They say the enemy of sleep is an over-active mind, and the enemy of an active mind, is not getting enough sleep; so I guess they’ve got me coming and going. Insomnia is a plague upon even a semi-rational mind, it tints and taints everything, distorts every perception. Spoon Theory is mostly used as a metaphor for people with chronic illness, but it can also apply in this instance, where the sleep deprivation limits what can be affectively achieved in a day. All of which is to say I’m quite tired and will do my best with this week’s offerings!
I didn’t have as much time to research music this week as I would have liked, otherwise I would have been able to give Weezer‘s Van Weezer a listen. After their semi-recent album of bland cover versions, Van Weezer marks a return and homage to the hard rock of the 70s and 80s. The word on the street is that it manages to steer away from pastiche, so hopefully I’ll get a chance to find out next week!
I did however create a new Sounds From The Engine Room playlist! Two tracks feature entirely because they’re trending on TikTok, and the reason I see them is because everyone’s cross-posting their TikTok’s to Instagram. TikTok has been quite the trend maker in music of late, which has a really big downside: B(r)ands are discovering its power and moving onto the platform in force, and the commercialisation of any platform is usually its death knell. Not for the mainstream, that’ll take a few more years. But I can see Generation Alpha (born after 2010) looking at TikTok in the same way that Generation Z sneers at Facebook.
This week I’ve been watching The Bad Batch, and I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed Emily Mortimer‘s take on The Pursuit of Love, which has a fresh, fierce pace that makes it a really fun watch. In its style and punchy editing, I feel the influence of Bridgerton. TPOL also has a cracking soundtrack, and there’s a BBC Sounds playlist for that.
But mostly this week I’ve been looking forward to cinemas opening up. I’ve been tempted by the Prince Charles Cinema showing Paprika and Midsommar, but in terms of new movies there’s only one thing on the radar. Originally due to be released a year ago, A24‘s phantasmagoria The Green Knight has a July release date and I can’t wait. In it, Dev Patel stars as Sir Gawain, King Arthur’s reckless nephew, who embarks on a quest to confront and defeat the eponymous green-skinned stranger. And, happy days, there’s a new trailer!
In other news, in addition to new seasons of Atlanta, Donald Glover is also teaming up with Phoebe Waller-Bridge to create and star in a series adaptation of 2005 action movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith for Amazon Prime Video.
And finally, Enola Holmes has been green lit for a well-deserved sequel.
The National Burger Awards 2020 confirmed what I always suspected: Bleecker Burger make the best burgers you can buy in London. And throughout lockdown my treat, and constant temptation, have been their DIY Burger Kits. It’s amazing that even at home their burgers are so good they’ll ruin you for any over-dense, over-cooked pub burger forever.
But I can’t wait to go and actually buy one that’s been cooked for me by Bleecker. As things open up I’ll be planning any visits to, for example, the cinema around their locations. It’s nice to look forward to eating out for deliciousness, and not just because I’m bored of my own cooking!
I was going to go on a big rant on this for the On My Mind segment, but time has proven to be shorter than expected. So just sign the petition against massive cuts to higher education arts programs.
It feels like I’m starting a campaign, a one-man protest against one of the ills I perceive in society. I first circled around it when writing about Line of Duty, but this article about annoying things in TV shows has finally pushed me over the edge. I’m calling it The Campaign Against Realism. But rather than a treatise on the why’s and wherefores of post-structuralism (another time), this is specifically about realism in narrative works.
There is a level of realism that’s required; if it’s a modern day drama set in the so-called real world, making changes that feel ‘un-real’ would pull us out of the narrative. But the opposite swing of the pendulum is just as offensive. Is it unrealistic that people don’t say goodbye on telephone calls, don’t go to the toilet or wake up looking pristine? Sure. Does it matter? Does it (generally) add any useful entertainment or plot progression value? Probably not.
Most conversations don’t flow. They have an extended greeting, idle chit-chat, ramble on, touch on a couple of useful bits, are interrupted by a random pigeon or someone stuffing their face with a doughnut, and end in a protracted “I should probably let you go. Yeah, bye. Bye then.” If you added all of that to an episode of TV it would certainly be realistic, but it would be utterly boring.
So sign the petition now! Join the Campaign Against Realism!
Which you totally could. If it were a real thing.
But it’s not real; it’s just entertaining.
To my endless disappointment, work, sleep deprivation and poor internet have made this the first late newsletter. Not only will I strive to do better next week, I’m going to start right away and aim for a bumper issue.
Until then, have a good weekend and enjoy the opportunity of an indoor beverage, if that’s a thing you enjoy!