Week Notes – 08.12.19

Earlier this week I stumbled across Aaron Draplin’s Tall Tales From a Big Man talk on YouTube. I was lucky enough to see him give this talk in Manchester several years ago, and it’s still a great talk. This slide made me chuckle.

Not so many films this week, the first was Hobbs and Shaw which was a complete hoot. I’m an unashamed fan of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham so this was perfect for an evening of brain relaxing entertainment.

One thing that does annoy me about the Fast & Furious films is the use of CGI cars and actors for many stunts.

There’s no evidence of that in the first trailer for the new Bond film No Time to Die, which had me feeling like a kid again. Cannot. Wait.

At work we spent two days running a series of Discovery workshops for a major project in H2 next year. It felt a little odd covering in two days what took months in my last role. That was a much bigger project with a much bigger budget and one that is still ‘on hold’ to the best of my knowledge.

On Thursday evening my friend Richard and I ran our 31st MK Geek Night,  for me it was one of the best Geek Nights I can remember.  For this event we changed from our normal schedule and had three ‘headline’ talks from James White, Naomi White and Brendan Dawes. All three talks were brilliant, funny, moving and inspiring.

I’ve written most of this update standing in the queue at the Post Office waiting to post my driving licence after being caught on camera for the third time in 18 months. I’d never been caught before this run, so if you average them out over the time I’ve been on the road it works out as one offence every ten years. Which sounds much better.

On Saturday we bought our Christmas tree and have spent the weekend decorating the house. My wife always does an amazing job and the house looks fabulous. It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Week Notes – 01.12.19

I’m playing with the idea of publishing Week Notes  – a quick summary of the week that was.

This week has been all about great films and new music.

  • The Lunchbox – A delightful Indian film that follows a Tiffin tin as it travels between a woman stuck in an unhappy marriage and unhappy man about to retire – not the intended recipient. The relationship that builds up between them transforms both of their lives. Beautifully shot and perfectly paced.
  • Le Mans ’66 – A great film for petrol heads and ‘normal’ people alike. Christian Bale is superb as Ken Miles, who might be my new spirit animal.
  • The Irishman – Scorsese directs De Niro, Pacino, Pesci and a superb supporting cast in a gripping and gritty tale of the mob’s involvement with Jimmy Hoffa.
  • Joker – I finally managed to see the Joker and it deserves all the praise it has received. A brilliantly dark telling of the Joker’s ‘origin’ story, Joaquin Phoenix is completely riveting as Arthur Fleck and failed Clown that transforms into Joker. Joker had a very distinct colour palette of the film which reminded reminded me of 70s photographs.
  • I love Adam Buxton’s podcast and found the latest episode with Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers really interesting. I’ve never been a big Manic’s fan but hearing Nicky Wire inspired me to revisit their back catalogue, where I found many more tracks I knew and liked than I expected. One of their songs I have always had a special connection with is Motorcycle Emptiness which came out about the time I had a motor bike stolen – the very definition of Motorcycle Emptiness.
  • Marconi Union released their new album Dead Air this week. It’s been slightly delayed but was worth the wait.
  • I’ll end this weeknote with new music from my son. The video was recorded in my wing mirror on the way home from Synthfest last month.

Yet Another Reorg

“We trained hard but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganised.

I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation.”

— Petronius Arbiter

Salt Water

“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.”

Helen Keller

Baby Driver – Cars, Choreography & Cool

I’ve always thought that when it comes to watching films expectation can be a double edged sword. Go in with high expectations and so often you’ll be disappointed, go in with low or no expectations and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Baby Driver was a victim of high expectations the first time I watched it; I love Edgar Wright’s films, but Baby Driver left me a little flat.

I watched Baby Driver again this weekend and really enjoyed it this time. I still think it loses its pace in act two, and Kevin Spacey’s change of character and heart seems a leap too far, but it’s such a stylish and fun film.

In multiple scenes Edgar Wright uses the fantastic soundtrack to great effect, synchronising the action and movement with every beat – it’s as if the music is an extra actor.

Just check out the opening scene where Wright uses Bell Bottoms from The John Spencer Blue Explosion to great comedic, character building and car sliding effect.

But the scene that has had me rewatching it on YouTube are the opening credits where Baby does the coffee run – keep an eye on the graffiti and shop names.

How fabulous is that scene? Every element, including the lyrics appearing on and around the street, is timed to perfection. So much fun and explains why a heist movie has a choreographer in the opening credits.

Bond Meets Q

As a life long Bond fan I’ve hugely enjoyed Daniel Craig’s time as Bond.

From Casino Royale, which remained remarkably close to Ian Fleming’s first book, through to Skyfall,  Spectre and upcoming ‘Bond 25’ which includes the amazing Phoebe Waller-Bridge amongst the writing talent .

Skyfall is both my favourite Bond film and one of my favourite films of all time. As the film that marked the 50th anniversary of the Bond franchise I loved the references to Bond’s age, and this scene where Bond meets his new Quartermaster is just perfect.

“Were you expecting, an exploding pen? We don’t really go in for that anymore”