Sunday Morning Stuff 24/11

The news is a bit grim at the minute. I don’t think we should ignore it, but we don’t need to carry the weight that the tumultuous world throws on our shoulders all of the time. Sometimes we need to shrug it off and delve down deep into a blanket of stuff. So as we do every week, let’s take a look at some words on all the stuff that I’ve been finding comfort with recently…

Reading…

I went Christmas shopping and because I am a selfish slime of a man I ended up doing shopping for myself than anyone else, but this is fine because it has resulted in me having more books and more books equals better life. As you can tell from my fine and logical writing I have read a great many book and the benefits are several. In this instance the books that I added to my collection were Stephen Fry’s Heroes, and Carlos Ruiz Zafròn’s The Labyrinth of the Spirits, which is a follow to my favourite book from the niche category of Books That I Read Before I Was Really Old Enough To Read Them, The Shadow of the Wind.

Playing

Sick of the steady rotation of The Outer Worlds and Dragon Quest XI (although both very fine games) I finally got stuck into some Afterparty which is as funny, engaging, and wonderfully designed as I wanted. I have had some performance issues, which is a massive shame considering the low graphical demands of the game. It exists only on a single pane despite the depth of the design, and for the most part is more stylised than realistic…I’ve also had a glitch would forced me to exit to menu, which wasn’t a huge deal because of the auto-save but c’mon. Skyrim this is not. The Outer Worlds (which I haven’t had any bugs with) this is not. No matter, it doesn’t have the budget of either of those games and so far it is still a great game in spite of those issues.

The deal is this: you play a pair of (dead) friends who have to outdrink the devil, which mostly amounts to you walking the pair about and selecting dialogue options, but Afterparty sticks out firstly because of it’s wonderful premise and design, and also because of the way in which the drinks that you choose to poison yourself with influence what options you have when it comes to those central talk-and-walk mechanics. Just like real life!

Listening to…

Wild Beasts are a band I love. Wild Beasts are a band which are broken up. This is not a good thing. It is a Good Thing that this year there has been albums from both of the band’s vocalists. Firstly Hayden Thorpe dropped Diviner and now I just found out that Tom Fleming – the gruff voiced opposition to Thorpe’s falsetto – has been at it as well!

It’s a failure of the many algorithms that no doubt track me that it’s taken this long for the album to end up in my inbox (so to speak) but I am a big fan. It channels the dirtier, grimier sound that the band used to occasionally emit, offering a channel from former fans of the band towards a sound which is uniquely Fleming’s, despite the apparent similarities.

Watching…

I wouldn’t say that I am a fan of Elton John, although there is no doubt in my mind that he is an amazing artist who has put out some amazing songs and delivered some amazing performances and…well maybe I am a fan. I especially am now, having watched the superb Rocketman. It is a fantastically take on Elton’s life, his youth, his peak, his drug abuse, sex addiction, and tumultuous love life. Even as a straight played story it has enough natural ups and downs to make it interesting, but director Dexter Fletcher does anything but play it straight.

In order to channel the energy of certain moments, in particular defining performances in Elton’s live career, scenes twirl into orgies of terrific fantasy. In one marvel of a moment Elton begins to levitate during a performance of Crocodile Rock early in his career, and as the audience catches on to the genius in him, they begin to levitate too. Not only is it a gorgeous visual moment, it is a uniquely cinematic story-telling device which succinctly conveys a message to the audience, and I love that. It’s cinema! I want you to tell me what you want to tell me with your camera, and that’s exactly what happens throughout this picture, which might just be my favourite of the year.

And that, my dear friends who I do not know and have not or will not meet, is the end of that. As always I hope that you might find a recommendation or two in my little weekly list, and if not then I thank you for reading it anyway. Now, go on and enjoy some stuff of your own.

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