It didn’t sell out, which is rare for us. It was a bit of a struggle from start to finish. I was just feeling I wasn’t doing the film (or the guest we got along for it) justice. It was making me feel anxious rather than excited.
And then the screening happened, and everyone loved it, and everyone had a great time, and I thought it would be stupid to stop at event number 9. because… round numbers.
So now we’re at event no. 10 and we’re showing a preview of the brilliant Life, Animated, which I saw at Sundance London earlier this year. And we’ve sold a third of the tickets in less than 48 hours. So I’m very happy.
Cheating a little bit today, but I think it’s allowed.
Last month I wangled my way into a preview of Daydreaming With Stanley Kubrick at Somerset House, an exhibition of art inspired by the director, curated by Mo’Wax founder James Lavelle (I used to be a little bit of a Mo’Wax fanboy).
Short review: it was mostly brilliant. Long review… Well I’ve pasted in the longest version of the review below (I covered it for three different publications). This one includes snippets from a phone interview with Lavelle where he talks about Kubrick’s influence on his work as well as his experiences in curating an exhibition of this size.
It’s 1980-something and a boy, mid-way through his teenage years, sits in his living room, transfixed by the psychedelic lightshow taking place on his television screen. The days of 40” HD widescreen are decades away, but it doesn’t matter. Over the last two hours or so a rented VHS copy of Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey has transported this unsuspecting adolescent from leafy Oxford into a world of sentient computers, epic space craft and trippy star children…
Yeah, those Farrelly brothers. Who knew they could be so… deep?
But they have a point.
I’ve spent a lot of today organising the next Documentary Club event. This will be our tenth one. I’ve been doing it for around two years now.
The tenth event will be held in the same venue as the first one. Same number of people. The only thing that’s changed really, is the film.
It will be great, don’t get me wrong. I’m really proud of Doc Club. I wouldn’t be doing it otherwise.
But I realised today that I am ‘walking’. I’m not going backwards but I’m not moving forwards either. It’s time to make a decision: get bigger or stop altogether. Stasis is never really an option – it’s too dull.
The next event is a month away. I’m giving myself to then to make a decision and make some plans.
Today I’ve been thinking about how our creative output has been homogenised a little by the dominant social media platforms.
I was looking back at the YouTube clips I was posting around nine or ten years ago, and they were pretty rough and uninteresting, but that was fine – I was experimenting and having fun, and there was little pressure to “be good at social media”.
As time has gone on, we have collectively arrived at this idea of what can be considered worth our time, and this has created social media ‘stars’ and ‘influencers’… and then this gulf to the the rest of us who are muddling around for our own enjoyment and the enjoyment of a handful of friends, gridnign out bite-sized tweets or clips using standardised filters and hashtags.
I guess I worry that that there’s less room for rough and ready experimentation and stupidity, and that people might be scared to create for the sake of creating because it doesn’t measure up to a certain standard.
Maybe I’m just looking through rose-inted (middle-aged) glasses, but ten years ago no standard had been set, so there was no fear of being substandard.
I guess what I’m trying to ask myself is: where do people go today to be unashamedly substandard?
UPDATE: Turns out I’m not the only person thinking this: Jess ‘Bookslut’ Crispin (who I met once in those early blogging days… when all this was trees etc) just wrote something for the Guardian saying a very similar thing; “nothing you did on the internet back then mattered. There was no sort of ‘professionalization’ of the internet. You didn’t write on the internet to get jobs, you did it because you were bored and lonely. You could do something without any plan for what it would turn into in the future. You just did it because it was fun… “
Starting this week’s roundup with the genius double whammy of Stewart Lee and Alan Moore talking, ostensibly, about Lee’s collection of newspaper columns, but really talking about breaking conventions and creating outside of parameters.
I’m still a little obsessed with the TV series, Mr Robot, so much so that I’m now playing the game (created by Telltale Games, makers of the excellent Walking Dead game), but also reading articles like this one from Vulture that maligns the prevalence of twisty storytelling in films and TV because “the insistence on building perceptual tricks like these into the narrative diminishes the show’s real and far more substantive virtues.” A good read, even if you don’t 100% agree.
Cuepoint Music is one of my favourite Medium channels (is that what they’re called? Channels?), and they just published this interview with the co-founder of legendary label DFA, Jonathan Galkin, which looks at how DFA began, its best moments and biggest challenges, “and how the label sees its identity 15 years after it was founded in downtown New York City”.
To finish the week off, here’ another video of two, middle-aged white men nerding out with each other: this time it’s Alex ‘Moviedrome’ Cox, and Mark ‘flap hands’ Kermode (worth watching if only for the description of a film as ‘an open wound without a conclusion’).
Something about pledging to do something regularly: it’s easy to confuse forgetfulness with failure.
If I forget to post something here one day is that a failure? No. If I remember , but then choose not to because I don’t feel like it, then yes that’s a failure. But habits take a while to kick in, so you have to cut yourself a little bit of slack and not mix up conviction with memory.
It’s 1:30 in the morning right now. I need to put an alarm or something on my phone for this stuff.
A photo posted by Rob Hinchcliffe (@hinchcliffe) on
I went to 10 Downing Street today.
I’ve been before.
The last time I went I managed to get myself banned from 10 Downing Street for life.
Short story: As we were leaving we couldn’t go out the front door because Tony Blair (that’s how long ago this was) was doing a photo opp’ with a bunch of Cub scouts and a bouncy castle. So as we left via the back entrance (through the kitchens) I took a couple of blurry shots on my phone. Like an idiot I then put those photos on Flickr (that’s how long ago this was). About a week later I got an angry email informing me that both myself and my boss were banned from entering 10 Downing Street ever again.
Back to today: I returned to 10 Downing Street, handed over my ID to the policeman holding a large automatic weapon… he went away to check his list… came back, and waved me through with a smile.
On the up side: I can become Prime Minister now if I want to.
On the down side: My one ‘interesting fact’ has just gone out the window.
2016 in Screencaps is me capturing the most striking images from the films I watch this year. Mostly older movies watched on a small(ish) screen.
I’ve moved on from Tarantino’s favourite film list, and moved on to Ben Wheatley’s pick of the best British films.
As it happens, I recently watched High Rise on the plane on the way to Vegas and really didn’t like it much, but that doesn’t stop me digging into Wheatley’s list, especially if it means watching heist films I’ve never seen before.
Robbery is loosely based on The Great Train Robbery (bit of trivia: the getaway driver from the great train robbery used to live on my road – a black cab driver told me so it must be true), and is directed by Peter Yates who went on to direct Bullitt. Expect an amazing London-based car chase, some Great Escape-esque capers, audacious pipe smoking, jogging in cardigans, the odd Mini, and a purple and green palette reminiscent of Wimbledon.