Finished Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-drugs-and Rock 'n' Roll Generation Changed Hollywood by Peter Biskind. Gripping, gossipy, readable account of the 1970s in Hollywood, which Biskind like others sees as a kind of golden age of cinema, when the studios gave directors free rein, allowing them to make intelligent movies.
Biskind doesn't get too carried away by his enthusiasm, and doesn't try to excuse the worst excesses. Not sure how accurate some of it is though. In a number of places he follows shocking anecdotes with little disclaimers explaining that the person in question denies it completely. He's pretty good about attributing sources though, and isn't afraid to give completely different versions of events from different people.
A while back I mentioned "Blockbuster" by Tom Shone, which mentions Biskind several times and in some ways is portrayed as a rebuttal of it. I think the differences are mainly those of emphasis. Biskind only briefly mentions things like the Poseidon Adventure and the Towering Inferno; he doesn't see them as culturally important; whereas financially they were hugely important. I suppose in some ways you could argue that the Poseidon Adventure was one of the most influential films of the 1970s in terms of the ultra high concept, big budget, and emphasis on stars.
Well worth reading. If you do read it, note that there's a list of all the major characters at the back in case you lose track. Thorough index too.
What I'm Reading 2
Also read another comic: Batgirl: Year One. OK but not brilliant: retelling of the origin story of the least angsty member of the bat-family. Passes the time but a bit repetitive.
What I'm Watching
Much the same goes for "Madagascar", which I watched. Mildly entertaining and passes the time, but gives off a kind of air of cheapness: the animation is OK but a bit sketchy, gags are a bit thin, and there are lots of half-length songs but no original ones. Save it for when you need something to watch. The penguins are good though.
Paris Notes: Day 2, Morning
Paris was colder and windier than I expected, though apparently it was pretty chilly in London too. Was comfortable with a light jacket and jumper, though the Parisians were wearing moderately heavy coats or jackets instead.
Started off at the Pompidou centre which was a disappointment: the fifth floor was closed off for some reason, and that has most of the early 20th century art I wanted to see. The late 20th century and contemporary art on the floor below wasn't that interesting: had seen some of it before. Doesn't open till 11AM, but looked around nearby. Decent view from the top.
The Museum of Judaism a couple of streets over was a bit of a waste too: it's not included in the Paris Museum pass so had to buy a ticket, and their scanty collection of menorahs, artifacts and tombstones didn't really seem worth it. Very tight security there, but the big museums also have metal detectors and bag searches: Museum security is a lot tighter there than London, where I often wander in and around toting a rucksack without being scanned or searched.
The Picasso museum more than made up for the others though. Fairly small museum, but arranged pretty chronologically and with a high density of artwork. So, fascinating to walk through and see his artwork evolve: you can almost watch the shapes ooze out of the fairly conventional early portraits and condense into the fractured later paintings. Well worth a look.
After that took the Metro to the Arc de Triomphe, but didn't go to the top or spend long there as it was raining. Took a brief walk along the Champs Elysee but ducked into the next Metro station when the rain restarted. Looks better from on high than from the ground.
After that went to Les Invalides, the big military hospital built by Napoleon, now turned into Le musée de l'Armée. The modern bit's closed off, but the medieval wing was open. This would be heaven for Rogerborg: room after room of armour and weapons covering centuries; ceremonial armour, war armour, horse armour; two-handed swords, rapiers, halberds; dozens of crossbows, harquebuses, muskets, pistols, daggers: brilliant stuff. Must have been about fifty different suits of armour alone.
After that popped round the back to see the tomb of the Corsican Monster himself. Impressive but a bit overblown: big golden dome on the top.
Nearby is another highlight that someone recommended to me: the Rodin museum. Set in a large garden with outdoor sculptures including the Thinker. The garden has a great tranquil atmosphere. Also has a nice outdoor café where I ate a delicious brie baguette, and they even humoured me by replying to my execrable French in French. Again plenty of art including some interesting reclining nudes.
|< to: email@example.com | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >|