Wednesday, 31 December 2008

i saw about 26 first-runs (or new enough, in the sense that maybe they dated from 2006 or 2007 when not actually of this year - often the case for Anglophones seeing non-English language films) at cinemas this year, and the following is a list of my ten best.

(i will probably say something in the new year about near misses to this list, and about repertory in 2008.)

10. Lars and the real girl
9. Persepolis
8. Gone, baby, gone
7. Trouble the water
6. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
5. In Bruges
4. Wall-E
3. No country for old men
2. There will be blood
1. 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days

happy new year!

[ETA: lists, lists, lists. dear me. 9. and 7. probably under-counted anyway lbr]
list link

i was at the pad of my oldest friend recently and saw a copy of the Uncut end of year booklet: a handsome little insert in the magazine.
i've not touched Uncut for years, although - for Kulkarni on Stevie Wonder some time ago, which i mentioned here once, and SR on the 'oceans of sound' in reggae, to name two - i remain fond of it.
the cinema and genre categories were particularly enjoyable.

so, without further ado, there follows.

The Ex, Mississippi Records, snd and beautiful on Bangles: it's Jon, here, with 25 exquisite capsules.
(writes, on Lionel Marchetti: "Because he was the only person I would reach for when I needed to scratch that musique concrete itch. There’s an itch associated with that, right?")

Jane's typically epic singles run-down has gone from 40 to 2 now, and i'll plug in specifically here, with 30 to 21.

it could have been anywhere, but, really
Couldn’t "Urban Paisley" be a whole new musical style (not in evidence here)? Couldn’t "Paisley Urban" be a good name for a character on Gossip Girl?

Fact are rolling out across everywhere: 100 best tracks, 20 best mixes, etc.
i'm going to roll on to the re-issues list, because it's such archaeology.

the best gig i saw this year was the Sparrow Quartet in Vancouver: a formidable group.

at the theatre, a bracing reading of After the Fall by Our American Theater Co. in Seattle (an Arthur Miller i had not even heard of prior, must admit).


football performance attended had to be Barcelona's demolition of Valencia earlier this month. (though being among La Barra Brava toward the end of a DC United game was fun.)

pizza a toss up between a buffalo mozzarella in Milan or a slice of cheese from some Manhattan hole in the wall.

street food (i would blog about all sorts of meals but i deleted my grub blog) a toss up between a Montreal poppyseed (preferred to New York), or one of two cheesesteaks from one of two titchy Philadelphia walk-ups (one with onions).

my own sandwich: salami and leaves on rolls (meat from the Cheshire Smokehouse near Wilmslow).

food, probably carrot.

bowl food a goulash and white beer in Brooklyn.

best chowder in Galway, actually.

best Mexican outlets visited in Britain and Ireland: Mannamexico, Cambridge and Boojum, Belfast.
(though i did always like Thomasina when she was on 'Masterchef'.)

beer would be Daleside Porter from the Harrogate micro, a very good version, recently sampled on two pints at the Guy Fawkes Tavern (an old contender for urban pub of the year: gas lamps, rickety wood, tallow splats on uneven tables, dark solid stone) in York.
i was inducted into the charms of the Cardinal - hail Sam Smith's bargains in London - in Victoria, and have to note.
loveliest English cities Norwich and Cambridge.

the best pint of Guinness i had was probably in Sligo or Derry (i drank a lot of Guinness this spring in Ireland), and the most impressive American craft brewing situation was certainly in Portland.
Antwerp remains the best overall beer city visited this year.

going back to the incredible Dissensus, getting turned on to new writers (American election night was the date, and i now have theory in my head; Roberto BolaƱo - thanks to Philip Mind; and history - thanks to Ollie, to mention some) and acquiring a taste for grappa (i'd had it before, but rarely) are other personal faves.

film experience probably popping my Ikiru cherry on the big screen. amazing.
(more movies later.)

an ambition next year will be to have Luka make me a coffee. the best coffee i was given this year was from a Stuttgart-bred man in Seattle who discussed dour Austrian tactics.


Tuesday, 30 December 2008

I speak Thai. I know what they're saying

I remember a story. Two fools are waiting for their kidney transplants but only one kidney is available.
The two guys thus play a game.
They each put a playing card into the other's pocket.
Whoever guesses the card in his own pocket wins.

You know I can see your card.

I think so too.

(Infernal Affairs, Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, 2002.)

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

this seems fair (including the responses of the author to commenter commonsguy).
News from Guinea and Friends of Guinea

Saturday, 20 December 2008

If I saw Mr Haughey buried at midnight at a crossroads, with a stake driven through his heart - politically speaking - I should continue to wear a clove of garlic round my neck, just in case.

It is thought the victim, who has not been named, may also have been stabbed before his body was found in Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Friday, 12 December 2008

it was always going to be obsessive, unhealthy love-at-first-encounter for me and the DAF debut (and so it proved with its re-issue nearly nine years ago now), and look at this!
the fine folk at Discogs have this pretty image cap, including the Biba Kopf words on the back.

happy as a gambolling lamb.

all here