This newsletter marks the anniversary of the death of my friend Julian Boote. He was a good man, a good father, a tireless creative, and a big fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And to that end I’m dedicating this edition of the newsletter to him. I have no doubt he would have encouraged me in this endeavour, as he always did. No creative scheme was too harebrained or too ambitious; if anything he always encouraged people to strive for greater.
Rather than list out a couple of individual tracks for this segment, I’ve started curating a weekly playlist, the first of which can be found here: Sounds from The Engine Room 1 It’s a mix of tracks from the brand new to a couple of ancient tracks from the late 2010’s, as well as Pascal Letoublon‘s Friendships which will be familiar to you if you too had a brief obsession with shuffle dance tutorials on TikTok. That… might just have been me.
One track that didn’t make the cut was Deep Vally‘s Give Me A Sign, mainly because it sounded more like a Lana Del Rey tribute than Deep Vally’s signature filthy sound.
My musical rollercoaster of emotions this week was learning there’d be a new Black Keys album, only to learn that it will consist of “Mississippi hill country blues standards that they have loved since they were teenagers”. :/
Let me know if you’d prefer to read about a couple of tracks rather than have to listen to half an hour of music to maybe find something new you enjoy. As with all things newsletter, we’re all still finding our way together.
Oscar-nominated, Netflix-distributed short film Two Distant Strangers was as powerful as I expected, and not always in the way I expected. It’s well-worth 30 minutes of your time, especially if you enjoy time-loop and/or social justice stories.
Some publication or other published a completely incorrect listicle about the so-called best Sherlock Holmes on screen. I won’t grace it with a link, but it did have one useful outcome: A Sherlock Holmes I missed! Miss Sherlock is a Japanese HBO show about a female Sherlock Holmes who assists the Tokyo police. The pilot is currently on sale for 10p.
TFATWS took an interesting turn last week; not so much in terms of plot as that was pretty much expected, but in terms of the meta-narrative around superheroes. The statement that “the desire to become superhuman cannot be separated from supremacist ideals” was a bold one, and slightly explored. As is the way of the show, they’ll probably drop that slight nod towards introspection as with all the weightier themes they hit with glancing blows, but I was glad they raised it. It is often overlooked how close the fantasy of power lies to the desire to have power over others.
In the dim and distant past, I worked in a major British metropolis for their principle transport company, who was in the process of digging a train tunnel that crossed said fair city. It was there that I bonded with a colleague who, it turned out, had written a novelette about the dystopian hamster-wheel of productivity. We worked with the premise and the use of language and the possibilities for filming, and that was how my friendship began with Julian. The novelette in question was Crazy Busy, and is available to purchase for your Kindles.
Sometimes you need a sweet snack, but you’re trying to eat reasonably healthily. Here’s my solution: (You’ll need a food processor or ‘magic wand’ type device for this)
It’s been a week of highs and lows, and I’ve begun to draft thoughts on a number of topics. Some have been weighing on my mind for some time, some are weighty, and others better reserved for more personal communiqués. But 13 months into my exodus from my London office, the news that I’ll be getting the first dose of my vaccination this week has become paramount. This has been a year of sad passings. Some, like Julian, were taken by cancer, some by age and some by less known causes; but in amidst those who no longer dwell among us were two people I knew who died of COVID. Both of them at a time when vaccines were rolling out nationally, but to no avail in their cases. My heart goes out to their families. And part of my contribution to their memory is ensuring that I am vaccinated, that I do my best to limit whatever my contribution to the spread of this virus is. They say a salve for the sadness of death is a life lived, and lived well. And that’s what I hope to do.
And there we go, the fourth, timely email sits ready, waiting only for these final words and a final polish. Thank you again for any and all feedback on these newsletters, it really does help. I’d hate it to become yet another useless piece of email that sits in your inbox, guilt-tripping you into not unsubscribing. See you next week!