Band Nine, Week Nine: The Staves

I first heard of this band of three singing sisters from Watford last week at Adam Buxton’s Bug show at the BFI, where he showed this clever video.  They are a little bit English folk, a whole lot Americana, depending on which of their albums you listen to.  They are on my list to see live, and soon.

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Film Eight, Week Eight: The Duke of Burgundy

The Duke of Burgundy is one of those films making me fall back in love with film.

It’s filthy, yes, but filthy in a no-nudity kind of way that for me elevates this film – often, it’s far sexier wondering what’s underneath than actually seeing it. To me it’s a very accurate portrayal of a D/s relationship and the subtleties of power and how it’s exchanged, but also of any relationship, with all its give and take and push and pull.  At first you know who is in charge, but your assumptions are challenged quite quickly when the story rewinds and shows you the relationship between Cynthia and Evelyn from a different angle. 

The film is dreamy, in an Emmanuelle, 1970s Euro-chiller kind of way, with all lush autumnal colours and textures, reflecting the cabinets full of butterflies and moths and other insects that feature heavily in the film.

I’ve not seen any other of Peter Strickland’s films, but I suspect I will be watching Beberian Sound Studio very soon.

Film Seven, Week Seven: The Theory of Everything

Well, this is a film that built up all sorts of anticipatory expectations, but didn’t quite hit the mark for me. Eddie Redmayne really does deserve all the kudos – sometimes when actors are “doing” another famous person on screen, you still feel that they are just someone acting as someone else and you can’t see past this. Not the case here, he really seemed to become Hawking.  The cinematography, set design and costume design were all spot on too. However, this film could have done with about half an hour being chopped out of it…  My film buddy suggested it would make a good TV film, and I kind of agree.

A good thing though was the way they handled the “science-y” bits. As someone who does a fair bit of science comms in her day job, this is tricksy stuff, even more so when we are talking big things, like the birth and death of the universe. This had some lovely little scenes, such as when Jane Hawking demonstrates the links between the theory of relatively and chaos theory using potatoes and peas.

The best bit? Lovely, lovely Maxine Peake playing Hawking’s assistant and soon to be next Mrs Hawking, Elaine. She was a wicked sauce-pot and I want her to be the next Mrs Neal.

Book Seven, Week Seven: The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters

The thing with Kindles is that it’s sometimes hard to judge how far you are into a book, thinking you are almost finished only to find out there’s another 200 pages to be explored.  I had this experience with The Paying Guests, and I am still undecided as to whether in this it was a good surprise.

This was almost two novels: a love and a crime story, with the division taking place halfway through thanks to a grisly murder and its cover up. I adored the first half, but I am just not sure about the second half until the final pages tied it all back together again with a clumsy attempt at a bow-tie.

I am going to go back and re-read The Night Watch to make myself fall in love with Waters again.

Band Seven, Week Seven: King Krule.

I came across King Krule recently thanks to a recent Nerdist Spotify playlist compiled by *fangirl blush* Meredith Graves.  I think I might have possibly have heard of him before and assumed it was Billy Bragg set to a jazzy/punk/urban backing tape, because to my untrained Australian ear anyone singing in a vaguely London/Essex accent sounds like Billy Bragg. It’s my only explanation for not having had the sense to listen to him before.

His songs are lush soundscapes, layers upon layers of guitar and keyboard and who else knows what.  Each listen of his songs allows another of these layers to come through like some treasure.  Well worth a listen or several.

Film Six, Week Six: Australia

A trip to Beavertown on Saturday let to much drunkeness before beating a tactical retreat to my sofa to watch a film, any film. And the one that happened to be in my flatmate’s DVD player was Australia, the 2008 epic from Baz Luhrman which I’d watched half of on the plane home a few years ago before giving it up due to the terrible overacting.

I can’t tell you much more about this film than I did then, and nor can poor Tony, because it mostly involved me giving a running commentary on how stupid the plot was based on my knowledge of that bit of the world, which is slight but still I believe a heck of a lot stronger than those who wrote the script.  It did look very, very beautiful though.