Tuesday, May 24, 2005

woody allen broke my ipod

I had a strange dream last night. I was making a movie somewhere, I was involved in the writing of it, and Woody Allen was there. He was the younger Woody Allen not the way he is today. Anyway, I had my iPod with me and he took it in his hand and looked at it.It fell to the floor and broke. I was full of sadness as I picked it up and looked at the cracked white face. Woody said that he would replace it immediately and he called to a young woman who came over holding a notebook and asking what my iPod cost. Woody told her to go out and buy me a new one right this minute. So I ended up really happy as we were working in America and I figured I would now have a brand-new American iPod at the end of it all!

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Denaissance

I loved this piece in the OBSERVER BLOG today , http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/observer/

The Denaissance starts here

The blog was very taken with Peter Watson's comment piece in the newspaper yesterday asserting that the late 20th Century and beginning of the 21st have been poor for good new ideas.

We flatter ourselves to think that we live in interesting times, Watson suggests. In fact, we just live in hectic times. Not the same thing at all. He concludes:

The sheer lack of fundamental innovation now may explain the tenacity of traditional religion and why contemporary art seems so flat, banal and repetitive.

Apparently our times compare poorly to, for example, 1050-1250AD or 1750-1950AD -periods of real upheaval and intellectual ferment. It is an interesting thesis and one that deserves to be explored on the blog.

It is, we have decided, time for a new movement. Something to fire the imagination. A new school, like Romanticism or Modernism, that can be applied across the spectrum of human endeavour. But since we are not clever enough to come up with something entirely independent, we thought we might be able to cobble one together with some sticky-backed plastic, a few prefixes and suffixes and a little something from the intellectual dressing up cupboard.

And because it's Monday, and Monday is unofficial list day on the Observer blog, we thing we ought to present our results in that hallowed form. So here are ...

The top 10 new movements not yet invented but sure to rock the world in the 21st Century.

1. Denaissance - The undoing of the Renaissance. People reject all aspirations to emulate the cultural achievements of antiquity, or for that matter 16th Century Europe, and take refuge in blinkered Mediaeval certainty.

2. Neo-Luddism - Combining hostility to technology in the workplace as embodied in the apocryphal figure of Ned Ludd, but retaining it and worshipping it in the sphere of private life. So, for example, it is OK to have a mobile phone, but it is illegal for work to call you on it.

3. Obscurism - The inevitable backlash to our current obsession with celebrity. Complete anonymity will come to be regarded as the supreme moral virtue. Obscurist artists and writers will produce great works, but no-one will know about it.

4. Post-Ageism - Because of demographic changes in society, combined with constant vilification of young people in the media, old age becomes incredibly fashionable. Youth is despised and comes to be seen as physically repulsive. New plastic surgery techniques to artifically wrinkle skin become very popular.

5. Post-Conservatism - Conservatives realise that so much has gradually changed and evolved since they started being conservative that to get back to where they started they will have to become radical revolutionaries.

6. Masculism - Like Feminism, except instead of formulating a coherent analysis of the power structure in society the proponents just make lists of things in society they like and dislike the most.

7. Groucho-Marxism - Class struggle with a sense of humour.

8. Post-itism - A theory proposing that all worthwhile human endeavour is most accurately expressed on little yellow bits of paper with an adhesive strip on the back.

9. Neo-nlightism - A theory proposing that all worthwhile human endeavour is most accurately expressed in lurid coloured bright lights on Broadway. A schismatic movement focuses on Piccadilly Circus.

10. Schmism - A theory proposing that all worthwhile human endeavour is most accurately expressed by repeating key words and inserting 'schm' as the first syllable. For example: 'Shakespeare? schmakespeare!' 'Capitalism? schmapitalism!'

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Went to see Edward Albee’s “The Goat” at the Project tonight. At first, and even about almost half way through I didn’t think much of it. I thought it looked like what it was, an old man trying in vain to write something as startling as his “Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolfe?” But then, almost at a turn - well it was during a speech made by the central played by Bryan Murray, I fell for it. And by the time Susan Fitzgerald , playing the wife, walked on stage carrying the bloodied head of the slain goat , I think that I too saw the goat through the eyes of the man who loved her. There’s been a lot of talk about what this play is saying, some of it from Albee himself, about whether its possible to do tragedy anymore etc. But what I will remember from the drama is that speech where the main character tries to describe the indescribable, what is like to look into the living eyes of another and see love there. How that moment can set you off on a road that may put you beyond the pale. And how impossible it is to explain or to justify the fall that may ensue. And yes, I think we can still do tragedy.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

video days

Continuing my big Spring clean up, I tackled the living room yesterday. I unplugged the video recorder and put it into a cupboard. I hardly ever use it nowadays, I always watch DVDs and don’t really record any programmes off the TV anymore. I plan to get a DVD recorder later on this year, but I have reached the point of finally realizing that copying and storing programmes that I may never watch is a huge waste of time.
Still, unplugging the video was a big moment. Like the unplugged fax machine it had a short interesting life. I bought my first video recorder in the 1980s, it was actually stolen from my house – videos were expensive machines back then. We bought tapes and collected programmes like we were going to have them forever, the wonder of being able to go out for the night and have the video recorder tape the programme was the pinnacle of technology. It didn’t matter that you might never watch that taped programme, it was there – that was the thing. It demystified TV in some way and was the beginning of “lean forward” viewing and interactivity with mass media.