Meta Letta 

Does your life go in seasons? I don’t mean feeling dreary and SAD in winter, only to come alive when the sun comes out; blooming like cherry blossoms, like the promise of the perfect picnic. This too, but not just this. Brittin Oakman said “Every season is one of becoming, but not always one of blooming”, but that’s not what I mean. Sara Benincasawrote that “some seasons are for creating; other seasons are for becoming the person who will create”. Sara is very wise, and correct about this (I asked her to confirm that I got it from her and she said “I could’ve said that but I don’t remember”), but I don’t even mean that. 

Sometimes I feel my life goes in thematic waves, that for a period of time a leitmotif emerges, only to switch to something new when the season ends. This is especially the case with creative endeavours: a season of excellent writing will never coincide with Photography Season, which is where I find myself now. Not only am I investing attention into my photography, but people are once again approaching me to enquire about event photography, headshots, etc. It’s quite a boost to have people show faith in your aesthetic. 

But the first step in this season was me redirecting attention to my photography, so maybe it’s that more than anything else. Like the two wolves, the part of yourself that thrives is the one that you feed.


On My Screen

I see that Netflix is once more considering a crackdown on account sharing, a policy that has been in place from the beginning of its service but never enforced. While they’ve talked about it before, they’ve never taken it any further. Now though they’re considering a subscription option where you’ll be allowed to do it for like $2-3 more a month, so it feels like they’re edging closer to making this a reality. I can see it from their point of view: account sharing has always been against the T&Cs, and their growth has slowed in the face of massive competition and IP clawbacks. But honestly, I can’t see this resulting in a big surge in subscriptions and revenue for them. Instead, I see people getting irritated, and treating the service like a drop-in and out facility when there are new releases they want to watch. And so the streaming wars take us step by step back to a world of IP theft and piracy. 


Movies

I watched Spider-Man: No Way Home and it was pretty good. But while I enjoyed the emotional fraternity of the Brothers Parker, for me every part of this movie was done better in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The movie fits well into latter-day MCU, it hits its cues and adds to the tapestry of the whole. But people angry that it hasn’t been nominated for a best picture Oscar are high.


TV

Picard season two has opened solidly, but so far I have found it a bit reminiscent of Discovery with the time shift, and did we really need an exploration about how Picard is just yet another broken boy who misses his mummy? The former feels a bit like the team wanted to say “you thought we’d portrayed Starfleet as a bit corrupt and fascist last season, but how about instead of exploring that more we’re going to show you that it could have been a lot worse?”. As with all non-Netflix streaming channels, the show is dropping an episode per week, so there’s a chance to pull it out of the bag. I’m still hoping they’ll stick the landing. 

In other Star Trek news, Paul Wesley is to play Captain Kirk on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, the Discovery spin-off.

Good news for Ted Lasso fans, shooting for the third (and probably final) season kicked off on the 6th of March, and will likely hit our screens in Autumn. Which will probably be when I re-subscribe to Apple+ and rewatch the first two seasons. 

The trailer for Ms. Marvel dropped last week, and it is joyous. There are elements of caution, for sure. But this trailer portrays the joyous energy that I’d love to see from a Marvel YA show. And I don’t just mean Young Avengers, but yes, also this. Wouldn’t it be glorious to have three main narrative thrusts for the MCU? The primary cinematic one, a younger-skewing poppier one, and an avenue for riskier storytelling? Or is that just me? Anyway, Ms. Marvel starts streaming on Disney+ on June 8th.


In My Ears

Arcade Fire is a band that I liked in theory before I finally fell for them the way I knew I should and would; semi-pretentious indie/art rock might as well have been invented for me. But, having crossed the Arcade Fire rubicon, having found love, I’m always a little apprehensive: Is this going to be it? Is this new music going to be what I hear that will consign them to the dustbin of my memory? The band I used to like? Will it be an album I have to retcon from my memory like Elastica‘s non-existent second album?

But, thankfully, it’s as if the band saw my small, guttering flame and breathed life back into it when they sing: “We can make it if you don’t quit on me”. The Lightning I & II are perfect, and only perfect together. For that reason, I’ve taken the unprecedented step of adding both tracks to this fortnight’s playlist. Don’t play it on shuffle, and turn it up when you play it. I’ll never quit on you. 

Arcade Fire‘s new album WE comes out on May 6th, and I’ve already pre-ordered my copy.


I try to keep an open mind to the uneasy marriage of commerce and creative endeavour, but even I blanched at the prices The Rolling Stones were charging to see them perform at Anfield. The cheapest ticket, somewhere far up in the gods, is £80. The so-called Golden Circle takes up most of the pitch, and tickets there are £170. I won’t even tell you the VIP prices, eye-watering doesn’t begin to cover it. I mean, I get how capitalism works: Value is determined by what people are willing to pay, costs have gone up, etc. I understand seeing a still-touring band of their stature is a luxury experience. But those prices are beyond reasonable.


Engine Room Diaries

Photo of the Fortnight

acrobat figure dramatic

I nearly didn’t include this photo. While I like this example of low key photography, it didn’t land well with others. Aesthetics are so tricky. Photography as I see it isn’t representing the truth of what’s there, it’s presenting to the world how you see a particular scene. That means there’s no point trying to fake it, no point presenting somebody else’s aesthetic. But it does make it tough when you start interpreting a less popular image as people saying “how you see the world? It’s not for me”. We principally create for ourselves, it’s the only way to do it with any authenticity. But neither do we exist in a vacuum, free of the need for validation. 


On My Mind

Can you believe I went to the theatre last month and completely forgot to write about it? Clearly, this is not the season for writing, to forget something so fundamental. It certainly wasn’t due to a lack of thoughts. I went to see The Collaboration, with Paul Bettany and Jeremy Pope as Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and it largely involved those two talking about what art was for two hours. My love of Basquiat’s free-wheeling voracious creativity is well-known by most who know me, so this was deep in my wheelhouse. Both actors did a spectacular job, and the script was fair to them both. But if anything, my love of how Basquiat saw the world and the world of art has deepened. 

It does make me really wish that I’d seen Red though, which starred Alfred Molina as Rothko and Eddie Redmayne as his fictional assistant Ken.


Denouement

As I write this, the day is drawing to a close, and a spring sunset is beginning, bathing me in a warm light. 

It’s a visual season for me, and a season of growth for the whole hemisphere. We’ve got a whole bunch of festivals and holidays to celebrate rebirth ahead of us, and I think that’s a great thing. While it may be a time of hayfever for me, as much as my first love is the autumn, I can’t not love this season. 

Maybe it’s a matter of loving whatever the season you’re in.

See you next time!