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STRANGER BY THE LAKE  directed by Alain Guiraudie (France, 2013)

stranger-by-the-lake-movie-posterThis absorbing and uncompromising movie is the kind of a psychological thriller Alfred Hitchcock might have made if he’d been gay.

It draws you into a suspenseful world and leaves you guessing about the motivations of the characters  and  questioning the morality of their actions in the same way as we do with the James Stewart roles in Vertigo and Rear Window.

In saying that, there’s not much in the way of action beyond the carnal variety.

This is a no spoilers review so I will focus on some of the broad themes rather than the twists and turns of the plot. View full article »

pathwayDuring an anti-clutter purge I came across a card that has been missing presumed lost for the best part of three decades. This ‘Picture Meditation’ is entitled ‘The Pathway and is No.8 in a series published by Mirfield Publications, House of the Resurrection, Mirfield, West Yorkshire.

The Mirfield Monastery  and its fund-raising publications are still going strong and a Google search reveals that this card is still available for purchase online at a modest price of £0.50. I can’t recall where I bought it but I probably found it in a cathedral bookshop.

As an atheist this is not something I would normally spend money on but I found the text attractive because it accurately describes the state of self-doubt I often feel when contemplating change in my life. Once you exclude the  entreaties to God (addressed as ‘Lord’) it is remarkably secular and plain-spoken. Here is the full text with [—-] in place of ‘Lord’ to exclude the Christian slant:

[—-], I seem to have somehow lost my way. I keep trying to follow the old familiar ways that I have known for so many years, and now they no longer lead me anywhere. Most of the time I find myself back where I started. I want to move out from where I am, and I just seem to be going round in circles. View full article »

 IMAGINARY CITIES by Darran Anderson (Influx Press, 2015)

 imaginary_citiesThis eloquent, ambitious, challenging and, ultimately, fascinating book was conceived in part as “a diminished non-fiction mirror” of Italo Calvino’s Le Città Invisibili (Invisible Cities).

Darran Anderson‘s guiding principle is that cities should not be defined solely in terms of its built environments but ought to be seen as states of mind which can, and should, be read : “Architecture is not simply the construction of buildings; it is the construction of space, both inner and outer”.

He asserts that “a history of ever-changing cities, whether real or unreal, must also be a history of the imagination”, adding that “the boundary between ‘real life’ architectural settings and fiction has been an intriguingly porous one”.

Whatever can be imagined can be re-imagined and cities change and evolve according to fashions and fetishes of the people. Architecture is influenced by culture and vice versa; art and life are not separate things but are indelibly linked.
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Harpa

The shadows and light in Harpa concert hall are stunning.

Preparations and expectations are as much a part of journeys as arrivals but it was a trial to face mundane considerations of what to pack for my short stay in Reykjavík.

Most bloggers, tweeters and travel guides recommend winter wear even when traveling in the summer months. They are not wrong. At this time of year it is light all day but this does not mean there is constant sunshine.

Temperatures rarely exceed 23◦ C and are often much lower. The evenings are cool and it also rains a lot so waterproof clothing is considered essential. Dressing as you would for a typical Autumnal day in Northern England is a good rule of thumb guide. While I was there the temperature was a little chilly at an average of around 17◦ C  (I needed a hat!) but the air feels so good and pure.

Soon after arriving, I experienced a prime example of the pragmatism of the Icelandic people came when I asked a tour guide if I needed rainproof clothing for a day excursion to The Golden Circle. She replied: “If it rains, yes!”

Town

A birds-eye view of Reykjavik

I can’t remember exactly when I began to get obsessed about the idea of going to Iceland but the wealth of amazing music coming from this small country was certainly a major factor. For this reason I has to pinch myself when the co-owner of the apartment I had booked turned out to be named Sigurrós. This is akin to a foreigner visiting Liverpool for the first time and being greeted by a John Lennon.

In just three full days I could only get a fleeting impression of the city. My sole out-of-town experience was confined to a memorable eight-hour excursion (with commentary in English & Scandinavian) to Geysir hot springs, the Gulfoss waterfall and the National Park (the Golden Circle).

Still, I’m happy to say that my spectacles remain as resolutely rose-tinted as they were before my trip. I’d love to return with more time and money to explore the whole island.

So, without further ado, here are some of my impressions :

The Icelanders.
The people are universally kind, friendly and nice. I saw an middle-aged man looking for a CD of local music being helped by a young female shop assistant who patiently explained what Indie music is without a trace of condescension. View full article »

ROCKIN’ 1000 – THAT’S LIVE : Orogel Stadium, Cesena, Italy 24th July 2016

arockin4Talkin’ ’bout a revolution?

Well, if you define a revolution as a popular uprising for the common good of the people, then that is exactly what we witnessed last night at a soccer stadium in Cesena in a unique event organized by Rockin’1000.

This time last year Cesena rocked the world with a one-off mass performance of ‘Learn To Fly’.

The stirring video of this went viral and brought tears to the eyes of Dave Grohl. It achieved the goal of getting The Foo Fighters to play in this small provincial town in Emilia-Romagna (Population 97,000) .

This is the video:

arockin1

For those about to rock. How the stadium looked before the start of the show.

This year, the aim was to kick ass worldwide once again and play, not just one song, but a full concert.

As before this was the brainchild/wild dream of Fabio Zaffagnini a modest spokesman for the project who is always at pains to point out that this a team mission that could not succeed without others having the same level of passion, creativity, madness and belief in miracles.
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