Almost two weeks ago now, thingsmagazine found craneporn.org, my other domain. (I only have two. More seems a bit wasteful, really.) Subsequently, metafilter and a whole host of others have seen fit to look at the site. So my previous daily average of six page views has gone up. Just a bit.
This weekend I was at the festival for the first time in almost a decade. I'd been worried both at leaving behind technology and at how I'd cope with tents (especially if it rained). While I did have a bit of trouble with the weather, and I missed some of the communication that IRC and email affords, it was actually a good weekend. Here's the distilled version of my weekend.
Those of you who follow the 'British pop and indie darlings' will know that's also the title of their most recent album, and as you might expect there are themes in common between them. Music from the album is used in the film, and the narrator of the film is Michael Jayston, who also introduces a lot of the songs on the album with short vocal snippets.
So, what's the film about (assuming you're still reading this, and not the onedotzero summary)? Well, it's a 'psychogeographic look at London', structured as a series of observations and vignettes through a twenty-four hour period. It seems like it owes a debt to Patrick Keiller's London, which is a narrative of the city during 1992. (Mind you, I haven't seen London, although I have seen the followup, Robinson in Space, which extends the scope of the narrative to the whole of England, and which definitely shares a certain style with Finisterre.)
The title of this entry- six million Londons- refers to the fact that everyone seems to have their own vision of the city; their own path through it in both space and time. The remarkable thing about this film, and why I enjoyed it, is that it intersected so well with mine, or at least my ideal. There's a section early on of the rush to work, short cuts of disembodied legs and torsos marching over London Bridge, and carriages pulling in and out of stations, visually stacked Thames Bridges carrying people, buses and trains over the river, and the city's skyscapers glinting in the morning sun. Later, there's an extended section of cranes moving through the skies; the (now gone) Paternoster Square cranes around and above St Paul's Cathedral.
However, there are softer, more universal sections too. There's sunset from Primrose Hill, one of the nicer places in London to see the spread of the city from. There's the nights clubbing in the centre. The film's held together with Jatston's narrative, but it's also softened with other perspectives; the Londoner who bemoans the "Argos of rebellion" that Camden's become, the exile who still loves Primrose Hill at sunset, and the soundless faces of the dispossesed East End youth.
That's another thing I find to identify with the London of this film; it's skewed to the east. There's plenty of shots of the Canary Wharf towers, and the central skeleton of 30 St Mary Axe, and it never seems to get further west than Oxford Circus. That's my London too; it's scary out west.
Preceeding the hour-long film, there are three of Saint Etienne's videos, one of which - by Paul Kelly, who also directed Finisterre - is a beautifully grainy black and white promo for Hobart Paving, set in the area around St Pancras station - is almost worth the price of admission alone.
Finisterre is showing twice more at the ICA, and tomorrow's showing (at 7pm) will feature a q&a with the director and band. If you're in London, and it's not sold out, and love the city, go along. I have no idea if the film will ever be available on DVD. If it is, I'll certainly buy it. Sadly, I doubt it will, just like the Grant Gee videos for Spooky's Found Sound album. It's a shame, as, even though it may be slightly unoriginal (and anyway, isn't London one of the great changing cities of the world?), it's a great piece of work.
Those of you who read the 2lmc spool will know I occasionally mention videos on there, which wouldn't surprise you if you knew how much music television we watch. (We have Sky, which is now verging on two dozen video-based channels, so we bounce through them until we find something good.)
Last week, MTV2 started playing the new Blur video, for Out of Time, and while it was interesting the first time round, by the second time the song had latched into my head. It's a simple enough ballad, but it feels particularly poignant in context with the visuals, which are taken from a Correspondent programme from late last year about a US aircraft carrier's preparations for war. The section that the video takes as its spine merely follows a servicewoman as she prepares for duty and watches a sunset from the deck, but the short section of subtitles together with the lyrics of the song work together incredibly well. (Or at least, I think so.) Although a pop music video might seem not to qualify as something worthwhile, the four minutes or so of the piece really seemed to reinforce the fact that it was real people involved in the Gulf, and indeed that seems to have been the idea.
I hadn't seen the video for a couple of days, though, when Daypop 40 turned up an MTV Europe internal memo which would mean that MTV2 wouldn't be able to show the Blur video (amongst others) any more. While this is probably the least important effect of the war, it still feels needlessly stupid. The Out of Time video is still available online, but it's in Windows Media Player's rather useless format and hidden behind a ton of flash at Blur's official site. Even so, it's probably worth wading through to it.
Of course, the Emap (and, presumably, the independent) channels appear not to have any such qualms; 6he (excellent) Fatboy Slim "Weapon of Choice" video was played on Q this afternoon. Mind you, there's an impression that those channels are run by one bored technician keeping an eye on an otherwise automated playout system, and moreover that the system only gets refreshed on Monday morning.
I finally saw (via haddock) about the fact that some of the i-plus points on Oxford Street seem to be open wireless points. Islington also has these things, so I thought I'd see if they were open to. Sadly, the two I tried (at Highbury Corner, and on Upper Street just south of the Union Chapel) didn't seem to be. Shame.
I did have a very silly idea on the way to do this, though; could you sit on the top deck of a bus and 'wardrive'?
On Moorgate yesterday there were nice people handing out 150ml trial cans of Diet Coke with Lemon. I picked up a couple, and had my usual bottle of Coke with lunch while Leon had his trial can. "Like pub coke with artificial lemon" was his verdict.
I was therefore not expecting great things of this stuff, then, but when I did actually try it myself I was startled at just how shit it was. I don't really know how to describe it- the pain was 24 hours ago now and it's started to clear- but I do remember an incredibly strong yet unpleasantly artificial citrus flavour. Quite who they're expecting to buy this atrocity I don't know.
Me? I'm sticking to Irn Bru.
2lmc has lots of nice things, but unfortunately the sofas in the front room don't fall into that category. They're both sort of hand-me-downs and they both have an annoying habit of sliding forward from under you.
I spent most of the weekend sitting on them trying to organise what I've called the 'sludge'- the mp3s that I have that weren't organised neatly into artist/album folders- and woke up this morning with a somewhat annoying pain at the base of my spine. Obviously they're not that good for sitting on for long periods of time.
On the other hand, I don't like sitting upstairs out of the way programming, really. Oh well. Maybe I'll have to.
I think too much / on things I want far too much / it makes me hateful / and I do stupid things
London loves / the way people just fall apart
I feel so unneccessary / We don't think so / you seem starshaped
All I want to be is washed out by the sea / no death star over me / won't give me any peace / all I want is light relief
I'm holding on for tomorrow