Monday, 19 March 2012

poetry 2

Been writing lots more pieces lately, covering everything from religion to quantum physics, though they're nowhere near as pretentious and up-oneself as I've just made them sound, hopefully. Performing at an open mic in Bristol tomorrow night (Siren Says at Starbucks on Park Street) and will also hopefully perform at Simple Things festival in May. Have also pretty much confirmed an appearance at Sheep Music festival, hoping to hear from Sunrise, Nozstock, Playgroup and Shambala at some point in the next few months as well. More YouTube videos to follow.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

poetry

I've been working on lots of spoken word-type pieces lately. Have posted a couple on YouTube. Here's a classy one called Snot.

Friday, 2 March 2012

my mooziks

I have updated my YouTube channel with three original songs and one cover. Sound quality is much better recording on my phone, although it does clip slightly when it gets too loud. Oh well! Will do as a stopgap before I'm invited to Abbey Road.

Check 'em out here!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

article

New article on Suite 101. Click here to read.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

chronicle



Despite a nagging feeling of petty artistic jealousy (i.e. that the more quirky, leftfield takes on the nerd-gets-superpowers theme come out and become popular, the less original my book is going to seem when and if it ever sees the light of day) which I should really be big enough to shrug off, I'm pretty sure that Chronicle will be standing proud in my top ten best films of 2012 list come December. Not that I make such lists, but they're a useful linking tool for the lazy blogger.

Three high schoolers develop extrasensory abilities from contact with an underground glow-y thing (we never find out exactly how the underground glow-y thing works, or where it came from, which I thought was going to bother me but didn't in the end) and their youngest and (psychologically) weakest member documents the ensuing chaos with his video camera. It's a simple, economical setup, streamlined and stylish, and what follows is a visceral, involving and very clever entry into the superhero (maybe we should say "superpowers" rather than "superhero" though, as these characters certainly don't qualify as heroes) genre. It also manages to inject some vitality into the found-footage conceit, which is no mean feat. What with this and Troll Hunter, are we seeing a new lease of life for this most zeitgeisty-then-suddenly-tedious-and-overused of techniques?

Honestly, I kind of hope not.

The style's inherent flaws, unfortunately, remain. For every dynamic and intelligent use of the diegetic camera (not sure if I can apply diegetic to the camera rather than the sound, but sod it, I'm going to anyway), such as a scene where lead character Andrew (the brilliant, disturbing Dane DeHaan) telekinetically floats it above his head while taking apart some street thugs, there are scenes where it simply doesn't make sense for a camera to be switched on. For the most part, Chronicle gets this balance absolutely right - witness the intense finale, which uses camera phones, CCTV, news cameras and every other available viewfinder to thrilling and disorientating effect - but every time you start thinking "hmm, why is there a camera on in this scene?" it drags you rudely out of the narrative. Ultimately I'm not sure how one bypasses this problem. It's there in the Paranormal Activity films, in Cloverfield and in the otherwise fabulous Troll Hunter, and although I haven't seen many of the other recent found-footage flicks such as Rec, I would imagine they suffer from it as well. It doesn't matter how engrossing your story, how interesting your characters and how impressive your special effects - and Chronicle's effects are damned impressive - if you're using inherently distracting visual and editing techniques, your films are never going to be one hundred per cent involving.

Anyway. Enough of that lecture. What about the content of the film? Well... it's good! Great, even. The three leads are uniformly likable, particularly DeHaan, who brings just the right balance of vulnerability, angst and barely-concealed rage to a role that could easily have become unsympathetic, and their dynamic is completely convincing; euphoric and exciting one minute, dark and tragic the next. The powers themselves are exceptionally well-realised - a couple of slightly dodgy levitate-the-ball scenes aside - and the film has, for my money, the best on-screen representation of real superpowered flight that I've ever seen. Interestingly, the found-footage style really benefits these sequences, lending them a breathtaking realism that papers over any inconsistencies in the special effects and really makes you believe that three young men can fly (sorry).

While the film does go to some pretty dark places (the subplot with Andrew and his parents is very effective, if difficult, and the climactic battle is nail-bitingly tense), Max Landis' screenplay is frequently very funny as well. The initial scenes with the three boys discovering their abilities perfectly capture the child-like elation of realising you've got frickin' superpowers, and some of the moments where they use their newfound skills to mess with members of the public (remember, with great power doesn't necessarily come any responsibility whatsoever - could this film be more 2012) had me in stitches.

SO! TO SUM UP! In a pop cultural market that has become utterly saturated with superheroics, Chronicle manages to make these tried-and-tested themes both exciting and relevant again. Found-footage may be gimmicky, but it's undeniable that it adds a real frisson and a level of invention that a more straightforwardly cinematic approach might not have managed. It's literally got thrills, spills and chills, and is a nicely grounded, twisted appetite whetter for Joss Whedon's all-singin' all-dancin' Avengers, which comes crashing to Earth at the end of April. Go seek!

Oh, and if you're somebody who has a bit of power and influence in the world of publishing, and you happen to stumble across this film and think ooh, maybe this quirky-take-on-superpowers thing has legs - presumably having completely missed Misfits and every other piece of available evidence - hit me up and we'll talk.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

this year is new

Happy new year! Well. It's the fourth of January now. 2012 is already old news. For the last gawd knows how long we've barely been able to breathe for end-of-year lists, best-of-2011 run downs and blah-de-blah-de-blah, and I was going to jump on the bandwagon and do something similar, and be philosophical and talk about what has passed and what is to come, and how I have changed and all that, but as I said, it's the fourth of January now. And if anybody gave even a slight fuck before, they most likely don't now.

SO let's just say that I have a big year planned. Pastures new. Achievements big. The continued fulfillment of dreams. More of the same and much other stuff. Thanks to family, friends and a particular human delight who have made the preceding year so excellent. Looking forward to more delightfulness with y'all in this, the year of the end of the world. Or whatever.

Geronimo!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011