A great, great year

Another year is drawing to it’s end, and it has been a great one. This was the year I completed and graduated my masters; the year I watched Monty Python perform live, something I had once discounted as impossible, yet happened just round the corner at the O2 arena. Even more special – and part of me still cannot believe this actually happened – was meeting Sir Patrick Stewart: words cannot describe how significant those few moments back in October were for me, after spending so long writing about the Ahab scene from First Contact. I feel truly lucky, truly privileged. This was also the year Lyn performed at the liberty festival, and that my nephew Oliver was born. This year has indeed been special.

Yet to my right, tacked to the wall, is a list of everything coming up in 2015. It is quite extensive, and packed with things I almost cannot wait for. An amazing year beckons. It is hard to see how 2014 could possibly be topped, but somehow, glancing at my still-growing list, I have a feeling it could be.

Rewatching Marvellous

I might need to reappraise my review of Marvellous. Lyn and I are currently rewatching it. A glitch with Iplayer has caused a hiatus, but we are near the end, and I find myself much more impressed this time. Fool that I am, I did not realise it was based on a true story; I didn’t spot the switching between fiction and real footage; I did not pick up upon it’s self-knowing, ‘did this actually happen’ aspect. I am now really into it – it is a very interesting film, if you realise what is going on. It just goes to show that you must never watch a film just once.

A Message from Mars (1913 film)

I just stumbled over something truly, truly remarkable. The BFI has restored the first ever british science fiction film, A Message From Mars, dating from 1913. It can be viewed online here. I was just doing so, and it blew my mind: The picture seems aged, but somehow still crisp. What excites me are the backgrounds and peripheral details: you can see all sorts of things like vintage cars and trees blown by the wind. It is like looking into a world long passed. Another cool thing about this film is the sound track: I don’t know what happened to the original, but the BFI commissioned Matthew Herbert to create a new soundscape for the film. I think it works wonderfully. Excitingly, my friend Hugh Jones, Charlotte’s brother, worked with him, which is how I came across the news of this film. I think they did a great job – excellent stuff indeed!

Viktoria modesta

I’m afraid this is another relatively short link-based post, but I really must draw attention to this rather nice article about Vitoria Modesta, probably the world’s first amputee pop star. The way she chooses to put her disability so overtly on show is truly great, especially in an age obsessed with the perfect image, but the article does well to tease out one or two of the more problematic sides to it, too. Definitely worth a read.

The amazing bead chain experiment

It is so weird and fascinating that I really must flag this up. The phenomenon of the jumping beads was only recently discovered, and nobody fully understands what is happening or why yet, but I find it completely hypnotic and wondrous. I have always had a sort of casual interest in science, and this reignites it. If you haven’t seen the bead chain experiment yet, trust me, it will blow your mind.

The boy in the dress

Huge applause must go to the beeb for airing The boy in the Dress yesterday. While some of the characterisation struck me as a little obvious and heavy-handed, I thought it was a nice little film which broke some ground on the transgender front. It was brave of the bbc to make it – you can almost hear the narrow-minded conservative types tutting about political correctness going mad, and multicultural liberalism being rammed down their throats. I love it!

Christmas dinner and a jam

Smeg knows how I forgot about it, but we had been there before – I even blogged about it. Yet yesterday, as we went into Dominik’s place for christmas dinner, I had no memory of ever visiting the place. That worried me slightly, but Lyn showed me the picture, and I read my blog entry, and it all came flooding back. Coincidentally enough, Lyn had given me a light like the one in the picture as a christmas gift.

We were there, of course, for christmas dinner. To be honest I felt a little overdressed, as Dom had told me to wear a suit and everyone else except Lyn was in casuals; but then, it always rules to wear a suit. It turned out to be a marvellous evening: rather than turkey, we had all kinds of delicious vegetarian polish delicacies. There was plenty of it, and plenty to drink too. After dinner, we got some music going; Lyn did a mix, and we had a jam. While it wasn’t quite a traditional christmas dinner, sat there so smart, I felt really happy…I just hope I remember it.

What if N. Korea made it’s version of the interview?

I note that Sony has changed it’s mind and released The Interview, albeit in a limited way. Good news for free speech and so on, but here’s a thought: what if the shoe was on the other foot? What if North Korea, or some other authoritarian state, produced a film depicting the killing of the president of America and making the CIA and FBI out to be a bunch of bungling fools? Wouldn’t america try to have it banned immediately? Wouldn’t they brand it ‘hate speech’ or ‘propaganda’? Of course they would! They’d pounce on it and make sure it never saw the light of day. Free speech, it seems, only applies if america or it’s allies are speaking.

On that note, merry christmas everyone.

This Christmas moment

Merry Christmas, one and all

As we go to bed tonight. Excited at what Santa may bring

Come the morning light.

For me, I’m happy to be here

With the one I love

Soon cuddled beneath a duvet

With the Stars above.

Relish this, one and all

For time passes too fast.

Listening to music as evening falls,

Wanting this Christmas moment to last.

how can they keep insulting Roddenbery’s vision?

As a lifelong fan of star trek, I am now deeply upset and angry. Today I got wind that the thirteenth Star Trek film will be directed by justin Lin. I had never heard of him, but he apparently Directed a few Fast and Furious films and some tv shows I’d never heard of. Just when I thought Paramount couldn’t wreck my favourite franchise any further, they hire a hack who creates cartoonish, meaningless films about stealing cars to direct the next film. Do they have no respect for the franchise or it’s fans?

A few week ago my hopes were raised when I heard a rumour that Jonathan Frakes was going to direct: Frakes, of course, knows and understands Star trek. He directed arguably the best film of the series, First Contact; a film which I adore and describe my relationship with in my Masters. Frakes could have rescued the series from the car crash of the last two films, restored the proper timeline, put everything right. Was that too much to ask?

Yes, apparently. Instead I fear we trekkies have another insult to look forward to. Something which takes characters and themes we grew to love and totally distorts them from Gene Roddebery’s original conception. His vision was liberal and left wing; of an earth unified, working together as one people to explore the galaxy. I fear that, like so much hollywood output these days, it has been perverted into something crass and base, focussed on competition, greed and the self. I might be wrong, but my hunch is the next film will be a car crash based along those lines, saturated with lens-flairs and a derivative, greed-based plot. How I miss proper star trek, and how can they keep insulting Roddenbery’s vision?