Sunday, February 28, 2010

'Let's rock..'

On April, 8, 1990, ABC aired the pilot show of one of the defining television programmes in history. Twin Peaks was more than just a TV show. For some people it became a way of life - the settings, loose ensemble cast and convoluted storylines - at times apparently barely comprehensible - jarred with the majority programming schedules of the day - the late 80's/early 90's in American broadcasting was not a time for artistic uncompromise. And yet the show worked. It found its shout. It was a commercial and critical success, internationally as well as domestically. More than anything, the show had an abiding impact on popular culture, still does. If you've never seen it you're in for a, sort of, treat - the first series especially is as beguilingly wondrous to watch as it was all those years ago....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

'You know I'd catch the next train, back to where I live.'

Tom Fogerty (1941-1990)

'Dear America - 1/10

There have been many films and television programmes made about the American war in Vietnam. Bill Couturie's wonderful 1987 docu-pic, 'Dear America,' differs from the majority of these in the unsensational way it depicts the vestiges of ordinary lives in extraordinary situations. There is a heightened poignancy in allaying the narration; much of it by famous actors and celebrities, with stock images, popular music and archive footage, creating a world that is familiar, yet wholly, and horribly, unrecognisable. Unavailable in the UK for many years, Couturie's, at times unsentimental portrayal of an America at seemingly insurmountable odds with itself, is available to view at the above and subsequent links.

No dogs allowed!

It's been thirty years since the publication of Chris Van Allsburg's debut children's book, 'The Garden of Abdul Gasazi.' His is a peculiarly unique vision - the stories, and particularly the illustrations, convey a sense of melancholic intimacy rare in any fiction. Van Allsburg is an artist, a sculptor. He uses this artistic sensibility to create magical worlds, imperfectly realised, where each page is; not unlike the precisely unsettling fiction of Shirley Jackson, slightly at odds with its predecessor - doors that will not shut. Further information can be found on

Sunday, February 7, 2010

...on me 'ead son...

We're really going to be spoiled for comedy choice soon. Anything with Omid in it is worth seeing three hundred times - David Baddiel's new film, 'The Infidel,' promises to be the funny movie of 2010 - possibly even funnier than Chris Morris's forthcoming opus. Omid Djalili is one of the truly great comedy performers and this new film could be his most celebrated role yet. Released in April, the official trailer can be viewed on the Guardian website 'The Infidel'

'Nothing to do with me'