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Showing posts from December, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year (to those of you for whom it will be a new year) and warmest wishes to all who have sent me holiday greetings. I'm enjoying some intensive family time and cannot reply individually, but please enjoy the season, enjoy the moment that is forever constant and forever changing, be peaceful and loving in your hearts, take time to think of the smallest creature and the most ignored person, and live 2014 with a passion for everyone and everything. Peace, love, infinite oneness. And cake :)

(Photograph Copyright 2013 by Alexander Chow-Stuart)

American Hustle - and White Rabbit in Arabic

American Hustle is my film of the year because it's a magnificent, warm, funny, outrageous, quirky, affirming celebration of life – and, ultimately, love.

In a year when American cinema in particular seems obsessed with lone figures surviving – Gravity (the most undeniably cinematic of the loner/end of empire canon); Captain Phillips; All Is Lost; Spike Jonze's reflections in Her on our increasingly overwhelming relationships with technology (that or his breakup with Sofia Coppola); Inside Llewyn Davis (more like a struggle to endure an overdrawn underworld myth) – it's incredibly refreshing to see David O Russell choreographing such a beautifully judged, inclusive and loving ensemble film as American Hustle.
From its unforgettable opening with the World's Greatest Combover (and a sweeping Duke Ellington track, Jeep’s Blues), to its extraordinary, thrillingly cinematic highlights – such as the coming together of opposing forces ("I know who you are!") amid smo…

My Holiday Pick - Hyperbole And A Half by Allie Brosh

There are many gifts you can give this holiday season, but my pick is a warmly colored book of highly idiosyncratic cartoons, Hyperbole And A Half, by Allie Brosh, whose autobiographical blog of the same name has featured on this blog at least a couple of times in the past.

Brosh, who appears in the cartoons as a funny squiggly creature with big eyes and stick limbs, examines her life with enormous honesty and humor, ranging from everyday situations that we all recognize to poignant childhood memories and an exploration of her devastating experience of serious depression.



In an interview with Terry Gross for NPR's Fresh Air, Brosh explained how she came to draw herself as a strange tube-like being with a pointy triangle for a ponytail:


"The reason I draw myself this way is that I feel that this absurd squiggly thing is actually a much more accurate representation of myself than I am. It's a better tool for communicating my sense of humor and actually getting across what I…

Throwing Snow in the Boiler Room - Ambient Bassy Trip Hop Music and Video

While I'm in my ambient dance trip hop mood, here's a truly beautiful set by British DJ Throwing Snow (Ross Tones) on video Live in the Boiler Room in London (courtesy of YouTube).

Tones is fascinating to watch as he works with a quiet concentration on the wholly original, fabulously bassy and enveloping sounds that he creates with a mix of samples, tracks, keyboards and iPad. 

He's one of the few DJs I've seen who doesn't use headphones, and whose focus on his work is such that he creates an almost tangible private space around him. 

His music combines elements of two of my all time favorite artists, DJ Shadow and DJ Cam, with its mellow, dancey beats, intriguing ambient samples and totally seductive bass lines.




Born in Bristol (the city that produced Massive Attack, Tricky, Portishead and Roni Size to name a few), Tones is also one half of the duo, Snow Ghosts, featuring singer Augustus Ghost (Hannah Cartwright) - who performs at the end of Snow's set Live in the…

Maribou State at the Boiler Room - Beautiful Music and Video

Some of my favorite sounds at the moment - not least the stunning Blue Sunday (with its totally seductive opening) from Truths - are by a British DJ duo with the highly evocative name, Maribou State.

Signed to Norman Cook's (aka Fatboy Slim) Southern Fried Records, Liam Ivory and Chris Davids create distinctive, mellow, drum and bass influenced music that mixes ambient sounds, often-fragmented vocals and haunting beats to startling effect.

This video of Maribou State (above) spinning at Brighton's Boiler Room is a perfect window on two fast-rising DJs displaying their very considerable talent and creating a solid, beautiful and very chill set that flows with an intriguing rhythmic narrative and some expert and seemingly effortless mood and beat shifts. It also shows two guys clearly enjoying what they're doing. 

Be sure to watch all the way through to catch the tasty swing into Throwing Snow's fabulously bassy and hypnotic Lingerwell.

Check out Maribou State's Facebook…

Miso in our Christmas Tree

A Christmas tradition in our house: our lovebird Miso in our Christmas tree! This will be Miso's sixth Christmas with us. He's firmly in control of all celebrations.