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The poetry of Paterson

PATERSON directed by Jim Jarmusch (USA, 2016)
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What does take to be a poet? A way with words and a keen eye helps. Then you need time, both to think and to write. The Welsh poet, W.H. Davies wrote “A poor life this is if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare”, the first lines of ‘Leisure’ published in 1911.

The title of Jim Jarmusch’s gentle and warm-hearted movie has three main points of reference: Paterson, the city in New Jersey, the title of an epic poem by William Carlos Williams and the name of a conscientious bus driver.

The location is the birthplace of Lou Costello of Abbot & Costello fame and it is also where a triple homicide took place that led to the wrongful arrest of Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter in 1966. View full article »

Top albums of 2016

One of the reasons whjambinaiy there have been fewer blog posts
this yeswordar is that I spend a lot of my free time writing music reviews for the online ‘zine Whisperin’ & Hollerin’.

This year I reviewed a grand total of 240 releases and although 2016 was by no means a vintage year there is still plenty of good music around. This, as always, exists on the margins away from the mainstream.

My preferences continue to veer strongly towards weird folk and post rock and the following are the ten albums that I enjoyed the most with links to my reviews:

  • JAMBINAI – A Hermitage  Jaminai are a trio from South Korea and I wrote that “The power and intensity of their music taps into the feelings of anger and isolation felt by a new generation suspicious of the conservative forces that seek to control them”.
  • YAIR YONA – Sword  Yair Yona is a gifted Israeli musician and this powerful instrumental album “covers universal themes of personal endurance and trauma”.
  • MODERN STUDIES – Swell To Great  Ornate and dreamy British folk music from a supergroup of sorts.

View full article »

TONY ROBBINS – I AM NOT YOUR GURU directed by Joe Berlinger (USA, 2016)

doc-site-inpost2Why do people need personal trainers and life coaches?

In a gym, once you have been shown how to use the equipment safely you should, in theory, be able to organise your own workout. Instead, many like the reassurance of being monitored by an ‘expert’.

As it is with bodies, so it is with emotions.

We all know in our hearts, what diets, habits and relationships make us feel good. So why do we still crave for someone else to show us the way?

Low self-esteem and general lack of confidence make us look to others for help even though we all have the capacity to succeed in whatever we set out to achieve.

Tony Robbins is a self-made man who has built a personal fortune as a life coach for the rich and famous. This Netflix documentary purports to show how he would like to share his insights to all and sundry regardless of age, gender, social status or level of income. As the man might say himself: “Anyone who believes this, say AYE”! View full article »

The 3D magic of The Wizard Of Oz

THE WIZARD OF OZ directed by Victor Fleming (USA, 1939)

the-wizard-of-oz-posterI first saw The Wizard Of Oz in a fleapit cinema in my home town in the English Midlands when I was around 10 years old. The contrast between the rundown movie house and the glimmering images on-screen were striking.

Seeing it now for the umpteenth time in a lovingly restored 3D version brought back all the magic.

As a pre-teen in the 1960s, Disney was the dominant force for young adult films. The Love Bug, Jungle Book and Blackbeard’s Ghost were among my favorites at that time. I expected Oz to be a cartoon so it was a big shock to be confronted by a live action musical. And how was I supposed to categorize this movie?

On one hand it’s in the classic fairy tale tradition but the good versus evil themes were presented in a manner I hadn’t seen before and have rarely encountered since. View full article »

THE CROWN Season 1 – Netflix TV Series written and created by Peter Morgan (UK/USA, 2016)

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If you ever get me on the subject of the Royal Family it won’t be too long before you hear words like ‘leeches’ and ‘parasites’ or  me expressing the view that The Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save The Queen’ would make a better national anthem for the UK.

My wife and I therefore began watching season 1 of The Crown on Netflix more out of morbid curiosity than out of any real expectation of viewing pleasure.

I was waiting to see how many layers of superficial dross and gloss would be applied in order to present HRH in a positive light. But the opening scene of King George VI coughing up blood (red not blue!) signals that creator Peter Morgan has something else in mind. View full article »

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