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Good night, Basingstoke!

I suppose I can't be pissy that people don't update their LJs and let me know how they are getting on if I fail miserably myself. The truth is that not much worth speaking about here is going on. I am reading lots of books and watching lots of films and contemplating running the Race For Life in summer. Which is a 5k. I scoff at that so you don't have to.

(1) Recent media in brief:
Hot Fuzz is the new film by Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost, the team behind the glorious Spaced and Shaun of the Dead, which made me laugh like a nutcase and cry in the space of an hour, so they'd earned a good deal of slack. Hot Fuzz is a loving parody of action films, with just enough Hammer House of Horror splashed in to make it reminiscent of SotD *and* The Wicker Man. If you love stupid action movies and I do, you'll pick up about a million references, subtle and otherwise. Bad Boys, Point Break and, in one particularly bizarre and funny scene William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet are referenced explicitly. There are also quotes from and references to Shaun of the Dead, The Omen and Chinatown. Fanboy paradise.

I wanted to love it a lot more than I did but I suspect that my problem was that it wasn't enough like SotD when I wanted it to be. One of the joys of SoTD was the relationship between Shaun and Ed, whereas that kind of rapport is only available later in Hot Fuzz, when Nick Angel has removed the giant plank wedged up his back passage. It has most of the wonderful comic actors in Britain in it in various parts and when it gets going it is funny. I want to see it again so that I can pick up all the jokes, and work out whether I was slightly disappointed because it isn't as good or because it isn't what I wanted it to be or because the thing about Shaun of the Dead was that it was this small cult thing that grew and grew and you had the feeling of being in on this fantastic secret if, like me, you went to see it the week it came out.

• My new favourite album is by Scott Matthews and it's called Passing Stranger. It is like the lovechild of Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake if conceived on an Indian ashram, born in Wolverhampton and raised on a diet of vegetable korma and mango lassi. You remember that time when I said about this band I loved who were called Snow Patrol and ::crickets:: ensued? (Not that I am mad keen on them now but I loved their earlier stuff that was a bit weirder) Or when I sent people disks of Thea Gilmore's Rules for Jokers and everyone was all rolly-eyed "whatever, she's off on one again" then Neil Gaiman mentions her on his blog and suddenly everyone's all "there's always been a Thea Gilmore element to my music collection". Or my Tom McRae howling in the wilderness post, then six months later he's touring the US and he's LJ's Jesus of cool all of a sudden? Not that I am bitter or anything. *g*

And there was that whole embarrassing James Blunt incident and I *apologise*. But I am *right* about this one. This is a good album, particularly if you like Nick Drake. Here's a sample:

The Fool's Fooling Himself
White-Feathered Medicine
Dream Song
Passing Stranger

Buy the album. You won't regret it.

• I've been reading David Mitchell's output lately and recommend it very much. Ghostwritten is a set of nine interlinked stories roaming the world -- particularly Japan, China and Mongolia and reflecting different aspects of the title. I loved this book. It spins off out of control at the end a little, and doesn't hang together as well as it thinks it does but the writing is beautiful and inventive.

Cloud Atlas is more controlled but less engaging I found. It uses a similar narrative trick of telling different stories, this time spread from the early colonial period to the post-apocalyptic future. It's tremendously clever and interesting but harder to love than Ghostwritten. Nevertheless, I will read anything that Mitchell writes from now until he stops, just for the joy of his imagination.

(2) Many happy returns to christhetoken and copygirl. All the best for a lovely year to both of you

(3) predictivememo had this meme on her journal: 'Comment with the words "Top Ten" or "Top Five", and I will reply with a subject for which you will generate a top ten (or top five) list. Post the list and instructions in your own journal.'

And added the wrinkle that you could suggest topics of your own. If anyone would care to play please go ahead, it would be fun for me, at least.

Anyway, from her My Top 10 British Films of All Time
(1) Brazil One of my all-time favourites and with its meditations on paranoia, over-powerful states, plastic surgery and the terrible, commonplace nature of torture, possibly even more relevant today than it was when it was made.

(2) A Matter of Life and Death Glorious Powell and Pressburger fantasy that enchants every second of its length

(3) Passport to Pimlico An Ealing comedy about a poor part of London which decides to secede from Britain. Adorable.

(4) Kind Hearts and Coronets. This is such a fantastic script that I am amazed Hollywood hasn't ruined it by remaking it like they did with the godawful Wicker Man abortion. Alec Guinness plays about 10 members of the same family, all of whom are bumped off by a disgruntled relative with his eye on the title. One of the best films ever made anywhere.

(5) Shaun of the Dead For mixing romantic comedy and a serious zombie horror movie and doing both brilliantly

(6) Chariots of Fire Because which person of my age didn't do the slow motion running thing while singing ::do-o-o-o-ong, boom-ca-chikk-ah-ah-ah:: as a kid? It's a stirring film too

(7) Children of Men Yes, I liked it that much. Some of you may be interested in this: it's the showreel of the advertising, propaganda films and computer displays made for Children of Men by the media company Foreign Office here. I thought it was pretty smart anyhow.

(8) Trainspotting Again a great script performed with great energy and really well-directed by Danny Boyle. I want to see Sunshine just to see what he does with that scale of film

(9) Gregory's Girl It's adorable and funny

(10) Persuasion The Ciaran Hinds/ Amanda Root version. A fairly perfect adaptation of Austen, a little darker and more realistic that either Sense and Sensibility or either recent version of P&P. I love those adaptations but Persuasion is my favourite.


( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 6th, 2007 02:22 am (UTC)
I'll play! Top Ten something?

And Yes, I am very much a convert to your new cult of Scott Matthews. "Dream Song" is the favorite of the ones I've heard. :o)
Mar. 6th, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)
Top 10 novels that you've read.

And now I must sleep OMG *g*
(no subject) - infinitemonkeys - Mar. 6th, 2007 02:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 6th, 2007 02:27 am (UTC)
Ooh, sounds fun! Top ten, please?
Mar. 6th, 2007 02:29 am (UTC)
Let me cater to your fannish loves: Top 10 reasons why anyone should watch Torchwood *g*

Or if it basically boils down to just "Captain Jack. Duh" …

Top five pieces of music to make a person joyful
Mar. 6th, 2007 02:27 am (UTC)
5K, wow. Good for you.

I just saw that version of Persuasion pretty recently and enjoyed it very much. Why did no one properly appreciate Anne? Whyyyyyyyy?
Mar. 6th, 2007 02:32 am (UTC)
I don't know. It's a mystery because she's ace. Did you know there's a new adaptation of Persuasion coming very soon? Captain Wentworth is played by Adam from Spooks in a piece of very welcome fandoms-colliding goodness
(no subject) - minnow1212 - Mar. 6th, 2007 02:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cofax7 - Mar. 6th, 2007 05:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - infinitemonkeys - Mar. 6th, 2007 10:36 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 6th, 2007 10:38 am (UTC)
It really is a good film, more for the way it imagines a world than anything else.

Hmmmm. How about top 10 unjustly obscure cultural artefacts (books, films, TV shows, artists... take it any direction you like)
Mar. 6th, 2007 03:22 am (UTC)
That showreel for CoM is fabulous. The GAP for pets! And football, of course, even at the end of the world.

I love your list of top 10 British films, for CoM and Persuasion and SotD and Kind Hearts and Coronets, and of course, A Matter of Life and Death. Passport to Pimlico is one Ealing comedy I haven't managed to catch -- gotta rectify that.

I took a bunch of Scott Matthews! Thanks. And I'll play the Top Ten game if you care to give me something.
Mar. 7th, 2007 01:07 am (UTC)
Passport to Pimlico isn't as timeless as Kind Hearts but it is endearing and has Margaret Rutherford being adorably barmy. As for top 10s, how about favourite scenes from films?
Mar. 6th, 2007 03:31 am (UTC)
Hit me with a top ten or two top fives, whatever.

I will grab that music tomorrow (today, in your time). For the record, I totally believed and was with you on your earlier music calls. Don't deny it! :P
Mar. 7th, 2007 01:08 am (UTC)
Aha! Okay. Top 5 favourite cover versions. Top 5 places to visit in Boston
(no subject) - lilydale - Mar. 7th, 2007 01:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:15 am (UTC)
Hello, I like top ten or top five!
Mar. 7th, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
How about top 10 non-fiction books? Top five favourite wanky incidents?
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:27 am (UTC)
I bow down to your music and shall download at will. You make me feel so musically hip when the world catches up with you and I say, "Oh, my friend K was onto ________ months ago." heeeeeee!

Gregory's Girl!! YAY! And, YAY for Persuasion! I *love* that version - I remember dragging someone to the theater to watch it AGAIN because I loved it that much. Ciaran in a romantic role. *love*

Hit me with a Top 10!

Finally, 5K!!! GO FOR IT!!! Finish lines are addictive.
Mar. 7th, 2007 01:10 am (UTC)
Top 10 places you have ever visited. And as for the 5k, as a non-runner I am scared. Possibly in the good, challenging way
Mar. 6th, 2007 05:03 am (UTC)
Hah, you are my music long-distance warning system. And you did send me that Thea Gilmore cd, and ... I think it didn't play, or something was wrong with the sound, I forget. But I do like Nick Drake (because you've shared some with me), so I just DLed all of this.

I love your list; if I had the time I'd do one too but I've just got back from climbing and I only have an hour before I have to fall into bed. I totally agree with your evaluation of Persuasion, though--what a lovely gem of a movie.
Mar. 6th, 2007 05:08 am (UTC)
Also, 5 K! Yay! When is it and do you have a training plan? Nike's Couch-to-5K plan on coolrunning.com is very reliable, I understand.
(no subject) - infinitemonkeys - Mar. 7th, 2007 01:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 6th, 2007 10:45 am (UTC)
(1) Brazil One of my all-time favourites and with its meditations on paranoia, over-powerful states, plastic surgery and the terrible, commonplace nature of torture, possibly even more relevant today than it was when it was made.

I saw this the day after it's London release, dragged some boy from school who fancied me to Leicester Square and let him pay to watch me get so involved (and subsequently not see the twist in the last 30 seconds until it was too late) that I actually was in tears as we left the theatre. First and last date.

Remains my No1 of all time, and I'd suggest getting the Criterion 3 disk DVD for the US Abortion version and Gilliam's Preferred Director's Cut...
Mar. 7th, 2007 01:12 am (UTC)
*g* Yeah, I wouldn't have said it was the greatest date movie except in the sense that there's loads to talk about. I have the three-disc DVD -- a present from the lovely C -- and I've already wallowed in the extras.
Mar. 6th, 2007 12:12 pm (UTC)
A 5K! Yay, go for it! It sounds more intimidating than it is, trust me. You can absolutely do it.

(FWIW, I miss running more than I thought I would, even though I was slow and had poor form and there were days that every step felt like I was running closer to death. Because there were also days when it all clicked into place and I felt *athletic* and powerful and faboo. If only my foot could have handled it!)

Also, I think I could do a Top 5 from you.
Mar. 7th, 2007 01:14 am (UTC)
I didn't realise you had stopped running because of your plantar fasciitis etc. A shame because you had managed the triathlon, the thought of which alone made me tired.

As for top fives, with you this is *easy*. I'd love to see your five favourite photos you've taken in the past 18 months
Mar. 6th, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
I do not know of this running thing of which you speak, but I will take a top ten!
Mar. 7th, 2007 01:15 am (UTC)
Woot. Top 10 TV moments. Or if that doesn't appeal, the 10 biggest horse's asses in US politics right now.
(no subject) - timesink - Mar. 7th, 2007 01:35 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
Go you on the 5k!! You can totally do it.
Mar. 7th, 2007 01:17 am (UTC)
I have my doubts (she said darkly) But anyway, good luck on your run. Tell me what it's like when you triumph at the finish line -- without leaving out any pain. Forewarned is forearmed.
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
I'll do a top ten.
Mar. 7th, 2007 01:18 am (UTC)
Yay. Top 10 characters from the movies.

OR, the one I gave to timesink above, the 10 biggest horse's asses in US politics right now. Either would be top stuff.
(no subject) - se_parsons - Mar. 7th, 2007 06:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 7th, 2007 03:13 pm (UTC)
Top Ten
Top ten me, babe.

Mar. 8th, 2007 01:47 am (UTC)
Re: Top Ten
Woot. Top 10 reasons to visit Ohio *or* 10 books you're most looking forward to introducing the Pook to when he's old enough

Nice to see you about, by the way
( 38 comments — Leave a comment )

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