The nature of lists is that they often reflect a mean opinion, an average settling of general consensus. It’s the very nature of democracy except with music albums lists, there is no-one specifically highlighted to vote for. Well, there is, but more of that later. Lists are popular with readers and fans for a number of reasons, and I am referring specifically to music lists here.
Music: I’ve been listening to quite a few records in the last two weeks, helping me to sleep while Betty’s in San Francisco. While making shelves last week I listened to Awesome Color’s self-titled record. They’re a collective from Ann Arbor and strictly adhere to the musical heritage of the town by referencing liberally from the first three Stooges LPs. I’ve also fallen back in love with a host of female singer-songwriters, notably Laura Nyro and Nina Nastasia. On the other side of the coin, I’ve been very much enjoying early Murcof micro-house productions and am currently obsessed with any version of ‘Into The Mystic’ I can find.
Film: It’s been a good time for films but one has towered above the rest. There Will Be Blood ranks right up with the finest American movies I’ve ever seen, a brutal and bleak exploration of capitalist roots and the making of a nation. Daniel Day Lewis is good enough that many other actors may feel giving up could be a good route. Michael Clayton was dense and intelligent, I would expect nothing less from the low-key stable of Clooney. Oddest was Slipstream, the very-little-seen directorial debut of Anthony Hopkins which was utterly baffling until its final reel and honestly, I really liked it. It’s score on Rotten Tomatoes is terrible but it seems like many just were upset that he referenced David Lynch, after they’d recognised this, they put on their protective helmets and prevented themselves from liking it. Or they just hated it. Either way, it deserves more praise than its getting.
TV: I’ve been entrenched in two shows recently, Oz and Battlestar Galactica. Oz was the seed from which HBO grew into its golden age and is still astonishingly shocking, difficult to watch and thoroughly rewarding. A major review of it will soon come to the site as the inaugural part of a new feature. Battlestar I’m loving but not as much as people would want me to. But I can’t deny its qualities; great acting, three dimensional characterisation and, for the budget especially, jaw-dropping special effects. It’s politics are a little muddy and heavy-handed at times but it’s still a fine work.
Books/Comics: I finished RJ Ellory’s A Quiet Belief In Angels which really lost its way and didn’t manage to finish with the same grace it started with. I’m currently on The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright, a history of Al Qaeda and the reason for 9/11 happening. It won the Pulitzer last year and it’s just fantastically written and utterly fascinating. I can hear the sound of Republicans everywhere not understanding the need for a book on the subject. I just got through the tenth volume of Powers which I’ve been awaiting for flipping ages and I got the Best American Comics 2007 which is just marvellous. Edited by Chris Ware and packed with clever, odd little strips.
Anything Else: I’m really liking The Guardian at the moment, it just seems better than all other papers despite the spelling errors. Also magazines are still piling up and the decisions haven’t been made on what to subscribe too! I’m currently working on three new subscriptions as a frame so maybe you can help me decide. The choices are: The Economist, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, GQ (US Edition), Details, Newsweek. What do you think folks? Is there one I’m missing…