night, I thought about how my girlfriend told me that recently she has been counting herself to sleep and has rarely made it past 60 seconds (and I can certainly attest to this), indeed, this morning she has stirred a handful of times already and just rolls back over to sleep, whilst I have laid there hoping that I may succumb to sleep yet again, just til half ten or 11, have a real lazy morning.

I have thought about a couple of music apps that I downloaded last night, and how I might hope to record them and incorporate the Be Bot into my own compositions, I have thought about the lamp shade I want to buy from B&Q and that I probably need some screws to put the boards up in the geek room so I can get a move on decorating the final wall, I have thought about upshire car boot sale, and putting the washing out in the garden, and about writing a blog about thinking too much.

and sometimes, I wake up, and I do.

springing out of bed, leaving it unmade as I launch myself into the first task of the day, be it painting, loading or unloading the washing machine, washing up, tidying up, sweeping up.

I am proud of my aptitude to wake up and start achieving things on my day off, but some days, like today, I really would just like a lay-in.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

what went wrong with Batman Begins?

ever since I first watched it in the cinema, something didn't sit right with me about Batman Begins

it is a film that I have grown to love, but my initial viewing left me feeling rather unconvinced

and now, having just sat through Nolan's first chapter again, I think I may be able to deconstruct exactly where the problems lay.

please, don't get me wrong, I enjoy the film, but it does have certain flaws, we are after all talking about a director that hardly has a reputation for blockbusters, all of a sudden turning his hand to the superhero genre, and any mistakes made on Batman Begins certainly contributed to making The Dark Knight the cinematic benchmark that it is considered.

for a start, the film left me cold for a number of reasons the first time round, I was unsure of Micheal Caine's rather cockney Alfred, plus the film felt rather muddled, terribly unclear, and worst of all, Bruce Wayne's parents were now murdered after a family outing to the opera, and not the Zorro movie that has long inspired Batman's creation in the comics.

for that reason alone I was unsatisfied.

but like I said, with repeated viewings I grew to love the movie, and regard it in higher esteem than I initially had.

and yet, for the sake of critical analysis, let me brake down where it may have gone slightly awry.

there were a handful of cheesy moments, strange superhero swooshes and hammy lines that felt rather out of place in such a serious movie, but it was more than just this

the smallest of niggles that contribute to theses thoughts are mostly grounded in my love of the comics and the perceived history that has been built up around them, for example, Bruce's 30th birthday, when any self respecting geek knows that Batman should have been operating long before the ripe old age of 30!! I shan't bore you with more minor details of this ilk, as I believe the problem truly lies elsewhere.

such as the rather muddled storyline, and a lack of real set-piece villain for Batman to go up against, even after a couple of viewings, I still not entirely sure what was won and wht was lost by the end of the film.

and here is why, the character that this story hinged on the most was at too underdeveloped, and that character was Gotham City itself.

only after repeated viewing have I come to realise this, that Rās intends to bring the city to it's knees, pulling it down to start over again , yet the threat never felt real enough (water dispersed fear toxins and microwave emitting military weapons are hardly the recognised face of terrorism as we know it in the movies) and nor do we care enough about Gotham.

too much time is spent trying to flesh out other details that we never see Gotham for the previously decadent and now corrupt city that we are meant to believe it is, we are briefly told that it is a place of such importance that it's destruction is necessary, but never are we shown clear enough that this is the case.

and even when the high security inmates are busted out of Arkham Asylum in a move ripped straight from Knightfall, we never know the true consequences, because we don't know that much about Arkham and we don't really know who was in there and how dangerous they are.

It is a thoroughly admirable film, yet it does require patience, repeat viewings and more than just a basic grasp of the Batman myths to fully comprehend what exactly is happening.

with that said, it was interesting watching and anticipating what did follow and what is still ahead in The Dark Knight Rises.

certain moments were foreshadowed, other plot developments may have been hinted at, and I wonder what part Rās and the League of Shadows will play.

and is it just me, or did Batman look kinda chubby in his restrictive cowl in Batman Begins?