Tuesday, January 16, 2018

She's making movies on location (Dire Straits)

What just happened?

If it's a movie about making movies, I'm there!

Recently I watched What Just Happened? A film starring Robert De Niro as a movie producer. Here's the low down.

It was okay but the Rotten Tomato rating seems about right.

What it did do is made me think about their appeal because ordinarily, I'm not really bothered with how something works, I just enjoy the product.

It started many years ago when I saw a TV programme focused on starlet shenanigans going on with directors and producers. I forget its name.

For some reason I became interested in these peeks behind the artifice (which are themselves artifice - like being in a roomful of mirrors).

Watching Day For Night was a big moment - Roger Horrocks used it to kick start his film studies paper.

For me, when it's in the hands of cinematic masters like Truffaut, Allen, and the Coen brothers, the faux documentary style makes for a more realistic and heightened sense of drama, plus the fiction seems absolutely appropriate to the subject matter.

My top 5 movies about making movies:

Love and peace, and...cut - Wozza

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Summer, Buddy Holly, the working folly, Good golly, Miss Molly and boats, Hammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi Ballet, Jump back in the alley and nanny goats (Ian Dury)

Photo by Erick Tang on Unsplash
50 Reasons to be cheerful in 2017:

  • Looking forward, each week, to James Whatley's Five Things on a Friday 
  • Christmas visits from the family (Jade, Adam, Samantha)
  • Blacklist binges on Netflix
  • Reading my newspaper The Walrus Gumboot - courtesy of Paper.li
  • Medium.com stories - usually a few gems with each edition, although the message that I'd exceeded my monthly quota was annoying
  • Seeing Jerry Seinfeld with Jade
  • Morning feel good quotes for/from the staff at morning briefings
  • Vox sentences
  • Watching Dunkirk with Jacky
  • Thomas Oppong's articles via Medium.com
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi 
  • Austin Kleon's newsletter that comes into my inbox regularly
  • Lunchtime walks with my coach, Liz
  • Paul McCartney on December 16 at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
  • Lindsay Hope's CD collection will be giving pleasure for a long time to come
  • Seth Godin's blog, which comes every day, regularly provides food for thought 
  • November trip to Keri Keri for a weekend thanks to the kids
  • Dan Rockwell's advice, again every day, has pearls of regular wisdom
  • Whatsapp - the vehicle for hilarious fandamily interactions
  • Netflix has provided great viewing throughout the year
  • The Arsenal victory over Spurs was a tonic in an otherwise forgettable season, again
  • Greg Knowles' Seventies Music blog provides a shedload of memories
  • Daily writing on my blogs
  • Visiting Universal Studios at the start of the year with Samantha
  • Regular visits to Real Groovy in Auckland for vinyl 
  • Marbeck's Records and JB Hi-Fi are still providing CD fixes
  • Messages and videos from Noel Forth via Messenger
  • Facebook hilarity from mates Greg Knowles and Kevin Simms
  • Driving with Samantha and Jacky from San Francisco to LA along the Pacific coast
  • Disneyland with Jacky - the happiest place on earth for us
  • IHOP Anaheim and blueberry pancakes
  • The view from the top of the Brynderwyn Hills looking towards Whangarei
  • Autumn, every year
  • Card for my 60th birthday from my staff
  • Playing backyard cricket with the kids again
  • 366 Days With Wisdom by Venerable Master Hsing Yun
  • The Hard Rock Cafes in London and San Francisco
  • Finding the new copy of West Bruce and Laing's Whatever Turns You On
  • Reading 50 books in the year and fulfilling a goal
  • Our new Border Collie, Jerry, and his surviving Parvo
  • Seeing Jeanette Thomas at the Macca concert
  • The organic Whole Life Cafe in Maungaturoto is a life saver
  • Taking the ferry to Russell
  • The drive from Russell to Whangarei that takes in the Helena Bay Hill Gallery and Cafe (great, great gardens)
  • The spectacular tree outside my ART room
  • Seeing Keegan happy and purposeful in China
  • The view from our lounge towards the Bryderwyns
  • Building the horse yards for Grace and Beetlebaum
  • Playing ball chase games with Jerry
  • Browsing in Amoeba Records, San Francisco
  • Mocha at the Beach Cafe Ruakaka (my cup runneth over - this being #51)

Love and peace and into 2018 we go...Wozza

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Each day one needs to do what is beneficial (Hsing Yun)

We are family!

This year, Christmas and New Year in Nu Zild has been a series of visitations with the resulting succession of selfies on Whatsapp and Facebook pages. Good fun!

Tom and his mum
Recently, we said farewell to Tom and Christine Kirkham (but always a Purdy) as they went off to explore the rest of their first trip to NZ.

Reconnecting with my family roots leads me back to Rochdale and that's always bitter sweet - I miss England like crazy, and love the instant thrill of being on familiar ground with my cuz.

See you again soon Christine and Tom: Ka kite anō au i a kōrua.

Aroha nui rāua rangimārie - Wozza

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

You're a shmoopy! (Jerry Seinfeld)

This self-effacing correspondent aims to always keep you up to date with all the crucial happenings in Wozza's World (you just live in it, remember?). This post is no exception. 

Okay. Deep breath. Just the facts, ma'am.

It's been a state of angst central in the ART room this last week for your humble blogger. There's no point in beating around the bush!

How, oh how, was I to reorganise my CDs and records?

I know, I know...a biggie right?! 

In the past I've used a few genre headings and then all pop/rock under nationalities with a sidebar of Greatest Hits sets and another for various compilations.

Something didn't feel right though so I decided to reunite the GHits and compilations with the artist.

Still a feeling lingered.

VINYL rules!!!!
While I was hovering between the dilly of a pickle of introducing further genres or keeping to strict nationalities, my fellow father-in-law to Adam/Ashleigh, the very generous Mr Lindsay Hope, was packing up his CD collection into four wine boxes.

As he hadn't played any of his CDs in over a year and was able to get all he required on Spotify, he donated his collection to me. WAHOO!!

Turns out, we have very similar (great) taste so there were a few titles in common but generally his collection contained a huge number of CDs by artists I love but CDs I didn't have: a real treasure trove! The CDs were ecstatic to join the whanau.

Suitably energised, that drove me on to expand the genres - now Power Pop, Punk, Rock'n'Roll, Metal have joined the established genres: Progressive Rock (and Prog/Metal), Soul, Jazz (now using a plethora of sub genres like Fusion, Big Band, Vocal, Cool, Modern, ECM, Latin, Piano Jazz), Chill, World, Folk, Americana, Country, Blues, Classical, Alternative Rock, Reggae, and others!

Aaarrrrrrr. That feels better!!

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Hello world, today I feel like someone (The Tremeloes)

Christmas 2017 is in the books. So too, soon, will be 2017.

Highlights: Seinfeld with Jade; McCartney with SWMBO; holiday in Keri Keri courtesy of the Purdettes; Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi; first year living in Roch-dene (Maungaturoto version); seeing Dunkirk with SWMBO; Christmas with three of four Purdettes (any time we touch base with members of the whanau is a special highlight).

SWMBO/Woz, Fanfa, Adam/Ashleigh, Jade/William

Things to look forward to: Christine and Tom arriving in January; new goals for 2018 (hop over to Baggy Trousers for the details. Go on - off you go); starting each day with Venerable Master Hsing Yun's 366 Days with Wisdom (seen in the Keri Keri motel and ordered from the Buddhist Temple in Auckland); planning for Christmas 2019 (no idea where beyond a northern hemisphere location - exciting)

Be here now: today, right now - seems I have picked up a cold from somewhere; Arsenal are live within the hour - playing Crystal Palace; SWMBO has a cracked rib from a recent farm accident and is feeling sore; I'm about to have some brekkie:

Love and peace and happy new year - Wozza

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Rebel scum (Finn)

Star Wars: Episode 8 - The Last Jedi

Three reasons why I think it could be the greatest edition yet to the saga. If not that, up there with Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back.

1 Resonance - it acknowledges the Star Wars universe and history seamlessly and naturally. When Luke needs persuading to help train Rey, R2D2 shows him the original Princess Leia hologram that she sent to Obi Wan. Perfect. Some sort of dust molecule must have got into my eye at this point. Yoda's reappearance feels natural and he provides focus for Luke as a character (there's always a bigger fish), as well as perspective - same old Luke - always looking to the horizon according to Master Yoda.

2 Depth - it has layers. More integrated layers than any of the other films (with the possible exception of Empire Strikes Back - interestingly, another Jedi training middle-of-the-trilogy film). The idea of growing through failure (a favourite concept of mine) is woven through the film. Many characters 'succeed' and/or 'fail' even when they think they don't. The sub-plot involving Finn and Rose's doomed attempt to discontinue the trace on the rebel's command ship through light speed is great because they are doing their best to succeed. Poe's dreadnought 'win' is deemed a failure that he can't understand until later in the film. 

3 Hope - I love this theme (but I would, wouldn't I). The final image of the film is a beautiful image of hope. Aligned to the hope is love. The humanity within the Star Wars universe gives us all the universal connection that we yearn for in a film. It's largely why we believe in and love these characters. And is one of the key reasons this is the greatest franchise in movie history. Chewy, Luke and Leia, Han Solo in absentia and now Rose and Finn, Rey and Kylo Ren. It's about people, people!

I'm ready for my third viewing now. The first was special - with a party including Jade, Jacky, and Fanfa (all of whom have been my Star Wars viewing partners over the years). Second was awesome too, with Adam and Ashleigh - who shared my enthusiasm and love for this film.

If you haven't seen it yet, I envy you.

Love and peace - Wozza

P.S. Merry Christmas everyone out there in my little corner of the outer rim of the blogosphere. Many of you I know. Many are strangers. All of you deserve  the peace and love that comes with this time of the year.

In the immortal words of George Costanza - take it easy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The eyes were too deeply set in their pockets of shadow to be seen (Sourdust's eyes)

Re-reading the Gormenghast trilogy is a daily joy.

A joy that will last for a while. In more ways than one! The version I have compiles Mervyn Peake's three masterpieces into one volume of 1023 pages. That's a lot of joy!

This is the third time I've read these books.

Way, way back, when I was a teenager, I bought the three books as a boxed set, using a book voucher from a Christmas gift.

Second outing was about ten years later, as a young man at university (pre SWMBO and children). Improbably, it was a set text in one of my papers; writing an exam essay on it in the Old Arts Building at Auckland University is a very vivid memory. I wish I had a copy of that essay!

Almost 40 years later, here I am for the third time. 

I had an urge to reread it and found this copy at The Piggery in Whangarei.

Aged nicely, its pages are framed by a variety of browns, the heft of the book is also impressive. Even the fact that the binding is very delicate is oddly appropriate (pages 1 to 28 have already liberated themselves).

The experience of luxuriating in Peake's gothic castle and his descriptions of the vast grotesque cast of characters is superb. I am finding myself exercising mindfulness to a deep degree to understand and visualise everything Peake is communicating.

Speaking of the characters: I need to keep a record of them, if only to remember their glorious names.
  • Rottcodd - the curator of the Hall of Bright Carvings
  • Mr Flay - the Earl's butler
  • Abiatha Swelter - the chief chef
  • Steerpike - one of Swelter's kitchen hands
  • The Grey Scrubbers - they scrub the kitchen walls
  • Doctor Alfred Prunesquallor 
  • Irma Prunesquallor - his sister
  • Pellet - their servant
  • Lady Gertrude, the seventy-seventh Countess of Groan
  • Lord Sepulchrave - the seventy-seventh Earl of Groan
  • Titus Groan - their baby son, just arrived
  • Fuchsia Groan - their 15 year old daughter
  • Nannie Slagg
  • Sourdust - the old librarian and advisor to Lord Groan
  • Keda - the wet nurse for Titus
  • Pentecost - the head gardener
  • Shrattle - of the armoury
  • Springers, Wrattle, Spurter - kitchen boys
  • Cora and Clarice - Sepulchrave's sisters (and twins)
Perhaps, I say, perhaps, you can now see why I needed to write them all down.

Love and peace - Wozza