Saw the independent spoof documentary Ghosts With Shit Jobs, which has got some hype lately, in its premiere at the British Science Fiction Film Festival. Just got tickets for that one movie, but I guess this means that technically at least I've now attended a science fiction convention. Seemed to be a good atmosphere there, with people remaining cheerful despite some delays to the showing. Movie was preceded by a couple of short films which were pretty decent too.
The film has the form of a Chinese future documentary from a time when they outsource their crummy jobs to the West, following several people from future-Canada about their lives. Has some interesting ideas, like the woman who acts as human spam, casually dropping product references into conversation. Also has some nice off-hand references like "Our family lost all their data when the Cloud was repossessed.")
Has a few weaknesses like some unevenness of tone. A couple of the sub-plots get a bit silly towards the end, when it's hard to suspend disbelief that the characters would commit a serious crime while being filmed for a documentary.
Overall though, decent movie, deserves a proper release.
What I'm Watching 2
Saw the BBC three-part documentary The King and the Playwright, about William Shakespeare and James I. Presented by James Shapiro, author of the excellent "1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare". Pretty decent, explains quite a few things I didn't know about the historical context of the Jacobean period.
However, the links between the plays and current events seemed a bit stretched at times.
I have wondered why the Jacobean era produced all those incredibly bloody and cynical tragedies. But despite the show, not convinced that it was really such an era of fear and uncertainty. While there was stuff going on, it seems to me that this was actually a more stable era than the Elizabethan with its wars with Spain, Invisible Armada, rebellions in Ireland, female monarch and other items of uncertainty. So, I don't think we should overlook the possibility that Jacobean tragedy was just a dramatic fashion which had nothing much to do with current events.
Overall though, quite an interesting show.
What I'm Reading
The Minority Council by Kate Griffin is an urban fantasy about a magician fighting off menaces to London. This is the first one I've read but about the fourth in the series.
Pretty decent, some creative monster ideas, and good scenes Enjoyed reading it. However the plot languishes a bit in places and you wish the author would just get on with it. Perhaps it didn't help that I wasn't already familiar with the characters.
To me, it felt a bit like sickly sweet methadone when what I crave is the heroin of the next Dresden Files novel.
Saw the Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist exhibition at the Queen's Gallery. Thorough exhibition of Leonardo's anatomical drawings. Apparently intended for a publication which would have revolutionized anatomy, showing things that wouldn't be published elsewhere for centuries, they were hidden away after his death.
Very interesting, worth a look. Also when you put it in your calendar you get to put "Buckingham Palace" as the location.
Saw Travelling Light at the National Theatre. A Hollywood film director recollects his first attempts at cinema at the start of the Twentieth century, making movies in a largely Jewish town somewhere in Eastern Europe.
Pretty good play. Anthony Sher does an energetic job as the proto-mogul funding the movie, though he does seem a bit stereotypical. Interesting and amusing as the first village movie seemingly invents every element for subsequent movies, from dollies thanks to a fortuitous legless man on a cart and double exposures to test screenings and creative conflict with the producer.
Ending seemed a little bit weak as the play circles around sentimentality but tries to keep an ironic distance.
So I'm being made redundant at the end of May. Found a new job and signed the contract, starting early June. Small company, could be interesting. Pay is about the same, but lots will be eaten up by transport costs as the location is quite far out of town.
So looking at moving when possible. Probably to Twickenham/St Margarets/Richmond which are all on the trainline from there to London, so can get back in when necessary. Currently the plan is to buy a flat along with Girl B. Starting viewing on Saturday.
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