Week 732 saw me spinning a few plates more than usual, with press screenings in the first half (that I still have to write about) plus an impromptu trip to the old neighbourhood for new shoes (there’s a factory store, y’see), then the usual production tasks throughout, plus a whole bunch of InDesign proof corrections and extra freelance subediting towards the latter half. There went my weekend!
Aubergine rolls with spinach & ricotta
Made this twice last week, but with a twist: those rolls are a pain in the hole, so we just stirred the roasted aubergine slices right into the spinach and ricotta mixture. Delicious. #food·
J Robbins walks us through Jawbox’s 1996 swan song
The Jawbox vocalist/guitarist goes deep on his best-known band’s final record for the AV Club. But reading him say that he “can’t sing”? What the hell are you talking about, man?! You have one of the richest sounding voices in rock! #sound·
Mike Judge thinks we’re doomed
Y’know, I’d forgotten Silicon Valley was his thing. Which might be exactly what he wanted, so it isn’t lumped with the baggage of his previous achievements. Also: must watch Silicon Valley. #screen·
Power Slam is truly missed - I never missed an issue from number 14 till the end last summer - and this compendium of editor/writer Findlay Martin’s insights on what was happening in wrestling’s major (and almost major) leagues over the last two decades beings back all those fond memories of poring over my monthly mag. I’m not sure if it’s appealing to anyone unfamiliar with Power Slam, as Martin also delves a fair amount into the nuts and bolts of production of the mag, but for me it’s like Christmas come early.
Theories abound about this Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy, made concurrently with Prisoners and ultimately the better of the two. It’s a very different beast, of course; Prisoners is a glum, violent mystery with a dodgy sense of morality, whereas Enemy is pretty much Cronenberg homage.
The plot, concerning a wet towel of a college lecturer (Jake Gyllenhaal) who discovers his doppelgänger is a jobbing actor - or is it the other way round? - is straight out of the Cronenberg wheelhouse. The setting is Toronto, ostensibly, but the presentation is as a Ballard-esque modernist nightmare; a brutalist, very Cronenbergian un-place.
And in general there are nods to the great Canadian’s work throughout: the strange fluidity of identity (Dead Ringers), the heart-stopping shock of a car wreck (Crash), the mind-bending visions of impossible creatures (Naked Lunch), even the casting (the magnetic Sarah Gadon is a Cronenberg regular at this stage).
That Villeneuve can bring these all together in a package that feels wholly its own, and not a mere pastiche of those influences, is a credit to him as a filmmaker. That he chooses to end the film on such an uncomfortable, head-spinning note, and that it feel like it works, makes that doubly so.
Dark Summer bears the hallmarks of a short blown up to feature length without developing the story to fit the extra minutes. So we spend far too long meandering through dialogue-free scenes that evaporate the atmosphere - as Keir Gilchrist’s (a suspicious lookalike for Alphas’ Ryan Cartwright) house-arrested cyberstalker finds himself being tormented by the subject of his obsession, possibly from beyond the grave - towards a twist climax that’s less effective than it would have been had it come after, say, half an hour. It also would have been better served employing the less-is-more dictum, as the overt supernatural elements in the middle section detract from its less showy, and more appropriate, ending.
Week 730 was a non-eventful one, subbing and layout bookending a day of press screenings and some review-writing midweek. It’s tiring stuff, though, all that thinking and brain work, so most evenings, after dinner and Great British Menus, I was dead to the world.
Little energy to muster to read the few new books I’ve loaded on my Kindle, for instance. I’m on a short story kick — or rather, I would be, if I were reading them and not just thinking about it — so I’ve got some Joe R Lansdale, some Lydia Davis, some Kelly Link, some China Mieville. Bit of a mix there, I think. I’ve even got Borges in my Tsundoku folder, for the classics quota.