Meta Letta 

You know, these newsletters would be a lot easier to write without the spectre of disease hanging over me? Last time it was the last embers of a minor case of COVID, and now… a cold. Or “man-flu” as the incredibly original, and not at all trite, mums on the school gate declare it. Trying to explain to them that I was wearing a mask to protect them was such an utter waste of precious breath; somehow that particular lesson in epidemiology and public health has not sunk in over two years. So, between my rasping breaths, and that particular encounter, it may go some way to explaining why I’m not my usual perky self in this fourth newsletter of 2022.

And why I’m late…


On My Screen

TV

Ridley Scott is set to produce a 10-episode series that will take place 50 years after Blade Runner: 2049, and it’s being greeted with more excitement than Amazon Video‘s other big franchise, Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The Superb Owl gifted us another trailer, but excitement is still low, caution is still high. The quote being bandied about is: “Evil is unable to create anything new. It can only distort and destroy what has been invented or created by the forces of good”. I mean, that’s also pretty trite, especially when it’s being over-used endlessly; by that measure one could condemn almost anything. 

My caution about LotR is because of Amazon Video’s past record, they just can’t quite seem to get it right. But I wonder if fans of Jackson‘s movie are opposed to the very idea of spin-off. Too opposed to embrace it. It’s an uphill struggle, to be sure.


Movies

Carrying on the topic of adaptations, esteemed videogame Bioshock is to be adapted into a movie by Netflix. No further information is available at this time, but it’s a rich world within which to tell stories. And it’s got to be better than Uncharted right? For one, it won’t be quite so prone to miscasting.

What happens when you equate puerile with fun? There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s a consequence if it’s the only thing you can imagine: If you then try to make something less puerile, you also end up making it not fun. This is what I imagine happened with The Kings Man, an un-fun snorefest. Rhys Ifans was the only one who seemed to be having any fun at all and much of the rest film was like eating dry crackers. It feels like the filmmakers neither understood what made Kingsman semi-successful, nor understood how to fix the problems. 

And finally, in casting news, I am baffled. Why, when casting Ursula for a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, would you hire Melissa McCarthy when Lizzo was also auditioning? It certainly can’t have been down to singing ability? 


In My Ears

Prior to the last newsletter, I bemoaned the fact that I had missed Carpark‘s EP launch party. This time I will bemoan missing out on the Smoke Fairies gig at Lafayette, a new small music venue in London. It’s the second gig I’ve missed there in the last two years since it opened, and I’d have loved to hear the new Smoke Fairies album played live. 

I’ve also this week been a little bit obsessed with Tessa Violet‘s new song Yes Mom, and not just because of this transition in TikTok. For those interested, there’s a how-to as well. I shall not be recreating it myself, I have neither the hair nor the flair. 

The Super Bowl half-time show managed to confuse anyone over 50 or under 30, but especially for hip-hop fans who fall between those ages, having an ensemble of Dr DreEminemSnoop DoggKendrick and Mary J. Blige was pretty impressive. Was it revolutionary? No. But then it wasn’t meant to be, it was nostalgia fodder for GenXers and elder Millennials. Personally I was happy that it introduced me to the work of Anderson .Paak, who was on drums throughout the performance. 

Tessa.Paak and Smoke Fairies can all be found on the new playlist

Fans of Daft Punk had an excited 5 minutes this week when, on the one-year anniversary of their break-up, they scheduled a live stream. Sadly it was merely to announce a reissue of the first album, with no further news, which seemed a lot of drama for a massive anti-climax.

And finally, I leave you with the news that Coldplay are to stop making music as a band in 2025. Make of that what you will.


Engine Room Diaries

Between catching up with work from my last bout of illness, additional work that I have been gifted, and being ill yet again, I have not used my downtime well. This last fortnight, the only benefit I gained from the reduced publishing cycle is that I didn’t add extra pressure on when I had no capacity to deal with it.

Photo of the Fortnight

Saying that though, I’m still quite pleased with this photo of my absurd hound. It was for a 52Frames challenge entitled ‘Depth of Field’ with an extra challenge of using an f1.4 aperture. For those that don’t know, at that aperture and at close range, the depth of field is extremely narrow. In this case, only Hector’s eyes and surrounding fur are in focus, with the focal point being the reflections in his eyes. This has the effect of concentrating your focus on just what the photographer intends. It is the first example in a while of me intentionally making a photograph, instead of taking a snapshot. 


On My Mind

Oh gods, what’s been on my mind? Everything? Nothing? The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse? A world of misinformation and conspiracy theories. It grows increasingly hard to tease fact from propaganda, and I’ve never in my whole life seen conspiracy theories bandied around so freely, so frequently. Were people secretly harbouring their whacky theories? Or were they merely particularly susceptible to a dramatic rise in social media-fed “alternative facts”? Or have people unlocked a Facebook-fed fast track to the truth about Lizard People? Who even has the energy any more to tease apart truth from fantasy, and do those things still have the same meaning any more? A complete disengagement seems like a tempting path, to let things wash over our heads. But I, for one, can’t really countenance any path so passive.


Denouement

And there we have it for this newsletter!

I hope it’s found you well, or at least better than me. 

I hope it finds you with a warm, soothing and/or alcoholic beverage in your hands. 

I hope to see you soon.

À bientôt!