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Showing posts from March, 2011

Nicolas Roeg - His Own Timing, His Own Wisdom and Kindness

I look on British film director Nicolas Roeg as many things: a friend, a mentor, almost a second father to me, but also the filmmaker who had the greatest personal influence on opening my eyes to what film could do.

His films, not least Performance, Walkabout, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Don't Look Now and Bad Timing, had the greatest individual resonance for me, because they changed the way I looked at identity, sexuality, death, loss, attraction and both the nature of time and the nature of film - and how all of those are intertwined.

I was a fan of Nic's long before I met him and was lucky enough to work with him in the most astonishing way. Through Nic, I was able, as a young screenwriter and novelist who had never produced anything, to negotiate the screen rights to a remarkable play I had seen and loved, about Marilyn Monroe meeting Albert Einstein - and to become, with enormous help from the unique British film producer, Jeremy Thomas, the executive producer of Nic'…

Ghostpoet - Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam

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I first heard Ghostpoet's Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam on Mathieu Schreyer's amazing show on KCRW, and loved it instantly. This musical/video mashup previews the whole album.

Peace love and light to all in Japan

I was trying to find something to post in response to the astonishing natural disaster in Japan that wasn't simply more images of the earthquake or the tsunami - and I thought of the music of Ryuichi Sakamoto, which I have always loved.

This video is of Sakamoto's SILK: Love Theme II, which seems perfectly fitting in mood and beauty. I wish Japan a graceful and safe recovery - and wish well to everyone there, especially the families of the many victims.

If you click on this link, you will find various options to give donations and support to the rescue and recovery efforts in Japan, courtesy of the Huffington Post.

Homer Simpson and Darth Vader - Brothers in Art

I just came across this long-lost Rembrandt of Homer Simpson on a website called limpfish.com.

It's the work of artist David Barton, who says he creates his images, "mostly with an old version of Photoshop, a less old Corel Painter and a crayon."

He is also responsible for Monet's Vader With A Parasol, below. Vader has never looked more...um...sundrenched.

How about: Star Wars MDCCCLXXV: The Impressionists Strike Back? 

Many thanks to David for letting me reproduce his work here!


Humanity's Greatest Quality - W S Merwin on Imagination

I only caught the last few minutes of this week's Bookworm on Los Angeles' outstanding public radio station KCRW, but they were quite exceptional.

Bookworm presenter Michael Silverblatt was interviewing America's octogenarian Poet Laureate,W S Merwin, and asked Merwin what made him accept the position of laureate - a post Merwin most likely would not have been offered in the 1960s, when he was a vocal anti-Vietnam War poet.

Merwin replied that part of the terms he established for accepting the position was that there would be a theme to "string the whole thing along" - and that theme would be, "the human imagination."

The next five minutes, which I listened to as I drove, were absolutely mesmerizing: a highly eloquent and entrancing meditation on the human race.

"The human imagination," Merwin said, "I think is the one really distinctive thing that humanity has - not intelligence or language, both of which I think are dubious in different …

That Franz Ferdinand Moment

There are two great articles in newspapers today, ruminating on the ripple effects of unrest in the Middle East and the Midwest of the USA - specifically Wisconsin - and searching not so much for a defining moment as perhaps a defining momentum.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas L Friedman writes in the New York Times a column titled, This Is Just The Start, in which he examines, very astutely, connections between the self-immolation of Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, in protest over the confiscation of his fruit stand - which set off the Tunisian "Jasmine Revolution" - and wider contributing influences, such as "The Obama Factor" and Google Earth.

Here is Friedman's quote on President Obama - whose influence on history, I have always thought (as the father of two multi-racial American children), lies hugely in the simple - and still quite remarkable - fact that he was actually elected:

"Americans have never fully appreciated what a radical…