Sam Freeman

Theatre | Comedy | Marketing

Category: Review (page 1 of 2)

Film Review: Justice League

Life is about the choices we make, the friends we stand by and the moments where we courageously follow our hearts and take a leap of faith. Which is, I should say, a long way round to saying I decided to go to the cinema and not the gym tonight.

Let me answer your first question: the gym? No I have not been for almost three years, but I have the ambition to go, when I’m about to fall asleep, when I look in a mirror or, increasingly frequently when I ascend short flights of stairs. The problem is this ambition doesn’t readily translate into action, instead I search for distraction, and it was, with that firmly at the forefront of my mind, that I saw Justice League tonight.

Let me fill you in. It’s an epic battle between DC (comics) and Marvel (also comics) to produce films that have a strong residual essence of comics read by surprisingly few people and transform them into brands that can hit as large a demographic as possible. There are successes and there are failures – try and be too accessible and Batman and Robin excretes its way onto the screen – go the other way then you end up as The Dark Night Rises, where you crave a moment, a slither of joy or light.

So far Marvel have dominated this titanic battle with their successes from Iron Man through to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor: Ragnorok with various highs and lows along the way. DC in the meantime have had a rougher ride, creating aesthetic-led films that have moments of genuine brilliance and then crumble away into excessively long, extreme CGI fight sequences. It’s been one of my huge frustrations – Man Of Steel used Kevin Costner and to a lesser extent Russell Crowe to build interesting father-son relationships with Clark Kent, similarly Wonderwoman created a conflicted, three-dimensional Diana at odds with the world – but they’ve been spoilt by a need to ramp up the action and to jump to a conclusion. Ben Affleck’s introduction as the latest Batman (a tall order after the particularly genre-defining portrayal by Christian Bale) in Dawn Of Justice was mishandled – Batman isn’t interesting, he hits people in a cape, Bruce Wayne isn’t interesting, he’s too rich for that – the fizz, that dynamism lies in the moment of conflict between those two selves – Affleck’s role has almost removed that, they feel increasingly like one person and it loses the heart of what makes superhero films hit the mark, that word I keep repeating: conflict.

Justice League is, like many of DC’s recent films, unbalanced but has moments which makes you ask if only.

The good: Gal Gadot is on good form as Wonderwoman without really sparkling – it feels like with an exception dramatic (rather than action) writer she could be incredible. Jason Mormoa as Aquaman has a rock ‘n’ roll presence that starts strongly and feels like an enigma wrapped inside a mystery, but the film never asks questions of the character – what maketh the man (or man-fish)? Ezra Miller (The Flash) takes the comic plaudits, gets the one-liners and physical moments that push him square and centre – he is the geeky audience encapsulated on screen. Ray Fisher as Cyborg gets a simmering glowering and glowing façade but seems to lack depth as a pale imitation of Ironman (to the purists, I’m sorry, I don’t know which came first).

What’s bad is, I think, three element: Depth, Affleck (or more specifically Batman) and conflict. Our direct comparison is Avengers Assemble in the Marvel universe. What worked incredibly well for that film (and series) was the way that it took time to reach Assembly point – we had to learn about all the components (and them about themselves) much more than in DC. That depth allows that number of characters to come into a single film and function, it even allows new players in (think Hawkeye) with minimal introduction because you can define them in relation to known quantities. That seems missing here – as if we’re so desperate to get to a fight that we forget people have to have a reason to fight (and be fought).

Ben Affleck as Batman doesn’t work. Sure it’s an older portrayal. Sure he’s seen and done a lot, but he’s built like a boxer not a street fighter, he’s almost arrogantly wealthy (something that predecessors never seemed to be), sponsored by Mercedes in what can only be the most glaringly obvious bit of product placement ever, for some obscure reason uses a horse to get to a Northern outpost rather than a helicopter and, and, well, he’s older okay, that’s what gets me. There’s moments when Bruce Wayne is casting admiring glances at Diana (Wonder Woman) and it feels uneasy, like the old bloke in a battered leather jacket in a nightclub buying twenty year olds drinks – it feels a little wrong – but hey, if she consents and he consents, if they both fully consent, if everyone consents, in writing, then they’re both grown adults – she is, after all, hundreds of years older than him and still not properly over the death of Captain Kirk (mk 2).

Most of all though it’s conflict – not enough emotional, too much physical. DC had opportunity to make the superhero films you get to think about, to get some true character actors, focus on purity of story, of removing CGI as much as possible – essentially following the model established by the Christopher Nolan brand of Batman films.

I guess it feels like DC made a choice, after life is about the choices we make, the friends we stand by and the moments where we courageously follow our hearts and take a leap of faith. Sometimes we nail it, sometimes we hit our fingers with a hammer, and sometimes we wonder if we should have gone to the gym instead.

Review: Batman Vs Superman

***Contains spoilers***

Batman Vs Superman reminds me of going clubbing around 2004.

I was living in York, a single man exploring the world within half an hours walking distance of my house and I was giddy with the excitement of life’s seemingly endless possibilities. Or at least I assume I was. I must have been giddy in some sense because during that period I would religiously go on nights out which ended, each time, exactly the same way. We’d drink, dance, the excitement would build, “this” I’d remark, “is going to be the greatest night ever”. Each night I’d dream of meeting the woman of my dreams, whisking her off her feet to a romantic conclusion. The reality was far different. Each night would end with me alone in the corner enviously watching more confident sleazeballs (opposed to geeky romantics) bump and grind away before helping a friend who’d vomited in their hair home (via McDonalds) and then I’d pass out and prepare for a monster hangover.

Batman Vs Superman was like that experience all over again. It starts well, it’s gritty sure, but actually it has some clever storytelling, that creates a spectacle of an epic while maintaining the intimacy of learning about the characters at the same time. It’s stylishly shot, you can almost smell the scum and decay of society when we meet Gotham, while in Metropolis the aftermath of Superman’s battle with Zod has left scars (strongly emotive echos of 9/11 and New York) but also hero worship.

Henry Cavill was a known quantity going into this film and he continues to play Superman well, if perhaps, lacking enough of the internal turmoil that makes modern superheroes more dynamic. Like in Man Of Steel we are teased at this greater depth without it ever really being given for a meaningfully long enough period of time – the brief moment with Kevin Costner seems out of place and doesn’t add much other than to prove that both Superman and Batman dream lucidly. The relationship with Louis Lane (Amy Adams) is interesting, but given the speed with which their relationship has developed through the first two films, any subsequent appearance in the next film will presumably involve grandchildren, a messy divorce and an affair. Amy Adams is a great actress but she’s not given enough to do. Louis is resourceful sure, but again, it doesn’t feel like a well-rounded character.

batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-ben-affleckBen Affleck. Two words to inspire fear in any DC Comic fan. When his casting as Batman was announced a wave of fear spread around the globe. I am, however, pleased to report, that he’s actually (and whisper this) pretty good. He makes a convincing Bruce Wayne, perhaps more so than Christian Bale. He has a physicality that shines, while his more advanced years play well against the stark dystopian background of Gotham. The interaction with Alfred (played by Jeremy Irons) feels right –  a different dynamic to the one established with Caine and Bale – but one that plays Alfred, refreshingly, as a technical wizard and co-conspirator rather than simply a servant. Like Cavill’s Superman I wanted more time to get in depth with the new bat – we get glimpses, but not enough for Affleck to stretch his acting muscles rather than just his, well, muscles.

As for the other roles, Jesse Eisenberg is suitably deranged as Lex Luthor although there is a clear struggle to make his character’s decisions logical (what’s his motivation for any of it?), the parallels with Bruce Wayne could have been developed further and instead is limited to a single line. Gal Gadot’s Wonder woman is great and when in disguise she add a level of tension played off against Affleck that feels like it will develop slowly and cleverly but instead is wasted with a reveal that comes all to easily and obviously in the huge fight sequence.

And it’s here we hit the problem. The film is of two halves (as those nights out in York were). The first where you think this is going to be amazing and the second where you have a crushing disappointment. The first where nuanced character and plot drive things forward, the second a thunderf**k carcrash of a fight sequence perfect for 10 year old boys and suitable for noone else. None of the cast are to blame – instead the finger should be point squarely at the director.

Like Man Of Steel and, to an extent 300, the film suffers from fight overload. A five minute fight scene is fine, ten minutes managed well can be fun, however when that stretches to a seeming eternity where the fight sequence seems completely incongruous with the rest of the film with layer upon layer of death and destruction being added you have to ask the question why. An explosion is not made better by adding extra explosion – Snyder goes for broke – there’s a point in the film where an Atomic Weapon explodes – that, remarkably, is not the end point, that’s the stepping off point for more and more explosions that add nothing. Economy is great for focusing a narrative – this loses its focus for well over an hour.

Great superhero movies end with victory that comes because of intellect, brains and not just brawn. Superman should win because of his humanity, Batman should win because of his cunning and ingenuity, Lex Luthor should operate in the shadow and be foiled by this combination. Instead we get a zombie monster, punched and then stabbed to death in an hour of CGI fighting and a headache inducing cacophony of explosions.


★★☆☆☆ “Wait for the DVD and watch while drunk”

An Open Letter to FIFA 16

Dear Fifa 16,

This is really hard to write down, to put down in words, to articulate, but, I think I may have reached the end. We’ve reached a dark, dark place and, well, I’m not sure there’s any return.

fifa98

Good Fifa

That’s not to say there haven’t been good times. I’ve had a long relationship with many of your peers. Who can forget the joys of Fifa 98 (Road To The World Cup) when I took Barbados to the World Cup and won thanks to a double-hat trick of overhead kicks – i nearly cried.

Steve Harper

Steve Harper –  Goalscoring Legend

Or Fifa 11 when in the last game of the season I needed to beat Chelsea away with Newcastle to win the league – Danny Simpson passed the ball to goalkeeper Steve Harper who ran, my how he ran, he ran past Drogba and Anelka, played a quick one-two with Joey Barton, overran the Chelsea midfield leaving Frank Lampard for dead before a rainbow kick, flick and volley bypassed Terry and Cech and sealed the title in the 93rd minute. There was even the majesty of Fifa 14… We were inseparable for a long time, trading Ultimate Team players like an elite stock exchange trader, for a while I was on top of the world.

Which is why it’s so hard to say this now, we’ve fallen out, we’ve hit a 12 game losing streak from which there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, no joy waiting, the trophies have dried up and left only despair. But where did it all go wrong? That’s what I hear you ask.

Maybe it was that shooting has become near impossible where an open goal causes footballing premature ejaculation for any member of my team who might be in the unfortunate scenario where there’s the possibility of scoring. Perhaps it was when I played online and was losing 7-0 to a Spanish teenager who had yelled “you shit fucker” down the microphone directly into my ears before demonstrating precisely how to score with a Rabona Flick with Carlos Tevez. Is there a chance that it was, while playing Career mode, my star goalkeeper who i nurtured from a 67 rated 16 year old to a 83 rated 21 year old was sold, by my board, without asking, for 50p and a curly whirly.

Yes it’s all of those things. But the worst was this.

JStones

Future England Captain

John Stones.

John “the Everton defender” Stones.

Now you’re probably thinking, now come on, you can’t blame John Stones, and I must be up front, I’m not. It was an incident that happened with him that turned the game for me, turned it from a thing of beauty to a thing of despair.

I signed John Stones and he has consistently been the best player in my team. He passes better than Xavi, shoots like Koeman, defends like Maldini mixed with Rio Ferdinand mixed with Zeus, King of the Gods and never complains, never waivers and never tires. But in this fateful game, the twelfth defeat in a row we connected. I was playing online against, what I assume was a Dutch teenager, and although he beat me it was the manner in which it happened that was the problem.

Illustration from the Battle of Agincourt - archers / www.camelotintl.com/.../ battles/agincourt.html

Agincourt – the original

We’d battled, it’d been like Agincourt, epic to the very last. We were headed to a draw, a draw, a step in the right direction, the type that a Newcastle supporter (as I am) would describe as “a good win”. It was nil-nil, the final moments ticking away, my defense wasn’t so much parking the bus as creating a blockade with coaches, buses, 747s and tanks. It was to be a moment to celebrate.

Then it happened. John Terry. John Terry surged forward for the opposition, past one, past another, the crowd held their breath, “what was happening” they wondered aloud and in superb animation. He slid through my entire team like a hot knife through butter, warm butter, melted butter.John Stones looked for anyone to make the tackle but knew it was down to him and so slid perfectly to take the ball from the menace’s feet, a beautiful motion, like an ice skater winning the Olympics or Swan Lake’s finale. The ball fell to my other central defenders feet (who shall remain nameless for now), and he booted it hard and away from goal.

Or at least he tried to.

The ball hit the back of one of my midfielders (Colback) and almost in slow motion (and later actually in slow motion) ricocheted backwards, over the keeper, over the defender, past the last man and into the net consigning me to yet another defeat. The whistle blew and the camera turned to John Stones. John Stones who’d given his all, who’d been a lion amid lambs, and he looked directly at the camera.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen an animated graphically rendered John Stones look at you directly through the TV with sad eyes. It broke my heart.

So that Fifa 16 is why I’m taking a break – why I need some space, why I gotta get out of this place. It’s not me, it’s you, and you’ve become a dick.

Best, your former friend, Sam.

TV Review: Jessica Jones

There are three types of people who will read this.

The first are friends, colleagues and acquaintances who’ll see it on my twitter (@mrfreeman1984) or facebook page and will be bored, or need something to take their minds off life, something mind numbing and tedious, maybe with poor grammar, spelling and linguisterics* to read – who’ll stumble through to paragraph two  and then move on. They’ll be indifferent about this.

The second are people with Netflix who’ve seen the advert and haven’t quite decided whether to watch this or not – will it be another Daredevil or Arrow… Hit or miss?** You should read on.

Finally there’s the Marvel geeks, those who can reel off hours of “what really happened”, who’ll bore you to tears with fan theory and how the series hasn’t remained true to the original vision. Guess what, no-one but other Marvel geeks care. Also I don’t care whether something is associated with Marvel or superheroes or whatever. I care if it’s good. Marvel geeks flee now. I’m on episode two and here’s my thoughts.

Jessica Jones is good, possibly very good.

Jessica is a private investigator with a secret, she’s an ex-superhero, who’s great at jumping and has super strength and, possibly (and also possibly not) laser eyes. But that’s not what makes her character interesting. What gives her depth beyond most other superheroes is that she’s not a natural superhero, she has experienced the most horrendous trauma and come out shattered, battle scarred and alone. Think Tony Stark post-first Avengers movie. The difference is that this is smarter, better performed and with an astonishingly good lead performance by Krysten Ritter.

Her performance has vulnerability, a darkness that shows a tortured soul and, importantly, incredibly conflicted. Yet despite this the character has real strength, shows a modern set of values that often don’t resonate on TV, and, refreshingly, strength of character and brains are prioritised over looks and physical prowess or violence.  It’s all played to near perfection. This is an actress with range.

The script is witty and terrifying at the right moments and the pacing feels measured unlike some of its all-action contemporaries. We don’t meet our super villain in episode one, an inspired move to unsettle and set a tone through other’s interactions and feelings towards him as to who he is is. What some series seem to fail to realise is that what connects the audience to characters is the human not the superhuman elements – it’s what connects us to them, makes them relatable. While the superpowers hold that initial interest, to get a series beyond the mental age of a 5 year old boy (and get longevity or my attention past episode one), we need to discover their inner turmoil and that is where Jessica Jones succeeds – don’t miss it.

*deliberate
**but which is which?

Review: True Detective

Everyone has one, a present DVD they’ve been given, Christmas or perhaps a birthday, accompanied by the words “I saw this and I think you’ll love it”. You’ll look at it and think, “maybe, at some point”, when the diary is clear, when Netflix has been completed, when I’ve reached my goals, I’m somewhere and someone and, possibly, when hell freezes over. Then you watch it, cynicism ready to pounce, to leap, rip their misguided opinions to shreds and come out, as you always expected, a maverick, a lone wolf, with eclectic tastes, unique tastes, minority tastes.

The problem is, however, that some, if not most of the time, people can be incredibly right and you can find yourself drawn into something, absorbed to a point where you think about it to the detriment of everything else. That is the position I found myself in after watching True Detective.

The first two, maybe three episodes are slow, and at an hour each it can be a sufficient barrier to prevent some from getting any further. But bare with it. Please. The format, part confession, part storytelling, is intense, tension laden, there is drama bubbling under the surface but, it never quite arrives, it’s a huge amount of foreplay, an epic, sore-inducing amount. HBO series have been incredible for a while, but whereas previous offerings had more traditional structures, building in each episodes to climaxes, True Detective, painstakingly builds characters, four characters in reality, two cops in the past and in their present. The contrast between these different lives and the snaking paths that took them their providing the perfect amount of dramatic tension and atmosphere to sustain interest. It pays off, as we reach episode three onwards, that ground work takes effect, locks you in, and starts driving the narrative towards the ending which is epic in vision, writing, sentiment and pathos.

Woody Harrelson plays Louisiana homicide detective Marty Hart alongside police partner Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle. Harrelson’s performance is superb, underplayed nuance, subtly and moments where you find yourself holding your breath in anticipation. His character is bold, strong, forthright and traditional. I think it’s a sign of a true great when you watch something and you a) can’t imagine anyone else playing the role and b) can’t imagine the actor themselves playing anything else, such is the strength of performance. McConaughey however, is beyond superlatives. As Rust he creates a fire within the core of the show, a burning, sizzling, arrogance and disconnect which contrasts perfectly with his partner but also at odds with the world  and the role we recognise as that of a hero or lead. The physical transformation is astonishing, the delivery of a beautifully crafted script perfect.

When I think about the great series I’ve really enjoyed I think of The West Wing, House Of Cards, Fargo, Exile, and, I would argue that this is as good. It is, probably the most arresting series I’ve seen. As I sat in bed I could feel my heartbeat raise, hands grip, breathing slow, as if conducted by the writer (Nic Pizzolatto) and director (Cary Joji Fukunaga), I felt fear for the characters and anger at their transgressions. As I write this now, coming down from an adrenaline high,  a tension hangover, all I want to say is, I saw this and I think you’ll love it.

Film Review: Birdman

Jean Claude Van Damme doesn’t feature in Birdman, but after watching this superb piece of contemporary film making I found myself pondering the old karate veteran. My knowledge of Van Damme’s films was, I’ll admit, limited. There was Last Action HeroTimeCop and, the most influential film for me (thanks mostly to Kylie’s appearance) as a pubescent boy Street Fighter. For years I had a singular image of him, the range he could portray, the types of films he would be in (mostly bad) and the number of people on average he’d kick the ass of in each outing (approx 150, for reference only Segal and Norris kick more ass on a per outing basis). Then I chanced upon a film in 2010 called JCVD, a fictional account of Jean Claude’s life, he played himself as a failing, washed up film star, fed up of the roles he played, returning to Belgium desperate for cash. It completely changed my perceptions of him as an actor – he can act – there’s a scene where he transcends the film in, what I can only describe as one of the most pretentiously wonderful bits of film I’ve seen, and delivers a monologue that makes you think, “shit, he’s actually good”. Continue reading

Review: DV8: John

My sister bought me tickets to see DV8 at the Playhouse as a thank you present. I have to confess I’m not usually a fan of physical theatre, but they’ve an international reputation for creating amazing work so I pushed my prejudices aside and sat in the stalls for 75 minutes of, well, I didn’t really know, I failed to read the blurb before getting to the theatre… 75 minutes of something.

I think sometimes that can be the best way of experiencing theatre. I remember the first time I saw Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris. My sister (again) had bought us tickets and I didn’t know what to expect – I walked in with as clean a slate as possible and was pleasantly surprised. It’s something theatre’s (Lyric) have tried, to ask the audience to trust and see if they’re surprised. I have to confess I find it appealing. Although I am relatively broad minded there are shows I tend to avoid because of either content or form. Contemporary dance for example makes me break out in a cold sweat, although on the one occasion I accidentally watched it I quite enjoyed the show – but then other times… But back to DV8…

The show is almost exceptional, or perhaps excellent with a caveat.

The play revolves around a central character, John, and charts his journey from a violent abusive upbringing to prison via crime and homelessness. It is an incredible, moving and touching story, with beautiful verbatim dialogue and spoken with eloquence, fragility and real tenderness. The set design beautifully compliments the story, the revolve used less as a way of technically showing off and more as an integral part of the storytelling. It is a simple, almost beautiful stage construction that morphs and moves hypnotically. Similarly the lighting and sound are tremendous, they are stylized but not over designed and add a gritty realism to the show with a pulsating energy.

The story took an interesting diversion, showing people coming to terms and discovering their sexuality in a gay sauna revealing a world not often spoken about in the media, screen or stage. The business sense of the sauna is defined and the challenges, but also that sense of community, of belonging in a place of intimate anonymity.

However the show didn’t quite work for me. There seemed to be an incredulity between the world of John and the world of the sauna – he just seemed to be there, to arrive – I didn’t get a sense of journey, or if it was there I missed it. A man discovering his sexuality needs to feel like a discovery surely? A conflicted realization? The storytellers voice of John also disappeared for a large section which was disappointing, for me it was his story, his journey, and although context is very important I wanted John to be telling me about what was happening, stepping through his reality as he had in the first half rather than less central characters. The physical theatre felt at points unnecessary and almost tacked on – everything should serve a purpose and there were moments when it was added when perhaps stillness would have been more powerful – those moments felt miscalculated and lost and occasionally jarred with the incredible tableau’s that showed moments of a troubled life passing. There were moments of stereotypical physical theatre – by which i mean the twisting and rhythmic movement that has been seen and done before – although interesting it didn’t build, add or develop.

Yet despite this I enjoyed the show. It did what good theatre does, opens your eyes, offers new perspective and touches you. Good theatre but not the greatest theatre and a story, John’s story, that I’d love to learn more of.

8/10 from me…

 

Life’s a pitch for a good manager, in the testosterone filled world of football, there is the hard work but also the banter, the great times of winning a trophy or two, of the desperate times in which a club can come so close to extinction that it threatens a whole community, it can destabilise it to the point where it may never recover. A club’s fortunes doesn’t just depend on what happens on the pitch, with the supporters or indeed with the person who bank rolls it all, it depends on the everyday making headway and for supposed social stigma’s to be recognised as just life. There is no wrong in being different; if you can do the job then you are good enough, no matter who you are. Continue reading

Football; international bajillion-dollar industry to be sure, but one not exactly known for its tolerance of diversity (insert undergraduate thesis here). This is explored in the touching drama Gaffer, which runs all this week at the Unity Theatre.

Produced by the Unity with Lives Of Others Theatre in association with Homotopia and Everton in the Community, it is directed by the theatre’s own marketing manager Sam Freeman, who is starting to chalk up a successful stage career moonlighting as a comedian (he was among the cast of this year’s Improvathon), writer and director (his play Floating, about the NHS, toured nationally). Continue reading

The beautiful game, it seems, has an ugly side – and not just one that leaves teeth marks.

Writer Chris Chibnall, the former Formby schoolboy behind everything from Broadchurch to Born and Bred, penned his bitter-sweet footballing drama Gaffer more than a decade ago.

And yet, dispiritingly, little appears to have changed, when it comes to football’s attitudes to sex and sexuality at least. Continue reading

Gaffer is an impressive act of performance with all twenty parts being played by just one actor. He carries a play that recreates the triumphs and disasters of life on the pitch and a narrative that moves the central character from early middle age back to being 15 years old. The weight of all of these physical and emotional demands falls on Stephen Hedger whose performance is impeccable.

Continue reading

Sam Freeman is an extremely polished act. He read from a book while deconstructing and commentating on the fact he was reading from a book. It was an effective device that gave him the flexibility to banter with the audience and engage in audience interaction. He also added elements of paedo and incest material to keep people on their toes. Sam was one of the strongest acts on a very eclectic bill.

Continue reading

Review: Meat & Liquor

burgerplaceIn my life I have given probably close to twenty people severe food poisoning. I have to confess I am a terrible cook. It’s embarrassing in so many ways – I feel ashamed every time I look in the fridge at ingredients – it should be simple to turn what’s in there into a tasty delicious meal but instead I pick up the milk and grab a bowl of Shreddies.  The upside of this general incompetence however is that I eat out lots – it’s safer for everyone involved, means I occasionally eat something other than Shreddies (and even the makers of Shreddies would suggest a 100% Shreddie diet is not ideal) and reduces the washing up quite considerably.

Continue reading

Credit must also go to the strong line-up of support acts, particularly Sam Freeman whose bizarre observations, inspired by the venue’s haphazard lighting, were hilarious. His rants about how sex education classes did not prepare him for the world of dating also raised plenty of smiles.

Continue reading

‘Tree’ by Daniel Kitson

1632404855I always find it very interesting in how artists, be them comedians, playwrights, actors or musicians progress over time. I think about the changes that maturity brings – Ben Folds moved from aggressive geek piano rock to a mature writer of occasionally sentimental ballads, while the Red Hot Chili Peppers went from cock rock funk motherfuckers to, well, a bit shit. Continue reading

Edinburgh 2013

A quick note about some of the shows I’ve seen this festival with a short review – please do not regard these as definitive, every show is worth seeing and this is almost entirely subjective. Continue reading

Kitson and Kirk

This week has been pretty good so far. I say pretty good, I mean on the one hand I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve had some great experiences and seen some great work, but at the same time and perhaps paradoxically as a direct result of those very same great experiences I have felt an overwhelming sense of underachievement and laziness. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been doing and seeing… Continue reading

Film Review: Lincoln

Sometimes films inspire you, compel  you to write about them. You exit the cinema, heart filled with joy, soul crying out for fulfillment and you know, you know from the deepest darkest place inside you, that you must tell as many people as possible about what you have just seen. Run to the top of the tallest steeple and proclaim, this is magnificent, it is the epitome of genius and of all we can hope to achieve in creativity. Lincoln, however, is not one of those films. Continue reading

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