I should never have bragged about being ahead of schedule in the last two weeks. When will I learn that neither easy nor smooth are the leitmotif of these distinctly un-roaring twenties. For a year filled with glorious highlights, it hasn’t half felt like a slog.
I’d say I’m so tired I could sleep for a week, but we all know what a lie that would be.
But a little rest wouldn’t go amiss.
In My Ears
As a fan of Blood Red Shoes, I was hoping that the new solo album by band member Laura-Mary Carter would feature in this week’s playlist. Sadly, if there’s one thing we can accuse Lana Del Rey of, it’s that she’s set the bar quite high for those artists who come after her who sound a little too similar. Ms Carter’s debut album isn’t bad, it’s just fine.
Instead, my excitement is reserved for the fact that one of this newsletter’s favourite spunky new bands Carpark are celebrating the announcement of their debut EP with a launch party next year, and I have tickets.
On My Screen
James Bond – Spoilers!
To my surprise, I ventured back into the realms of a James Bond movie. I’d largely given up on the franchise after I accidentally ended up watching Spectre three times because I couldn’t remember watching it. Now I know for a fact that I’ve watched it (three times), but I still couldn’t tell you what happened. For me, that’s the worst sin in the creative arts: It’s one thing to be bad, but another entirely to be utterly forgettable.
Needless to say, my expectations for No Time To Die were low.
I was not expecting as much fun as there was. I was not expecting as much introspection. I was not expecting Rami Malek‘s villain to be largely a background character, shunted there by Bond’s psychodrama. I was not expecting that ending! And I certainly wasn’t expecting to be moved to tears by it.
I thought the callbacks to pre-Craig era Bond were nicely done: His mastery of 1950s Soviet missile technology was a nice touch, but nothing landed so well as We Have All The Time In The World from the impactful ending of George Lazenby‘s On her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Billie Eilish‘s theme song, derided by some on release for its lack of soaring moments, and not being by Shirley Bassey, turns out to be a perfect match for the tone and pace of the movie.
Those hoping that the introduction of the cypher that was Bond’s daughter would open the door for a female Bond were soon disappointed though: Producer Barbara Broccoli has stated explicitly that the next Bond will be a British man, though ethnicity was certainly no stumbling block in her view. I suspect though it’ll be a good number of years before the next movie.
For me, other than actually feeling something, anything, at the end of the movie there was one standout experience of the movie: Ana de Armas in Cuba as Palermo was an utter delight, fresh, funny and fun. It’s her movie I want to see next. Speaking of whom, Apple’s romantic adventure film Ghosted, was to have co-starred Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson. Johansson’s out due to scheduling issues, but Evans gets to share the screen with another alumnus from Knives Out.
Photo Of The Week
This isn’t a photo I took this week, but it’s one that came to the forefront this week. Four years ago I was taking photos every month at a cabaret show that has now sadly ceased to be. At the farewell Christmas party it became apparent that a lot of the performers had never seen the photos I delivered, so there was a lot of joy at digging up some old favourites. This one was taken in 2017 and shows Trixi Tassels‘ impressive fire-breathing routine. I think a deep-dive of old photos is well overdue next year!
On My Mind
I’ve enjoyed seeing images of The Frame, a reimagined wreck of the former Broadmarsh shopping mall, which is envisioned swathed in greenery, and hosting markets and leisure and entertainment facilities. It is the design of Thomas Heatherwick, creator of the 2012 Olympic cauldron, the new Routemaster bus, and the Coal Drops Yard shopping redevelopment in London’s King’s Cross. I’m not really up on my designers and architects, so discovering the link between quite identifiable and well-known designs brings me joy.
You know how last week I said there’d be two more newsletters this year?It wasn’t a lie at the time of writing, but it has become incorrect. The last one of the year is this very periodical you’re reading, 36th of its name.
Next year I hope to return to you refreshed and rejuvenated. And if not that, then at least interesting. So, until we meet again in four weeks time, I hope you have a truly excellent festive period.
I will be raising a glass to each and every one of you, and I hope you think of me and this newsletter fondly. I hope you’ll miss me like I miss you.