My Thoughts On…Kiss The Water


Blu Ray / DVD Release: Monday April 21st 2014


You don’t need to like fishing to appreciate this beautiful documentary. Trust me. I’ve never fished a day in my life and I don’t intend to start despite being utterly beguiled by this film.

That’s because it’s not really a film about fishing, salmon fishing in particular. That’s merely the entry point for a simple, haunting and moving elegy to things that are increasingly passing from view.

The story of Megan Boyd, a woman who crafted the most beautiful fishing flies in the world for salmon fishers, is told by someone who never met her and doesn’t fish. We never see her in the film, we only hear about her and see examples of her incredible work. Yet we feel her in the stark images of the decaying house she grew up in, in the gorgeous animations that evoke the beauty of the world she inhabited. It’s our world though rarely conjured so. Unknown hands make flies for our eyes, the maker faceless, so the immense craft and skill is appreciated.

All these elements, combined with poetic voiceover and footage of people fishing the rivers of the incredible Scottish Highland landscape Boyd called home make up a film that is a paean to life and death, community, artistry, nature, solitude and so much else. It’s a soaring, beautiful film that gives hope that there is meaning in all of our lives, even if we are not around to see it in full bloom.

A film created digitally using what could be described as democratised technology about an art-form that was never remembered enough to be described as forgotten but through love and care and compassion becomes a tale that adds beauty and value to the world and serves as a reminder of the important things that we could do worse than to occupy our time with whilst parading across the earth. If modern documentary is not for this, then what is it for?

Those occupying activities are making things with our hands, helping others, being in nature, dancing and driving crazily on open roads. Oh, and being secret friends with royalty. Although maybe only the truly special get that honour, and it’s clear from her life’s work and those who talk so movingly about her, that Megan Boyd was truly special.

And this is a truly special film.

My Thoughts On…The Driver

Beyond Refn’s Drive this film is clearly one of the main influences on Michael Mann’s entire career and his fascination with masculinity in crisis, in conflict, in existential despair.

It’s a brilliant, lo-fi thriller with two electric performances at its heart but from opposite ends of the spectrum. Ryan O’Neal is a masterclass in minimalism at one end as the getaway driver du jour with Bruce Dern kinetic and restless and verbose as the cop who neeeeeeeeds to nail him. They are the templates for DeNiro and Pacino in Heat.

The chases are superb and the film doesn’t outstay its welcome, ramming in confrontation after confrontation but still leaving space for us to fully comprehend if not completely understand what drives these men. Still brilliant.

My Thoughts On…Green For Danger

Let’s be honest, if Alastair Sim is in it, I’m going to watch it. The man is a master of mischief, mirth and morality (or its absence). 

This intriguing murder mystery set towards the tail end of World War Two and released just afterwards is a claustrophobic theatrical piece, set across a few interior locations mainly, including the operating room that serves as the focus point of the murder. 

It would make a superb play. Sim plays the inspector sent to solve the mystery and it’s very much ‘An Inspector Calls’-esque in the way his arrival acts as a catalyst for the unravelling of those involved but with less emphasis on moral responsibility. The idea of the world outside closing in, in the form of the police and more dangerously, the war, is ever present and adds magnificent tension. It’s very much plot driven with fascinating female characters and superb performances all round with a lovely, delicate little twist at the very, very end which undermines all that’s gone before deliciously.

Sleevenotes // Falmouth to Luton [27/2/14] and [23/3/14]

A weird batch this time out. The last two times I travelled back to Luton I returned to Cornwall with company, so the drives were spent chatting and/or listening out of Sleevenotes order. 

So don’t worry, I haven’t gone mad.

A couple of early B catch ups, 1 desert island disc, no real stinkers. Enjoy.


Barn Nova by MV & EE

Benji by Sun Kil Moon

The Boatman’s Call by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Bon Iver (s/t)

The Bones Of What You Believe by Chvrches

Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen

Bow Down To The Exit Sign by David Holmes


Bowie At The Beeb by David Bowie

Bows + Arrows by The Walkmen

Boxer by The National

The Boy With The Arab Strap by Belle & Sebastian

Boys And Girls In America by The Hold Steady

My write up of Wednesday’s awesome British Sea Power gig

A little thing on today’s madness

My Thoughts On…Trespass (2011)

Why is it when I am lying in bed looking for something trashy on Netflix my iPad I usually stump for a Nicolas Cage abomination?

Maybe this time it was because I had Walter Hill’s Trespass in my head from my recent viewing of Judgment Night. See recent thoughts for more info on that.

Either way, it was Cage time again and yeesh, what a terrible, terrible film. Poor Ben Mendelsohn. And has Nicole Kidman ever been given a worse part to play? What a ridiculous character.

The plot is wafer thin and stands a butterfly’s flutter worth of scrutiny. Dreadful, utterly dreadful. Oh Joel Schumacher directed it?

Say no more then.

My Thoughts On…Dumb And Dumber

I love this film. I find it hilarious. It’s stupid and silly but also, some of the jokes, both visual and verbal are deft. The comic timing of Carrey and Daniels, and their chemistry is peerless. 

It’s my favourite Carrey comedy and it’s aged really well, mainly because it’s just really funny but also because it’s a smartly plotted road movie and caper which helps the film avoid pitfalls that arise from being too static. 

Still wondrous and still a film I reach for when I need to smile and laugh and feel good.

Also, music by Tood Rundgren! WTF? 

Doctorate Playlist // February & March 2014

The last two months, whilst finishing my thesis and preparing for my Viva I listened to:

Mogwai - Rave Tapes

Franz Ferdinand - s/t

Neil Young - Time Fades Away

Pink Mountaintops - Axis Of Evol

Stephen Malkmus - Wig Out At Jagbags

The Black Angels - Passover

Meg Olsen - Charade

Little Feat - Feats Don’t Fail Me Now

Ida Maria - Fortress Round My Heart

Low - The Great Destroyer

Led Zeppelin - III

Led Zeppelin - Presence

De La Soul - 3 Feet High & Rising

De La Soul - Buhloone Mind State

De La Soul - De La Soul Is Dead

Bloc Party - Silent Alarm

Longwave - The Strangest Things

David Bowie - Hunky Dory

The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street

King Khan & The Shrines - Idle No More

6 Music - Cerys Matthews, Jake Bugg, Green Gartside

Neil Young - After The Goldrush

Blondie - Parallel Lines

Sea Wolf - Old World Romance

The Clash - Rarities 1976 - 1984

XTC - White Music

XTC - Go2

XTC - English Settlement

Various Artists - Crazy Rock

Echo & The Bunnymen - Heaven Up Here

Jackie Wilson - I Get The Sweetest Feeling (12”)

The Go! Team - Junior Kickstart (12”)

The White Stripes - Blue Orchid [Michel Gondry & Jim Jarmusch Remixes] (12”)

Kanye West - Touch The Sky (12”)

Radiohead - There There (12”)

Amp Fiddler - Right Where You Are (12”)

The Earlies - Morning Wonder (12”)

Spiritualized - Anyway That You Want Me (12”)

Oasis - Whatever (12”)

Oasis - Lord Don’t Slow Me Down (12”)

Mylo - Destroy Rock & Roll (12”)

My Thoughts On…Judgment Night

As requested by @le_david_tinker. Yes I take requests. 

This was a film I loved back in ‘the day’. It was one of a slew of Urban Nightmare/Paranoia thrillers from the 90s that I couldn’t get enough of - see also Juice, New Jack City and Walter Hill’s Trespass (a film I confuse this with a lot for some reason).

It was fun to revisit and bathe in some nostalgia for a period in my life where I was forming my tastes and understanding of films through ravenous consumption, college and later university.

Judgement Night is a taut and decently plotted thriller that puts a group of privileged men through a night of hell at the hands of Denis Leary’s improvisational, sociopathic drug lord. The group of men strain to be sympathetic (save for Jeremy Piven who gives his usual disgustingly smarmy and obnoxious portrayal) but it’s hard when the script basically requires you to run. A lot. 

Cuba Gooding Jr acts mostly with his eyes and and high waisted trousers and gives a brilliant performance of walking through doors like the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz. Emilio Estevez is the epitome of beige, setting the bar for leading men of the modern era by being utterly benign. To think this man was Otto in Repo Man is astonishing upon viewing this film. 

Yet, it is still a fun watch, with a superb soundtrack of rock/rap collaborations and distinctly 90s lack of subtlety. The final fight in the glass department of department store is straight out of the files of Police Squad. A happy revisit.

.@bspofficial were amazing in #falifornia tonight

My Thoughts On…Computer Chess

What struck me most was a sadness. There seems to be a melancholy at the heart of this wonderfully strange, funny and visually inventive film that uses the past to try and pinpoint a sad moment in recent history.

That moment is the tipping point when we, in the west at least, shifted from being tactile, social beings to predominantly technologically driven beings and where social takes on a different meaning than ever before.

The film is set in a hotel and is full of people interacting but the focus is entirely on machine. The gulf between people’s ability to interact with the technology in front of them and the people in front of them makes for uncomfortable viewing because it resonates a truth. There’s humour and surreal swathes throughout and the fact that these (mostly male) characters are so fixated on technology we now consider primitive is all the more significant. 

It seems like real interaction is the domain of the smug, arrogant and ballsy as personified by the brilliant character of Michael Papageorge. But he is as lonely and scared and alienated as everyone else. We see his ridiculousness much quicker than the other characters do. 

If I’d seen it on release it would have slotted into my favourite films of last year. It’s a brilliantly nostalgic film - not only for archaic film and computing technology but an era of the personal and the tactile where ego clashes were played out in front of keyboards instead of behind them.

My Thoughts On…Fletch

When I was younger my pals loved this movie but I never saw the attraction. Looking for something light last night this popped up on my Netflix queue and I thought I’d give it another go.

The result?

Still don’t see the attraction. Beyond the jarring 1980s-isms (casual sexism, racism and general meanness) it’s just so smug. I realise now that this is the reason I’ve never really liked Chevy Chase and would struggle to name a film of his I love apart from the sublime Three Amigos National Lampoon’s Christmas and Caddyshack (which is definitely an ensemble film anyway). Oh wait, I like Spies Like Us too. And the other National Lampoon vacation films are fun.

Okay. It’s basically just Fletch I don’t like.


Coming very, very soon:
A brand new issue, focusing entirely on the films of Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson - get it the minute it’s available by subscribing to Bright Wall/Dark Room Magazine now!
We’re putting the finishing touches on it as we speak, and can’t wait for you to see it. As our art director, Brianna Ashby, is possibly the biggest Wes Anderson fan on the planet (yes, she’s even had theme parties), you can just imagine how much fun she had doing the artwork for some of these. Consider this cover a taste of things come!

Loooooook at that cover!


Coming very, very soon:

A brand new issue, focusing entirely on the films of Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson - get it the minute it’s available by subscribing to Bright Wall/Dark Room Magazine now!

We’re putting the finishing touches on it as we speak, and can’t wait for you to see it. As our art director, Brianna Ashby, is possibly the biggest Wes Anderson fan on the planet (yes, she’s even had theme parties), you can just imagine how much fun she had doing the artwork for some of these. Consider this cover a taste of things come!

Loooooook at that cover!

(via sometimesagreatnotion)