Hey, Barbecutie

Archive for the ‘nonsense’ Category

Because I’m nothing if not a monumental messer, I’ve taken a break from the movie writing nonsense to focus on something much more meaningful – a countdown of the best outfits of the year.  For a couple of reasons:

  1. I love lists.
  2. I love clothes.
  3. Sometimes people wear capes and I think we need to acknowledge that.

Here are some highlights:

The only resolution for 2011 that I managed to keep (and how) was to catalogue every film I watched throughout the year. I watch a lot of films. Some pretentious and in foreign speak, some pointless and centred around bodily fluids. And a couple of them were pretty good. I think I probably expected some kind of grand epiphany. More likely, it was a symptom of a nervous breakdown. Nonetheless, it was the one area of my life I had any control over.

In 2011, I watched 159 films, which is around 13 a month or 3 a week. This says that I either watch too many or not enough films, depending on your point of view. My most cineaste month was January, implying that my enthusiasm for the project crumbled fairly earlier on. My least filmy month was November, implying that I was incredibly socially popular that month, and also that my laptop broke so I was unable to watch any dvds.

My most watched film was Bridesmaids, which I saw 3 times, which I suppose kind of follows, given that it’s a phenomenon, what with women turning out to be funny and also being able to wear dresses in magazines and all that. It is a very good film, so I’m okay with how it turned out. My least watched film is all the films that didn’t make my list, because I didn’t watch them.

I can’t say I disliked any film this year. I tend to be fairly open minded, and if I suspect I won’t like a film, I won’t watch it, as I’m a big fan of autonomy. There are plenty I wouldn’t watch again, but that’s more to do with how I will at some point die and would rather spend my remaining days watching new films and rewatching films I like a lot. I think that’s reasonable.

Amongst my favourite films of the year (new, not re-watches) were True Grit (2010), Bridesmaids, Drive, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Martha Marcy May Marlene, but my favourite was Submarine. Submarine I saw twice, after starting to read the novel and losing interest very early on, but the combination of Richard Ayoade and some of my favourite actors got me extremely interested. On the first watch, I was disappointed. Something about it left me cold, a bit upset, really. Not that I was expecting banana skins, but it was so melancholy. But it stuck with me. After a few months, and the dampening of my own mood, I felt a weird, intense yearning to see it again. Then, I saw its wry humour, the admirably self-involved protagonist, the delicate sketching of relationship dynamics, self-destruction, wrapped up in a visually beautiful and creative shell.

I can’t resign the exercise without saying one last thing: this was really difficult. It took some of the pleasure out of the film-watching experience. I found myself assessing the quality of each film before I watched it, knowing that at some point I wanted to put the final list online. Could I live with myself knowing that my friends and respected peers knowing I spent an evening watching The Devil Wears Prada? So I switched over halfway through. (Perhaps what was more harrowing was the realisation of my own snobbery.) Of course there’s plenty of crap that did make it onto the list. But this kind of regimented examination sucked the joy from one of the most valuable elements of the process – the freedom. Cinema is meant, at its heart, to take you away. They tell fantastical stories, introduce characters that intrigue us, show us a familiar world in a new way. It’s hard to take a voyage through the medium with the albatross of self-image around your neck. This year, I will be watching whatever I damn well please whenever I want.

Below the cut is the complete list of every film I watched in 2011:
Read the rest of this entry »

A winter chill whipped through the castle. Bing, tired of the day, tired of the unstoppable march of time and how festive revelry reminded him of it, resolved to head to the nest in the cellar where he made his bed. The ornate decorations made him feel ill, garish colours mocking him. As he entered the hallway, the doorbell rang. Bing paused as he contemplated ignoring the disturbance, but curiosity provoked him. He opened the door to a waif, sickly in pallor, inadequately dressed against the harsh winds.

‘Hello. You the new butler?’ the stranger asked, stepping inside, his arms tightly crossed to preserve heat. He glanced quickly at the surroundings, all old money and tacky artefacts. Bing stood out awkwardly amongst it, a different type of antique. More at home at the golf course, the stranger thought.

Bing laughed politely, unnerved by the sudden intrusion. ‘Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve been the new anything.’

The stranger tore off his scarf, his body suddenly molten now that he was indoors. Old people’s houses were always so warm. ‘What happened to Hudson?’ he asked, testing Bing’s mettle. He was eager to prolong his stay.

‘I guess he’s changing,’ Bing replied, trying to sound confident.

‘Yeah, he does that a lot, doesn’t he?’ the stranger said. Just as he suspected. The old man was as much a vagrant as he was. He’d be damned if Bing hadn’t snuck in through some rusting grate round the back. Stepping further into the old house, he introduced himself. ‘I’m David Bowie, I live down the road.’ He allowed himself a secret smile. It was almost true. The old man seemed to believe him at least. ‘Sir Percival lets me use his piano if he’s not around,’ he continued, weaving his web, ‘he’s not around, is he?’

‘I can honestly say I haven’t seen him,’ Bing said, suspicious of his visitor’s claims. Bing himself had lived life hard on the circuit, and knew by the teeth and the nervous stance that this poor bastard was in dire straits. ‘But come on in,’ he insisted, ‘come in!’

Bowie was hesitant, but the home comforts were too alluring. He could easily take the old man if he needed to, he supposed. Together they edged past the crudely decorated Christmas tree, stepping on the tinsel as it dripped to the floor, neither certain of where the piano rested, neither able to admit it.

The silence made Bowie anxious. Perhaps there were other old tramps about the castle, ready to strike. He kept his head down, trying to fill the silence. ‘Are you related to Sir Percival?’ he asked. Bowie hoped that by keeping the pressure on the old man’s story, he would be subdued.

‘Well, distantly,’ Bing said, trying not to be drawn. As time went on, he found it more difficult to keep track of stories. It wouldn’t be safe to be caught in a lie.

Awkwardly the pair leant on the piano, unsure of how to proceed. Bowie’s toes were soggy, defrosting from the snowy streets. He fought to resist his paranoia. He was not there to face some mad old geezer, Bowie told himself, but to escape the weather. ‘You’re not the poor relation from America, right?’ he said, his words jumbled, but hoping the old man would participate in the tale.

Bing had been studying the vase of flowers, trying to think up a believable background. Hearing Bowie’s question, he laughed, relieved to receive a lifeline. ‘Gee, news sure travels fast, doesn’t it? I’m Bing.’

They shook hands, feeling the goodwill of the season.

‘Oh, I’m pleased to meet you,’ Bowie said, almost sincere. Looking back to the piano, he added, ‘You’re the one that sings, right?’

‘Well, right or wrong, I sing either way.’

Bowie smiled. ‘Oh well, I sing too.’

‘Oh good! What kind of singing?’ Bing kept a steady demeanour, but was confused by the conversation’s path.

‘Mostly the contemporary stuff,’ Bowie replied, hoping the old man wasn’t up to date. ‘Do you, uh, do you like modern music?’

Bing inhaled sharply. If he deflected enquiries, he would be safe. ‘Oh, I think it’s marvellous! Some of it really fine. But tell me, you ever listen to any of the older fellows?’

Bowie relaxed, noting the old man’s vagueness. ‘Oh yeah, sure,’ he teased, ‘I like, uh, John Lennon and the other one with uh…Harry Nilsson.’

‘You go back that far, huh?’

‘Yeah, I’m not as young as I look,’ Bowie said, pleased that Bing’s retorts were sharp. It had been a while since he had engaged in conversation not relating to alms or criminality. It made him feel close to human again. Almost alive.

‘None of us is these days,’ Bing said, laughing in that gentle manner once more, belying his sadness.

A pall of melancholy befell the pair. Bowie’s eyes glazed. ‘In fact, I’ve got a six year old son,’ he began, feeling able to confide to this empty old man in this empty old house, ‘and he really gets excited around the Christmas holiday thing.’

‘Do you go in for anything of the traditional things in the Bowie household, Christmas time?’

Bowie walked behind him towards the keyboard, concentrating on the sheet music as he choked down regrets. ‘Oh yeah, most of them really,’ he said, pausing to clear his head. ‘Presents, tree, decorations, agents sliding down the chimney…’

‘What?’ Bing asked.

‘Oh, I was just seeing if you were paying attention.’

Bing laughed again. Smug bastard, he thought.

‘Actually, our family do most of the things that other families do,’ Bowie said, his lies interweaving with his dreams. ‘We sing the same songs.’

‘Do you?’

‘Oh, I even have a go at White Christmas,’ Bowie explained, his fractured memory struggling to find a more traditional carol.

‘You do, eh?’ Bing said, willing to let the young man have his moment.

‘And this one,’ Bowie continued, tapping one of the manuscripts, ‘this is my son’s favourite. Do you know this one?’

Bing smiled. There was something about seeing his own isolation reflected back in Bowie’s strange delusions that made him feel kind, almost fatherly. He had not been so different at Bowie’s age. So many mistakes. ‘Oh, I do indeed, it’s a lovely theme,’ he said.

Bowie leant down to the keyboard, pretending to play a few notes as an instrumental chimed from the radio in another room. Bing watched, filled with pity. Bowie moved away, and the radio’s song played on. The two men stood side by side, mimicking each other’s position, resting on the piano with one arm, the other bent at the elbow, so they were almost but not quite touching. The music filled the room, overwhelming the howling winds outside, washing away each man’s loneliness and selfish intent. Separately they were swept up in the melody, lost in reverie, seeing past moments unfurl before them, not observing with regret but with understanding, all but forgetting a stranger stood next to them. Together, they began to sing, not for each other, or for an audience, but for themselves, a song to remind them that unity was possible, that mankind could still extend a kindness to lost men on cold days. A song that said two men alone are at least alone together.

The best part is Beau Brummell at the side there

Good night looters, and commuters,
and watchful nerds on your computers,
soon the embers start to fade
on your rambunctious cavalcade.
The crow bar man with balaclava,
the officer faced with the palaver,
Count you softly each cracked head
as you drift sweetly to your bed.
Think us all what we have proved,
how this has solved each fraying feud.
The sun is forced down by the night
but still this town will stay alight.




You’re welcome.

And now, a look at the week that was:

Bitches be singing along to post-Franco era Spanish pop songs despite not speaking any Spanish.

Bitches be forgetting to buy Father’s Day cards.

Bitches be saying they’ll make you a mix CD and then not getting round to it, but also sometimes getting round to it, so bitches be not all bad.

Bitches be going to work despite being unwell.

Bitches be buying halloumi and not getting round to eating it, despite really really looking forward to eating the halloumi, but bitches have half a stir fry to finish before it goes out of date, and bitches also just made soup that bitches should either freeze or, I don’t know, something.

Bitches be registering for a GP after only 3 years in London, then subsequently making like eight appointments all the while apologising profusely.

Bitches be reading up on the “Paul McCartney died and was replaced” conspiracies until they sort of believe it, so bitches quickly stop and look up tortoise pictures instead.

Bitches be looking into career prospects by googling the phrase “teachng adult literacy” [sic] and then feeling that it may be a dead end.

Bitches be returning items to a shop then immediately going out and buying other items worth double the initial returned items because bitches be bad with their finances.

Bitches be writing verse form love poetry about boys who broke their heart and feeling slightly embarrassed about the fact.

Bitches be crazy…good at making salads.

Most of my Easter break has been spent watching old Norm MacDonald clips, on account of him being The Best. While this clip from the Bob Saget roast is pretty old now, it is also the exact moment that comedy, as an artform, peaked.


this man is for the birds
– Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

(embed is a bit hit-or-miss, but it’s definitely working directly from the site)