Meta Letta 

As I write this introduction I’m on day three of testing positive for COVID. Again. It’s a milder affair than last time by far, but that just means that I feel like I’ve been glanced by a mid-sized car instead of being hit full in the face by a hurtling transit van. Recovery is taking place slowly, but in the meantime it’s a matter of trying to grope for words, ideas and meaning through a thick fog in my brain. 

Any rambling in this missive pales in significance to the other casualty of this week: I’ve had tickets to go and see Aaron Sorkin‘s adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird for over a year now, only to be sucker-punched at the last minute. Worse, because of the theatre’s exchange policies the tickets can’t be moved, and because of a train strike nobody wanted to take the tickets off my hands. 

COVID has already been a disaster for creative industries over the last few years, and I get why theatres are trying to claw back whatever revenue they can. But not being willing to change the date of the tickets, for a show that isn’t anywhere near sold out, means I’m less likely to book with the Gielgud Theatre again any time soon.


Oh My Spinoff!

So we had Fandemonium last week, or Comic-Con to those of you who don’t mainline the works of Kieron Gillen. It’s the industry’s big event show for all the big franchises and IP catalogues, to an adoring, sometimes screaming crowd of fans. I won’t reiterate the big headlines, those interested will have already consumed that. I will continue to bemoan the lack of a Young Avengers TV show, and then rapid fire through the following TV spin-off news:

  • The Boys lost its way a bit in season three, forgetting somewhat why the TV show was much more popular than the comics: restraint. But, perhaps to give the showrunners a bit of space to decide where to go next, the next live-action focus will be a spin-off. Having definitely learned their lesson from falling interest in the IP, Gen V is an “irreverent, R-rated series that explores the lives of hormonal, competitive Supes as they put their physical, sexual, and moral boundaries to the test, competing for the best contracts in the best cities. It’s part college show, part Hunger Games.” Oh. So no. No they haven’t learned. 
  • Speaking of franchises that haven’t learnt anything, aside from the imminent GoT prequel House of the DragonKit Harrington is apparently in talks for a John Snow spin-off. Something precisely nobody except Kit Harrington was begging for. Apparently, it’s to be called Snow, according to an Informer. I know they’re terrified of Amazon pulling the Lord of the Rings show off and dominating this area of the market, but come on…
  • Is there any good news in Spin-Off City? Yes, there is hope: Anna De Armas is set to star in the upcoming John Wick assassin spin-off Ballerina, and is reportedly to be written by Oscar winner Emerald Fennell. I’m predicting the Promising Young Assassin headlines now!

On My Screen

After writing about Everything Everywhere All At Once quite extensively this month, I thought I’d use my time of convalescence to watch the other multiverse movie that came out this year. And honestly? It was quite messy. A few nice moments aside, this was just a firehose of assorted themes, memes and references. 

So then I thought to myself, if I’m going to watch an absurdly over-the-top, big-budget comedy actioner with record-breaking box office takings, I should just go all the way. Let me boldly put this out there: It’s going to be a long time before someone outdoes Bollywood pseudo-historical action epic RRR. Though apparently it is better referred to as Tollywood; Bollywood refers to the Mumbai-based Hindi language film industry while Tollywood refers to the Bengali film industry. It’s subtitled mostly, but I hope that won’t put you off watching what might well be the most brilliantly bonkers three hours of movie you’ve ever seen. It’s available on Netflix, but it’s still doing the circuit at some indie cinemas and is definitely worth a watch. This is easily up there with my favourite movies of the year so far, and will make a strong contender for any future Dance Off-Off style competitions.


In My Ears

Who would have thought it, Embrace are back! By accident Embrace were the first band I ever saw live. I was actually going to seeThe Longpigs in my university town of Hull, who were amazing. But their openers were a very raw Travis and Embrace, who were either drunk, didn’t want to be there or both. It did not leave a good impression, to say the least. And then, like many indie bands of the era, they vanished. The Longpigs will never return, but Embrace at least are back. 

The narrative around Gerry Cinnamon is a bit of a quagmire: he’s either a local-boy-done-good or a class traitor. He’s either a traitor against the establishment music industry, or its saviour. But this unsigned artist managed to close his UK summer dates in style with a duo of gigs at Scotland’s national football stadium to a crowd of 100,000 fans. And it’s somehow fitting that one of his support acts was Travis.

Both Embrace and Gerry Cinnamon feature on this week’s playlist.


Photo of the Fortnight

Instagram is in the news again, and not for any good reason. The continued shift away from photos and towards short-form video is not by accident and will continue. The increased presence of recommended “content” from accounts you don’t follow is not by accident and will continue. Photos didn’t bring in enough revenue or growth, so rather than just let it be, or add to that, they’d prefer to pivot to an area where they can point to growth. So they’d rather ensure that actual followers don’t see new photos from their friends, to coerce “content creators” to do reels instead.

I still find it sad that all creative output now is just content it’s all grist for the mill, so it can be algorithmically regurgitated, re-packaged and re-sold to improve shareholder value. 


Denouement

Well, it took me a little longer than normal to write this, the covid fog did what it does so well.

Two days worth of writing in between naps and watching movies. But we got there!

Thank you, as always, for reading, and I’ll see you next time!