Time for some beatboxing

I realise it may be a slightly random thing for me to link to, never having mentioned it on here before, but Dom just sent me this link to a video of the most incredible beatboxing I have ever seen, and I found it too amazing not to flag up. As someone with quite little control over my vocal abilities, I find what these guys do truly stunning: they seem to be able to use their mouths as musical instruments, creating rhythms and beats out of nothing. I think this is another urban, fringe artform I need to start exploring, like skateboarding and so on. It’s exciting and fresh, and judging by what I just saw, it has the potential to blow my mind.

Blue Planet II

How awesome was it to see Sir David Attenborough back on our screens last night? Going by the first episode, Blue Planet II will be every bit the equal of it’s 2001 prequel, and live up to the standards we have come to expect from Attenborough and the BBC Natural History Unit. Some of the footage we saw last night was stunning: I even found some of the shots of the sea on it’s own so evocative it was mesmerising, even without any wildlife. It’s great to see this legend of television, the greatest of all presenters, back doing what he does best. I frankly find it utterly remarkable that Attenborough is still going after all these years, let alone making programs which captivate the entire nation. It apparently even beat Strictly and X-factor in terms of ratings, but then, going by some of what we saw last night, that is hardly surprising: who needs tired old talent shows when you can watch the wonders of nature on the other side?

Changing language modes

It occurs to me that the internet may be forcing film, as a language and means of communication, to change. People now often capture short film clips on their iPhones and post them on social media sites like Facebook as they would sentences of text. New technologies, it seems, have helped film evolve from an art form reserved for the wealthy and elite into an everyday means of expression. As I touched upon here a few weeks ago, expression in both writing and film is becoming shorter and more direct. Look at Twitter as a prime example: where once we took time to get our thoughts and feelings across over several paragraphs, we now use 120 characters or less. In fact, I would go as far as to say it is a new fourth form of writing, alongside prose, script and verse; one which incorporates hypertext. To take that a step further, I think a similar thing is happening with the moving image: where once creating film was the domain of the wealthy elite, anyone with an iPhone can do it these days. That has brought about the emergence of a new form of film, shorter, more immediate, and perhaps not always quite as refined as the things we see coming out of the big studios. Snippets of film can now be captured more freely than ever before, then posted online, bringing about a new type of filmic expression. Could it thus be argued that we are seeing the rise of a new [i]mode[/i] of film online; one with the immediacy of Twitter, and – dare I say – the refinement of a moody adolescent’s facebook status update? This new mode would sit alongside the other manifestations of the filmic art, ie feature films, documentaries and television (the theorist Christian Metz called them ‘dialects’), but has a fresher, more direct and less refined feel to it.

A thousand mph

I think I’ll just flag this up this evening, simply because it’s so cool. What better way could there be to round off a lovely day cruising around South-East London with your girlfriend than to take a virtual 3d trip in a car which will eventually go at 1000 mph? It was just too awesome for me not to link to: to get to see what it’s like to see out of the windscreen of the fastest car on earth must be every big kid’s dream come true, especially when you have been going at about six all afternoon.

The two levels of Brexit

I still can’t decide whether to be appalled, frightened or to burst into howls of laughter at what is currently going on with Brexit. A glance at the Daily Mail’s front page today filled me with rage at it often does, but at the same time, doesn’t this strike you as deeply, darkly comic. The New Statesman reports how the Mail’s (witch) hunt for academics with Remainer tendencies has hilariously backfired: the rag put a call out to anyone with any information on university lecturers with proEuropean ‘bias’, and some of the responses they got had me in stitches. University students, it seems, can be very adept at sarcasm when pointing out the sheer stupidity of outism and the clear lack of logic in what they are doing.

At the same time, behind the chuckles there is the realisation that this is all deeply sinister and disturbing. While, as I noted here a couple of days ago, such things are a clear sign of outist desperation, it is nonetheless an attempt to stifle opposition. They seem to now want to stamp out opposition to brexit and to ensure that only their views are broadcast and taught; anyone who speaks in favour of reversing the stupidity of last year must be silenced. A sign of their desperation, yes; darkly comic, certainly; but there is also a whiff of fascism to all this. With the referendum ‘won’, they are nominally in the controlling position – they assume a right to dominate the discourse, and now feel the need to bear down on anything that might threaten that. On one level this is funny, like something Monty Python might have dreamt up; but on another, with an increasingly threatened group of people fighting to force their will upon the country, it is deeply, deeply scary.

Charlton Park definitely needs a performance space

It’s a beautiful day out there, and I was just in the park getting my daily dose of caffeine. It may just be because it’s half term, but the skatepark is now in full swing. There must have been forty or fifty kids on there, using skateboards, bikes and everything else to do all kinds of tricks. Some of the stunts the more proficient guys do take your breath.

Someone had brought a sound system, so there was music playing, albeit quietly. That made me think: the only thing missing from that joyous scene was some kind of performance space. I still say, as I wrote here that what Charlton Park needs now is an area in which bands can play and shows could be put on. I know it’s early days for it yet, but the skatepark seems to have given the whole area a new lease of life. On days like today, how awesome would be to have a local band – perhaps even Lyn or our friend Gus – laying down some beats while the dudes do their tricks? I can see the park becoming a hub for local culture, where people meet and enjoy theirselves, and where local artists of whatever kind can express theirselves. Man, I gotta make that happen!

Outist desperation

I just came across this profoundly worrying Guardian article. An outist tory MP has written to several universities to ask them what they are teaching about Brexit. In a decidedly McCarthyist move, ”Chris Heaton-Harris, Conservative MP for Daventry and a staunch Eurosceptic, wrote to vice-chancellors at the start of this month asking for the names of any professors involved in teaching European affairs ‘with particular reference to Brexit’. Neatly ignoring the long tradition of academic freedom that universities consider crucial to their success, his letter asks for a copy of each university’s syllabus and any online lectures on Brexit.” Basically, this p’tahk wants to vet what universities are saying about Brexit to make sure it’s nice and positive, rather than the obvious truth that it has completely fucked the country.

Obviously we should be appalled at this. Any move to censor what academics can and cannot say is a step towards somewhere very dark. Heaton-Harris will know that eighty percent of academics voted Remain, and he doesn’t want them teaching students to question what is going on. At the same time, this is also a clear sign of how worried the outists are: if things were going as well as they would like, they would be fine with people saying whatever they wanted. But as reality becomes clearer and clearer, people will begin to realise how badly they were deceived last year, and Brexit will start to crumble. The only way the outists can keep their farce going is to try to suppress the truth and silence opposition. We saw another instance of this recently with Farage protesting on his LBC show that the media weren’t showing the good side of brexit; trying into con people into thinking that everything was turning out to be wonderful, but the evil, liberal mainstream media weren’t allowing that to get across.

In both examples we can see a form of desperation; both men realise how badly things are going, but scared that the public will finally see them for the scum they are, they concoct all kinds of bullshit to have us believe they were right all along. Either that or they try to get the truth suppressed. In their desperation we can also read a sign that, sooner or later, brexit will collapse – that is now inevitable, but as it becomes more and more difficult to keep the fiction going, I fear the lengths the outists will go to will become increasingly extreme.

Back to football

I took myself to powerchair football practice yesterday afternoon, not having been in ages. I’m finally making a bit of progress on the film I want to reacquaint myself with the sport. I had forgotten just how much fun it was, to be honest: once I transferred into one of their powerful chairs, I instantly fell in love with the sport again. My eagerness to get this film made was automatically renewed.

Progress on that has been rather slow, but I finally have a fairly solid treatment written, and all the right interested parties. I had a good coffee-meeting wit Sharon on

Thursday, who had the wonderful idea of somehow tying the skatepark into it. It looks like this idea of mine could get off the ground pretty soon, and I have a good feeling about it. It may have taken a bit of time, but everything seems to be falling into place so that the world can finally be introduced to the incredible, adrenalinefilled sport of powercharr football.