Print Story Hungry Ghosts
By TheophileEscargot (Fri May 11, 2012 at 02:36:57 PM EST) Reading, Watching, Museums, Theatre, Me, MLP (all tags)
Watching: "Ghosts With Shit Jobs", "The King and the Playwright". Reading: "The Minority Council". Theatre: "Travelling Light". Museums. Me. Links.

What I'm Watching
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.

Overall, good play, worth a look. Review, review, review. Also features a great though barely used forced-perspective set.

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.

Socioeconomics. Shadow economy sizes worldwide. "Shareholder spring" spreads. Historical Perspective on the LEGO Gender Gap.

Pics. This is what a philosopher looks like. Another view of Tienanmen tank man. Avengers concept art.

Sci/Tech. New brain scan technique uses acidity. As expected, the anti-paedophile UK web filter was repurposed to block Pirate Bay. Apps and the death of the iPad Edition.

Random. Strange history: Indecent lifting and heaving. Titanic tea bag holder. Film sound cliches.

Video. Jimmy Carr v. Hecklers. Piranha 3DD trailer. Republicans, get in my vagina.

Politics. Gay marriage: importing America’s culture wars has backfired on David Cameron. America's idiot rich.

Articles. "Spiritual but not religious" Charles Stross on the death of genre by ebook.

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Hungry Ghosts | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)
congrats on the job! (nt) by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #1 Fri May 11, 2012 at 11:14:37 PM EST

[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
Thanks! [nt] by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #2 Sat May 12, 2012 at 02:02:22 AM EST

It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Genre by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat May 12, 2012 at 04:33:41 AM EST
Minus the ebooks part, I wrote a similar genre piece for one of my college essays. I believe it netted a low 2.1.

odds and ends by lm (4.00 / 1) #4 Sat May 12, 2012 at 07:51:59 AM EST
Good job on the job. I hope it turns out well.

On the cynical and bloody tragedies of the Jacobean era, perhaps parallels can be found in ancient Greece (Aeschylus, Sophocles, et cetera) and Rome (Livius, Seneca, et cetera). It seems to me that some cultures just naturally turn to that sort of aesthetic tone and style.

On the `what a philosopher looks like page', they seem to conflate being a professor (or student) of academic philosophy with being a philosopher. Many people do these days. But some thinkers with far better minds than most professors of philosophy, e.g. Leo Strauss, consider themselves scholars of philosophy rather than philosophers.

For a long time I used to think that the `spiritual but not religious' thing was silly. It took me a long time to understand that some people have different ideas of what those words mean than I do and, sometimes, what many other people do. Someone who comes out of a tradition where the two words are synonymous might even think the statement is offensive. For this person, everything they think of as being spiritual is now being thrown out as not being spiritual. But someone from another tradition has never thought of the words that way. I don't think that the two terms are synonymous. Nevertheless, I would argue that when one spiritualizes a `non-religious' act, what one is effectively doing is making that act religious by assigning a cultic importance to it that it did not have (or, depending on your view, by becoming aware of a cultic importance to it that you did not previously perceive). But, that said, I do not hold that all religious acts are spiritual. Human beings are pretty good at making the sacred into something mundane.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Horror movies by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #5 Sat May 12, 2012 at 09:11:53 AM EST
Are the lazy modern analogue of Jacobean tragedy, are they not? And they don't seem to have any positive correlation with times of violence and distress. If anything they correlate with periods of new affluence going a little bit sour.

Iambic Web Certified

Congrats on the job... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #7 Sat May 12, 2012 at 01:28:45 PM EST
Last night we went to see Long Day's Journey into Night, with David Suchet in the lead. Well worth seeing. Really well crafted performance. 

(Comment Deleted) by Metatone (2.00 / 0) #8 Sat May 12, 2012 at 02:26:30 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by Metatone

If by `seminal'' you mean `derivative' by lm (4.00 / 1) #9 Sun May 13, 2012 at 07:40:15 AM EST

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
The low hanging fruit by lm (4.00 / 1) #11 Sun May 13, 2012 at 01:38:02 PM EST
You've never seen Woody Allen's Sleeper?

Take the general plot device and social commentary of Sleeper, plasticize it along the lines of Brambilla's Demolition Man and you've got Idiocracy.

The sort of social commentary that drives/Idiocracy/ has long been widespread in the likes of Robocop, They Live, Meet the Hollowheads, and scores of other films.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Not to mention... by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #12 Sun May 13, 2012 at 11:42:13 PM EST
The Marching Morons.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Hungry Ghosts | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)