rfbooth.com :: blog archives

Moments in time, preserved to embarrass me later.

23-2-2005 (archived)

There aren't many people on the web who can, apparently at will, make you laugh and cry at the same time. Paul Ford still can.

25-2-2005 (archived)

There are THINGS living in your EYELASHES.

The mites live head-down in a follicle. [They] have tiny claws, and needlelike mouthparts. Their bodies are layered with scales.

Sleep well.

28-2-2005 (archived)

Hide and Seek” is less disturbing, and quite a bit better, than the trailers had led us to expect. There's no acting to speak of, of course; De Niro continues his recent habit of relying on his considerable presence rather than any sort of actual performance, Elisabeth Shue and Famke Janssen have apparently been hired only to look pretty, and Dakota Fanning pulls the well-worn big-eyed spooky moppet routine that's made her career. There are plenty of plot twists, and unusually the more clearly signposted ones are mostly red herrings. I didn't guess the resolution until we'd almost reached the reveal, so it worked on that level, and it does a pretty good job of creating a claustrophobic, introverted atmosphere for the tension to build in. Yeah, it's horror by numbers and it's far from great, but it's better than it has any right to be.

2-3-2005 (archived)

Gotta love Halle Berry. Not only is she a really capable actress, and really gorgeous, but she's prepared to collect her Worst Actress award at The Razzies and take the piss out of her own laughable Oscars speech from a three years before. It still doesn't quite make up for Catwoman, but she has the rest of her career to put that right.

5-3-2005 (archived)

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” is another example of the pleasant recent tendency to films that are funny without ever going for belly-laughs. There's an interesting mood of disconnection about this film, aided by the silly, surreal background elements and not exactly hampered by Bill Murray's usual deadpan affect and a soundtrack consisting mostly of acoustic versions of Bowie songs in Portuguese. There are a few genuinely emotionally affecting moments, but the director backs away from them very quickly to return us to this disjointed, clever, beautifully scripted and gently comic treat. Unique and wonderful.

7-3-2005 (archived)

I keep thinking of topics I want to write about and then forgetting what they are when the time to write actually comes. In the meantime, it seems like everyone I know is sick at the moment, even Weebl and Bob. Hey ho, only two weeks until Spring.

9-3-2005 (archived)

We went to see an amateur performance of West Side Story last night (those who know me other than from this place will know which one). It was absolutely stunning; one of the finest and most demanding musicals of all, done with energy, style and precision. I could not be more impressed.

That is all.

12-3-2005 (archived)

So, we have another hopefully-temporary shameful set of laws to be overturned by human rights courts if Parliament doesn't get to it first. The old saying that the product of perceived security and liberty is a constant (albeit one different for each person and each society) is clearly at work here. Are we really prepared to throw away the basic guarantees our society installed to protect the commons from the rich and powerful because we're afraid of bearded men? (These ones have different accents and different colouring to the ones we used to twist the fundamental principles of our judicial system to control twenty years ago, of course, which makes them much scarier.)

The government of my country says, openly and apparently proudly, using it as a political stick with which to beat the opposition and the Lords, that in order to stand any chance of coping with terrorism we must deprive people of their freedoms not only without proper trials, but on “reasonable suspicion” only. Not the standard used in criminal courts, “beyond reasonable doubt”; not the “balance of probability” used in the civil courts. No, we will be unable to survive as a society unless we lock people up even though they are more likely than not completely innocent, in the opinions even of those asking for their detention.

If so, let us fall. Some things are more important than safety.

14-3-2005 (archived)

Q: How do you slice potatoes without cutting yourself?

A: I don't know. Apparently.

I haven't had a knife incident, other than tiny scratches, for ten years or so. Or so I would have said until this evening... so, I cut myself, a little below the guitar callous, not all that badly, and there was much bleeding. An hour or so afterwards, I removed the improvised kitchen-roll bandage, marvelled at how much it had soaked through, and then I felt quite unusual.

Note to self: apparently you're supposed to apply pressure to help stop the bleeding when it first happens. I'm not sufficiently accident-prone to know these things, so I just washed it, wrapped it up and elevated it.

The thing that surprises me most, as one of the least squeamish people I've ever encountered, is how peculiar I felt not when I did it but when the bandage came off. I'm guessing this was something to do with releasing the pressure and letting full circulation back to the cut rather than the sight of my own (dried) blood, which has never bothered me in the slightest before. Hey ho.

My mother, veteran of many knife/flesh interface moments, tells me that I shouldn't need a tetanus jab or any other such frippery. If I die of lockjaw in the night, you know whom to blame.

16-3-2005 (archived)

9 songs” has been widely promoted as the most explicit film to get a mainstream cinema release, and indeed this, which only a few years ago wouldn't have been licensed as R18, is now in every multiplex in the land. The unsimulated sex may be where the media interest is coming from, and that's certainly to the financial good of the film - this would surely be a small, arthouse piece otherwise - but it's not at all the most interesting thing about the picture, unusual though sitting in a dark room with 100 other people watching giants fucking is. It seems to me to be a film about memory and about archetypes; we see the affair, and Lisa, only through Matt's remembrance of the summer, and what he remembers is what we do remember about this type of almost purely physical affair - the sex, the moments of warmth, coldness, and casual, even accidental cruelty, the music and the moods. A telling exchange early on, on sex and condoms, lets Matt (and us) know that there's no long term in this relationship, and while their lust lasts a month or two longer we already see the end coming.

What's most interesting is how little character our view of Lisa gives us; she is the sexual, emotionally distant or damaging, confused and confusing stereotype that many of us will remember as a past partner, woman as seen through the eyes of a man who understands her not at all. The honesty of the portrayal of Matt's unvarnished memory is what makes this profoundly unpornographic film work as well as it does.