If you could inflict a film on your worst enemy, what would it be?

March 20, 2009 at 2:57 pm (film, Interview) (, , )

Picture from j-fin

Picture: j-fin

Everybody has a film they’ve watched so many times they can speak along with the characters. It works much the same as a wooly blanket and mug of soup when you’re ill – comforting and delicious. For me it’s Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice, mainly for the striding at the end.

Then there’s those films that you can’t belive you wasted 107 minutes of your life watching, such as Gurinder Chadher’s Bride and Prejudice. I wouldn’t inflict it on my worst enemy.

Or would I? I was curious to find out what films people would inflict on their enemies. So I asked the good people of London town:


Picture: shadowtech

Picture: shadowtech


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Life is Short and so is Film – 5 Second Films et al

March 17, 2009 at 3:24 pm (film)

If life is short then modern technology is doing nothing to help it slow down. You can end a relationship at the click of a mouse, find out your whereabouts on your mobile and keep the world constantlyupdated in 140 characters.

Now film is shorter – really, really short. Five seconds kind of short.

5 Second Films was co-created by Eric Forrest and Brian Firenzi, who you may know from such off-Hollywood hits as “Parenting.com” and “Ninja Roomates”. As you may have gathered fromt the name, these bitesize chunks of genius are (not including two seconds of title at the beginning and a one second tag at the end) five seconds long. And it is surprising how much you can say in 5 seconds.

Signs, the 12-minute New Zealand film that won the Scweppes Short Film Festival is one of the top ten most viewed viral videos this week.

The Guardian recently ran a YouTube competition for people to submit 5 minute films based on a short story written by Mark Ravenhill. While most of the people who entered were professionals working within film the winner, Dominic Currie, was a fringe actor with no contacts in the industry. His film “Machine Time” is below.

Three very different types of short film which illustrate the benefits of the mediun nicely – whether professional or citizen moviemaker, short film provides a creative outlet outside the strictures of conventional filmmaking. And the results can be quite fun, don’t you think?

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Can you sculpt the public into art? One and Other by Antony Gormley

March 4, 2009 at 2:44 pm (art, performance, sculpture) (, , , , )

Antony Gormley's Angel of the North

Antony Gormley's Angel of the North

One and Other is the newest project from sculpter Antony Gormley (of Angel of the North fame). Instead of using steel or marble his new sculpture will be made out of people. Lots of people.

From July 2,400 individuals from around the UK will have the chance to stand on the fourth plinth of Trafalgar Square, and take part in living artwork. The plinth is usually reserved for kings, queens or generals. But this summer it will be home to various people for one hour each over a period of one hundred days. That’s 2,400 hours of standing in total.

The idea behind the project is the democratisation of art, a chance for normal people to look at the world from the “elevated frame” of a work of art itself. Gormley hopes it will produce a portrait of the UK: “Using this little plinth as the lens through which we see what the UK is like now.” The applicants will be screened to make sure all ethnic minorities are represented.

People can take anything they like up with them, as long as they can carry it without help. In an interview with in the Telegraph, Gormley said: “It will be an experiment. I imagine that there will be extroverts who will see this as an opportunity to do the biggest party trick ever. But I have no expectations. I would be absolutely happy if somebody got up there with an umbrella and just stood still for an hour.”

Gormley’s idea beat big competition from conetmporay artists Tracey Emin and Anish Kapoor. It embraces many elements of contemporary society – reality televison, vodcasting, the idea of celebrity – all on one little plinth. It is making art interactive and accessible. Genius really.

“There is a danger in which this thing is seen as a spectacle in the manner of David Blaine, or I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, or Big Brother,” Gormley says. “I think it uses all of those idioms, but to a very different purpose. I’m interested in how people’s view of the world changes by being that exposed in such a public place.”

“This is also me testing myself, calling into question everything that I’ve done. Is this sculpture or isn’t it? Can you use time as a medium? Can you use real life as a subject?”

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Hip Hop: A literal translation

February 25, 2009 at 9:33 pm (literature, music) (, , )


Hip Hop stars are hardly known for their modesty. But how often have you actually listened to their lyrics? Let alone tried to make sense of them.

Well, these guys did. Two writers in LA (who claim they are big fans of hip hop, by the way) making all to literal sense out of some of the most outrageous lyrics out there. Needless to say, hilarious consequences. Some of my favourites:

“I’m so dope I just jump in the toilet and flush.”
– Boots from The Coup, Bullets and Love

This is the least dope thing you can do. Only your ankles would get wet and then there would be toilet water everywhere. And what do you mean you just do this? Sorry, this doesn’t work for me. Filed under: not dope.

“I’m a shark… y’all just koi fish. What else? Octopus. What else? Oysters.”

Juelz Santana – You Ain’t Got Nuthin’ by Lil Wayne

I don’t get this. The beginning makes sense. “I’m a shark, you’re just a little fish.” I get that. Then he just starts saying other things that live in the ocean. Filed under: Too much marine life.

“Eight A.M., open my eyes. Yeah, kick my bitch. Tell her open the blinds.”
– Lil Wayne, I’m a DBoy

This relationship isn’t going to work out. Filed under: bad with women.

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Bandstand Busking with The Hours

February 24, 2009 at 6:00 pm (music, performance) (, , )

The Bandstand

What could be finer than a free music concert on a crisp Sunday afternoon?  Bandstand Busking is a couple of guys who believe in using bandstands for what they were made for – bands. Playing instruments. With people watching. Former performers include the Black Lips, Gregory and the Hawk and The Leisure Society.

But in this case, The Hours were unplugged.

The Hours

Watching a band in this way felt almost too intimate. The music is all acoustic (bandstands are lacking in plugs) – not even a microphone –  so there are no heavy riffs disguising dodgy harmonies. Raw talent is very much on display. It’s a refreshing way to watch a band and even better as it’s free!

Girls Watching

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Photos of an Unknown Family

February 22, 2009 at 9:30 am (photography) (, , )

A man called Frank found a set of 44 photographs in a garage sale in South Carolina 15 years ago. When he got the developed he found a set of intimate family photos from the 1940s. But they weren’t just any old family snaps – they are taken by someone with a lot of talent. Frank has been searching for the identity of the family and photographer ever since.

Unknown Family

By posting the photos on Flickr Frank hopes to uncover the identity of the mystery family. He has picked up various clues from the photos themselves –  a lot seem to be in Delaware and there are quite a few of unfinished buildings which has led Frank to speculate that the photographer was an architect.


Frank estimates that this baby would now be 68.

Unknown Family

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Charity Shop Art

February 16, 2009 at 9:49 pm (art) (, , , )

Because it makes sense in a recession. No one can afford to buy art anymore and because Ikea art doesn’t count.Salvation Army, Upper Street, N1

Salvation Army, Upper Street, N1

I had my reservations. Charity shops are always a gamble. Oxbridge scholars seem to like them, hipsters always look hip in what they buy from them, but I have always been disappointed by charity shops. The idea of them is lovely, but the reality is an overwhelming presence of used BHS.

I head to Highbury&Islington tube station and the Marie Curie shop – an intimidatingly large shop that turns out to be a hive of activity this Monday morning. It is the first Spring-like day in weeks, and everybody seems to have turned their thoughts to their new Spring wardrobe. Or something.

But no time to shop, on to the art section…

Marie Curie Shop

It was exciting sorting through the box. I experienced a mixture of sensations: at times like digging through undiscovered treasures. At others like trawling through the attic of someone you don’t like very much and discovering they have terrible taste in everything.

There was what looked like a 70s Clash poster, printed onto a metal sheet. It was supposed to hang on the wall and almost passed for a collectors item until I noticed at the small “2006” at the bottom.

This illustrates the danger of charity shop art nicely. There’s a lot of junk, and it is not always obvious what is worth something and what isn’t. And truth is, most of it isn’t worth very much.

After I accepted the fact that I wasn’t about to discover any lost masterpieces, I relaxed and just looked for what I liked. I found a print of Chatsworth House which was very pretty and a lovely wooden frame to go with it.

From my day of traversing charity shops, I have the following advice:

  1. Expect bad art (the horror, the horror!)
  2. Think frames – I bought two horrific pieces for the frames they were in.
  3. Prints – there was a surprising number of decent prints
  4. Watercolour – I have a few theories on why there are so many available in charity shops.
  5. Vases – if you are into them you won’t be disappointed.
My new picture

My new picture

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