RAPTURE

twitter.com/clloyd9

0 notes &

The Song of Achilles

I have just put down Madeline Miller’s gorgeous The Song of Achilles and I cannot begin to say how beautiful and moving this book is. A modern telling of Achilles’ life from the perspective of his lifelong friend and lover Patroclus, Miller’s novel is a ten-year undertaking that is as subtle and deft as one could want. Far from stuffy with academic knowledge and scholarly learning, The Song of Achilles mesmerically conjures the world of a mythic ancient Greece. Gods and goddesses mingle with humans and the enormity of power resting on prophecy and fate looms over every narrative turn. While the story told here is well-known, Miller nonetheless imbues the book with taut plot and tension; knowing the ending still cannot prepare you for the sheer beauty, tragedy and heartbreak that awaits. I am not ashamed to say I shed a tear or two across the final twenty pages of the book, but the final paragraph alone should make anyone weep. Miller has crafted a deliciously rich and evocative novel worth its Classical origins. One can only hope this novel is deemed a classic someday too. 

0 notes &

Terri Walker, ‘Love You For Life’

From her debut album, Untitled, this song is one of my favourite Terri tunes. Though she hasn’t released anything in a while, Walker - with this one album - propelled herself into the forefront of UK nu-soul; she is better than most female artists in the genre. While her follow-ups weren’t as good as this, her voice, wit and originality is what makes me come back to her records time and again. Untitled is daring, gorgeous, funky, dirty, funny (not often you can say that) and distinctly Terri.

This song may not be the most unique RnB number, but I LOVE it for its awesome chorus, sick vocals and perfect arrangement. Everyone listen to this album at least, from beginning to end - the first track ‘Love Fool’ should have anyone hooked - to see how much this woman has to offer. 

0 notes &

'Slipstream', Bonnie Raitt

Bit of a large image for the blog, I know. But when it comes to Bonnie Raitt, I love her too much to care about photo-sizing. (And I think she looks amazing here. I’m really considering getting a similar white strand in my hair!)

Her new album, Slipstream is now out, and it’s gorgeous. Her voice is silky-smooth and always evocative; her guitar playing precise; her band sit comfortably behind her. The songs here are a mix of originals and covers - Raitt’s version of Loudon Wainwright’s ‘You Can’t Fail Me Now’ is a particularly beautiful and heartfelt number. Suffice it so say, I always love Bonnie, and this album is no exception. Listen to it now. Now I say.

0 notes &

Bon Iver on SNL performing the fantastic Beth/Rest. One of my favourite songs on the album, it’s like some 80s Bruce Hornsby number. But it’s got the gorgeous vocals and rich sound that’s all overBon Iver. I much prefer it to the debut which, although beautifully sparse, does not have the same musical risk and “fullness”  that the second album has. Either way, this is a freaking awesome performance - the band are so tight and ON IT - and you don’t often see SNL videos on youtube, so watch it soon! Don’t know why the image is inverted though: look at it in a mirror for the real image. (Oh, and you get to see Channing Tatum introduce it -never a bad thing).

1 note &

The Walking Dead

Two weeks after first starting The Walking Dead, I’ve just finished season two. While I would not say that it’s the best TV ever, both seasons had me gripped from start to finish. So much so that I ended up seeing an episode a night (at least) to get through it. Plus, it’s set in the South, so I’m obviously going to be interested, no matter what. I’m biased like that. Brilliantly paced and structured, the show revolves around a group of survivors in Georgia after some sort of apocalypse in which millions of dead (zombies) walk the earth. Whether this was due to an event or virus is not explained; nor should it - the show has enough ambiguity and unanswered questions perfect for a lengthy drama.

The protagonist - while it is nevertheless a strong ensemble piece - is Rick, played by Andrew Lincoln. It’s great that British actors are getting work in America, but my lord, Lincoln is a bad actor. I always thought he was good in Teachers and This Life, but here (complete with ‘Southern’ accent) he is wooden and often hammy. But, regardless, the rest of the cast are strong, and it is the collective characters that make this show work. It is the dynamics and relationships of the group that are really at stake here, zombies or not. In this way, it is typical of the survival TV genre, seen in Lost for example. Moreover, the horror is nothing new: this is standard zombie fare. But - and there is always a but - The Walking Dead is still riveting, well-crafted and enjoyable television. (Oh, and the gore is pretty awesome - at least one or two zombie killings viscerally depicted per ep). 

As the zombies keep on coming, and the group’s number dwindles (the body count rapidly amps up by the end of season two), the tension mounts. The season finale is both spectacular and highly unnerving. We get a definite sense of where the characters are heading in season three; plus, the last line (spoken by Rick - and this is not a spoiler) forebodes much of what’s to come: “This is not a democracy any more”. Can’t wait for season three in the autumn.

0 notes &

Weekend

Andrew Haigh’s second feature is a decidedly low-key affair that is elegantly shot, subtly acted and tightly formed. Set over the eponymous weekend of the title, the film follows Russell, a gay man in his twenties through a snippet of his life in Nottingham. Russell wakes up after a night out next to Glen, a guy he picked up in a bar. But very quickly we realise that this is no mere one-night-stand. The two end up spending most of the weekend together; having sex, discussing their lives, using drugs.

All of this is highly naturalistic and pared-down film making. The two leads - Tom Cullen and Chris New - have a very real chemistry on screen and make their story that much more believable. The direction is not intrusive and the script foregrounds character over plot. This is a film that knowingly or not situates itself in the long tradition of realist British cinema. 

While the film is not perfect - there are a number of moments that fell flat due to the script - Weekend is an engaging and wholly believable drama that in its modest form actually discusses sex, the representation of homosexuality, family, belonging and life’s narrative arcs. Though it does not hit all of these nails precisely on the head, Haigh’s film delicately covers vast intellectual and emotional ground in a small space. 

0 notes &

Weekend

Andrew Haigh’s second feature is a decidedly low-key affair that is elegantly shot, subtly acted and tightly formed. Set over the eponymous weekend of the title, the film follows Russell, a gay man in his twenties through a snippet of his life in Nottingham. Russell wakes up after a night out next to Glen, a guy he picked up in a bar. But very quickly we realise that this is no mere one-night-stand. The two end up spending most of the weekend together; having sex, discussing their lives, using drugs.

All of this is highly naturalistic and pared-down film making. The two leads - Tom Cullen and Chris New - have a very real chemistry on screen and make their story that much more believable. The direction is not intrusive and the script foregrounds character over plot. This is a film that knowingly or not situates itself in the long tradition of realist British cinema. 

While the film is not perfect - there are a number of moments that fell flat due to the script - Weekend is an engaging and wholly believable drama that in its modest form actually discusses sex, the representation of homosexuality, family, belonging and life’s narrative arcs. Though it does not hit all of these nails precisely on the head, Haigh’s film delicately covers vast intellectual and emotional ground in a small space.