The State Of The Minty Nation
I think its time for a little reflection – yes this will be one of those tedious day-job posts but there is a method to my self-indulgent madness, as this does dovetail significantly into a few changes on the film fanatic front. It’s been a challenging year to say the least, as a number of opportunities have arisen and departed due to a mixture of reasons, but I won’t bore you with all those tedious details other than to say the constant litany of interviews has had me feeling like Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption, except , y’know, without any crime. Scoping, assessing, securing and subsequently decanting to a new home was also quite draining after eight years in Limehouse, perpetrating more pressure on my movie activities as had signing up to study for a couple more professional qualifications back In January which hasn’t exactly received the attention it deserves. To that end you may have noted a decay in the volume of material posted here, I simply haven’t had the time nor enthusiasm to keep up with the new releases, while my long mooted Kurosawa season hasn’t even got off the starting blocks. When you factor in all the administration of keeping my business running, of keeping abreast of fast moving initiatives emanating from Whitehall and Brussels and managing an imposing current assignment something just had to give. But finally this week we’ve had something of a breakthrough, so after eleven long months goodbye Guildford, I remember my first visit like it was yesterday……
Yes, that scene was actually filmed at Guildford Cathedral, I’m not just being….weird. I am however joining the dark side, moving over to work in central government, literally sandwiched between Downing Street and the House of Commons by assisting with this programme in this staggeringly impressive building. It’s been an ambition of mine to open up this area of my career for quite a while, and if you’ll forgive me for being quite self-indulgent the fact that I was interviewed at 11:00am, back out on a tourist choked Whitehall by 12:00pm, received and accepted on offer by 2pm was quite an ego boost, especially when I learnt that my new overlords actually cancelled all the other interviews they had programmed for the position such was my convincing performance. On the more logistical front this also reduces my daily commute from 90 to 30 mins, saves me a kings ransom of 300 quid a month in travel costs, and thus could avert the potential of committing celluloid seppuku as I’ve only seen 196 films this year so far which is simply psychedelically pathetic….
Vaguely related was a strange query that occurred to me while writing my review for The Witch, namely what exactly am I gaining by attending these festivals which at best means I get to see certain films six to nine months ahead of the normal, civilian release? Sundance London recently came and went, barely registered my interest, when normally I’d be suffering the pangs of regret that I wasn’t keeping my finger on the pulse, as it were. I have to say that my long resisted embrace of Netflix has also contributed to the decay, these streaming services movie selections are fairly average which is why I still retain my Lovefilm account to keep up with some of the new releases. In the last two or three months however, starved of the diversions of the cinema in what has to be the worst Summer Season I can ever recall I have launched into the diverse pleasures of long form storytelling, including Daredevil, Jennfier Jones, Master Of None, The Leftovers, Love, Constantine, Ash Versus Evil Dead, The Man In The High Castle, Transparent, Archer Seasons 3, 4 and 5, Californication Season 1-4, Bloodline, the Scream TV series, the amusingly insane Banshee, the fantastic Fincher & Kubrickesque Mr. Robot and a good dozen hours of the highly regarded Ken Burns documentaries on American history. Oh, and The Knick Season Two which I recently dissected, you can bleat about how essential The Walking Dead (Christ on a sidecar that last season was fucking atrocious with the worst cliffhanger in modern media history) or Game Of Thrones (much more fun) but Soderbergh’s retreat from the silver screen is probably the greatest TV series currently in syndication, and I haven’t got around to Vinyl or Fargo Season 2 yet…..
So this is all a rather roundabout way of saying I shall finally be hanging up my quill, in respect of writing for other sites. It’s always been a rather loveless task, with barely a half muttered grunt of thanks directed this way, and since the specific site I started scribbling for changed editor they have quite frankly run the place into the ground. I haven’t submitted anything for a long, long time and while I mused over covering Sundance London I just couldn’t find the time nor inclination, so I think it’s best we quietly close the chapter on that pastime and divert what remaining energies I have here. I suspect that this new day-job assignment will be my most challenging yet so we’ll also have to keep a watching brief on commitments as we government cretins like to say, but at least I’m working about ten minutes walk from the BFI which may assist in any retrospective screening activities. Starting this weekend I have the Spielberg season to revisit, the Kubrick exhibition, and Refn’s new film which alongside Verhoeven’s Elle are the only entities that have stirred any genuine cinematic curiosity in me for many months. Although The Neon Demon has had some mediocre notices they all concur that it is a visual experience the likes of which cinema was invented for, movement, tempo and spectacle that still manage to distinguish the seventh art from its smaller screen kindred – I’ll fight to my dying breath on that;