Tuesday, April 29, 2008


This is Manchester railway station's bookstore, though it could be anywhere. It's an entire display of child abuse autobiographies (typified by Dave Pelzer's archetype A Child Called It), or I should say 'autobiographies' because this trend in the publishing industry is so popular now, the demand so voracious, that it's clear that most of this stuff must be fiction. These powerful microtrends can be observed at Amazon, where should you dare investigate even just one of these related genres (eating disorders is another good example) you can expect to be bombarded with countless recommendations from the site.

This fuelling of perceived reader expectations to the extent of fictionalisation and invention is not new in itself - in fact it's long been the lifeblood of magazines and newspapers; the innovation is the sheer speed with which this stuff can be delivered into the hands of the consumers.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Have a look at this, this and this - makes the heart leap just to watch, must be amazingly exciting to jump in.


After reading some of your interesting comments posted, on Philip's recommendation I checked out the low-budget documentary Wal-Mart: The High Cost Of Low Price, a fairly devastating study on some of that company's practices. While there are some important parallels to be made between Wal-Mart and Tesco, there are clearly some differences too (one being that Tesco isn't even cheap).

Those comparisons aside, as I see it, the herds of shoppers, who dutifully provide the foundation for these voracious enterprises (without which would fail), are not making any conscious statement on any of the issues one way or another. They are not being deliberately malicious or uncaring towards Asian slave labour for instance, they just don't really care - and in fact, part of the success of the supermarket/retail giant is achieved by this desensitising and pacifying process. The battery hen of a customer is no longer able to discern any more between a flower that has a real fragrance, any more to a strawberry that has flavour, any more to chocolate that is beyond mere flavouring and sugar, than is he or she any longer capable of seeing the terrible toll being inflicted by their acquiescence, not only on others but ironically on themselves.

Friday, April 18, 2008


I loathe Tesco and everything it represents - the results of the Tescopoly on small businesses, our eating habits, farmers and on the way supermarkets operate in this country is possibly too late to do much about - to see it also happening in Thailand I find truly depressing.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Yet more movie mini-reviews from Facebook.

Cloverfield (***)
considerably better than I expected, has some exceptional cinematic moments - stars deducted for its lazy disappointing underdevelopment and the product placement

[Rec] (*****)
Spanish filmmaking has come a long long way since the days of the dictatorship when they'd dub Elvis Presley's singing - this is the kind of intense DIY horror film that Blair Witch promised but ultimately failed to deliver - the whole movie is brilliantly realised from start to finish (or at least until the producers blow it badly tacking on that moronic cheesy music for the closing credits)

Sisters (*)
remake of an old De Palma movie about a couple of separated twins; way too amateurishly directed to be taken seriously - completely lacks the sexual tension necessary for the story

Lars And The Real Girl (*****)
where Juno tries way too hard to be funny and moving, Lars And The Real Girl achieves its goal so much more effectively and poignantly through gentle understatement and the simplest of exposition - original and beautiful and memorable

I Am Legend (*)
last man alive is Will Smith - how unlucky is that? avoid this fx-driven nonsense

El Orfanato (*****)
a must-see - one of the best Spanish films ever made replete with multi-layered literary references - but in essence a dark frightening beautiful fairy tale that will evoke something deep inside; I don't agree with those that have criticised the sentimentality of the ending

27 Dresses (***)
a good romcom is a guilty pleasure

Juno (**)
annoying and charming in almost equal measure, this endearing story and Ellen Page's great performance are weighed down by thirtysomething scriptwriters trying way too hard to be clever and funny and kewl - and another star deducted for more tedious product placement of (bad) music and soft drinks

Eyes Wide Shut (*)
there is no chemistry in Eyes Wide Shut, and it's not necessarily Kidman's fault: Kubrick was an overrated director with that common Hollywood addiction to over-exposition and emotional vacuity


Tuesday, April 01, 2008


The new 4-track EP 'You hold on to what's not real' by Colt (whose enchanting singer is lovely friend Andrea) has just been released and there's a mix of 'Black Rabbits' included which yours truly did - I have a few promo copies of it so if you're ordering any CDs or vinyl from Susan Lawly, drop me a message and I'll throw one in for you.