Sunday Morning Stuff 10/11

Two Sunday’s in a row I’ve had no work so I’m once again coming to you live from my post-run Sunday seat, rattling out a steady stream of stuff that I’ve enjoyed, so that now you can too! Second hand books, RPG’s, grimy rap, experimental pop, big budget TV, independent film…

What more do you want?

Don’t answer that.

Reading…

You know it turns out there are a lot of books out there. I don’t think I’m going to get around to reading them all. Which I think is why I love second-hand bookshops so much. I can walk in, not knowing what I’m going to get and come out with something that I probably never would have thought to look-up if I was just buying through Amazon or something similarly convenient. This week my haul was not a haul at all, as it’s just one book, James Baldwin’s Another Country, but it will serve as an introduction an author that I’ve been meaning to delve into for a while. Would I have thought to search out this book by myself? No of course not, but I saw it on the shelf and knew that it made sense it my collection. Sometimes physical is just better.

Playing

Still just The Outer Worlds and Dragon Quest XI on this front. So…how about we look at some bizarre out-of-context shots taken from the latter, instead of just reading me ramble on about how good both of these games are?

Listening to

New albums from New York rapper Wiki and experimental pop singer-songwriter-multi-media-extraordinaire FKA Twigs have been dominating my ear holes this week. If I was going to over simplify for the sake of brevity, and I am, I would say that the former is full of grimy, dirty bangers punctuated by Wiki’s snarl and world weary lyrics, and that the latter is FKA Twigs going full Kate Bush but, like, way hornier and way sadder. But of course there’s much more to both of those projects to that, and I recommend giving them both a go for yourselves.

I also found myself listening to something not quite so this week new and fresh, but excellent nonetheless. Squid are a 5 piece band making music which sounds like the “Coronation Street theme tune played on flutes by angry children.” Okay. I don’t quite know what that means, but to me their Town Centre EP is eclectic, thought provoking, and consistently dance-able postpunk delivered in 4 textured tracks, and it is pretty damn impressive. Give it a go if you like Talking Heads, Parquet Courts, or good music in general.

Watching…

Last Sunday I caught the first episode of His Dark Materials, and although I didn’t think it was the most engaging first episode of television I have ever watched it got my curiosity, and having read the books when I was younger I am looking forward to tuning in this week too – if only because how many things do we actually tune in for a single episode at a time anymore? It’s almost a novelty.

Beyond the world of TV I’ve began to catch up with some of the more interesting pictures that I’ve missed from the world of cinema this year. As soon as I heard Mark Kermode banging on about Out of Blue I wanted to see it, but with so few showings it faded away from the cinemas before I could get to it, then it slipped my mind slightly as it came to streaming services. BUT finally I remembered, and through the capitalist magic of Amazon Prime I beamed this glorious film into my eyes.

It follows a grizzled detective (Patricia Clarkson) who becomes particularly effected by the murder of a physicist in an observatory – what follows is an abstracted, gorgeous exploration of our place in the Universe. It teeters on the line of existential genius and pretentious tosh, but some fine direction from Carol Morley, excellent performances, and a mesmerising score from Clint Mansell push it over into the positive for me.

I also took the time to watch The Kindergarten Teacher which, like the movie which will take the Classically Lacking slot this coming Thursday, had me reaching for my phone, but not because it was boring. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays the titular role. She is a wannabe poet and artiste unsatisfied with her work, with her family, and with her own artistic endeavours. Her efforts aren’t exactly scorned at her night-time poetry class, but she struggles to carve out any sort of attention for herself – which seems to be all she really wants.

When one of her young students begins reciting wonderfully simple but unique poetry out loud after school, she begins to jot down these poems and even presents them to her poetry class as her own. Slowly she begins to obsess with this student’s talent and starts to go over the line trying to protect his talent from a world that she sees as being unkind and unhelpful to such natural flair. I put the phone down and got through the film, but when it was done it was clear to me why I was seeking distraction: it is a deeply uncomfortable watch. Which means that it was successful. It’s not a cosy movie by any means, but it is an extremely accomplished one.

It is probably one of my films of the year.

I probably won’t watch it again.  

And with that I’m off to do…

Well not a lot really. Have a good Sunday, suckers.

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