Sunday 14 June 2015

Favourite Gig Fridays: V Festival 2004 snapshots ( re-posted... see below )

Pixies: reformed, rejuvenated, "doing it for the money" says Frank but we know differently, classic song after classic song about bones and incest and UFOs, Kim Deal's Cheshire Cat grin, that guitar sound from Joey, swearing in Spanish, ecstatic crowds loving every second. Awesome.
The Strokes: effortlessly cool, even their roadies are cool, Julian so drunk he can barely stand but still singing like a demi-god, every song from the first two albums, serious crush down the front but we don't care, a cover of The Clash's Clampdown for us old gits, extreme volume, did I mention they were cool?
Weston Park, Staffordshire, a lovely country estate setting. A strangely family-friendly, middle-of-the-road vibe. I sit in the sunshine and eat a hotdog while Badly Drawn Boy is on stage, go and check out the skateboarding at the Red Bull Vert Ramp while Jamie Cullen bores the pants off the main stage audience.
And then these guys turn up:
NERD: bringing the noise, Pharrell prowling the stage like a panther, everyone wave their hands in the air, everyone SCREAM, jump up and down, Paaaaarrrtttyyy!!

The Zutons: Scouse nutters, great tunes, Abi on sax, harmonies and melodies, Zuton Fever!
More fun than Snow Patrol.....

*Update 14/06/2015*
Dear Reader, there was previously a lovely photo of Abi from the Zutons here but somebody complained that it was infringing on their copyright so I've removed it. I now seem to be on some copyright infringement list with people who produce posts with titles like "Six porn stars show how to suck some mean dick"  -  obviously my sharing a photo of the comely saxophonist ( on a blog that has no commercial profile and is just here for entertainment ) is in the same league. Here are some words from the Google Overlords on the subject:

We have received a DMCA complaint for your blog, The Glass Walking-Stick. An email with the details of the complaint was sent to you on 13-Jun-2015 and we have reset the post status to "Draft"; you can edit it here. You may republish the post with the offending content and/or link(s) removed. If you believe you have the rights to post this content, you can file a counter-claim with us. For more on our DMCA policy, please click here. Thank you for your prompt attention.

Soundtrack: Surfer Rosa by The Pixies.

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Calvin, King of the Cat Captions

Just a quick shout-out to my good friend Calvin, of Canadian Cave Of Cool fame. He is THE master of clever, witty captions and I always love to see what he does with photos of our cats. Here is Jasper, photographed by Sophie a couple of days ago when she came home for the weekend. Sophie posted this on her Facebook page and said "Don't know why my cat was being seductive..." The mind boggles! Calvin, of course, turned this ridiculous picture into comedy gold. If you're reading ( or even, who knows, Following ) this 'ere blog you probably already know about the Cave Of Cool  -  it really is a wonderful place to visit. Calvin has recently, incredibly, passed the 5 million page views mark. That's some achievement! If you have some time to spare, Dear Reader, please drop in on the Cave and soak up some of the awesomeness there. And tell Calvin that cerebus660 sent you :-)

Soundtrack: De Stijl by the White Stripes

 ( And here's Jasper again, chilling out on his 6th birthday last week. )

Saturday 6 June 2015

A Little Chaos

Because there aren't enough films about gardening...

Last week Sarah and I went to the Gloucester Guildhall to see Alan Rickman's second film as director, A Little Chaos. This is the highly-fictionalised account of the creation of the formal gardens for Louis XIV's palace of Versailles. Belgian actor Matthias Schoenarts plays the Sun King's chief landscape artist, Andre Le Notre, who hires the headstrong but troubled Sabine De Barra ( Kate Winslett ) to build an outdoor ballroom for the palace. Sabine challenges Le Notre's sense of order with her radical ideas, finds herself the victim of snobbery and Court intrigue, gains a surprising royal ally and  -  inevitably  -  falls in love with her "master"...
This is a very slight story and the film obviously suffers from a low budget but, after a slow start, A Little Chaos finds its feet and portrays a sweet, slow-burning love story among the pomp of the royal Court. Schoenarts is quietly convincing as the artist struggling to finish his project and satisfy his king's demands, while dealing with his unfaithful and manipulative wife ( the ever-wonderful Helen McCrory ) and slowly falling for Sabine. Director Rickman gives himself the plum role of Louis XIV but resists the temptation to ham it up or overshadow the main story, instead giving us a glimpse of the man beneath the wigs and the robes. There's also fine support from other dependable Brit character actors like Rupert Penry-Jones, Danny Webb and Phyllida Law, with Stanley Tucci adding some transatlantic camp, but the film really belongs to Kate Winslett...
Winslett's role of the fiesty woman forging her own ( garden ) path in a man's world, while haunted by the death of her husband and daughter, could have been hackneyed and obvious but she pours so much pain and sadness and anger into the role that she forces you to believe it. There's a beautiful scene where the usually-reticent Sabine opens up about her past trauma to the collected women of the Court who all, one by one, recount their own tales of love and loss, before metaphorically putting their masks back on to face the King and his cronies. Winslett only shares a few scenes with Rickman but the best of the lot sees her mistaking Louis ( sans wig ) for the royal gardener and sharing a few horticultural tips before discovering his identity. The love story between Sabine and Andre also defies the Mills & Boon-type material and becomes something more real and deep, but tinged with sadness.
Not a classic by any stretch of the imagination, A Little Chaos is still a fragrant little bloom...


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