Posted 1 month ago

Friday night at the Troxy

This is what I’m doing on Friday. It’s a crazy expensive ticket for a rep movie, but the price is right when it’s for the right cause: it’s hard to quantify just how much this film means to me. It was my first encounter with Shakespeare, Thoreau, Tennyson. My brother and I watched it a hundred times, my parents worried that Neil’s suicide would make an impression on our far too young minds. It certainly did. But not as much as that central dictum: “carpe diem. seize the day. Make your life extraordinary.” It should be no surprise to anybody who knows me well that I have suffered, and I have had therapy, and I was saved (temporarily, because it’s a constant battle against that big black dog) from my own depression by the realisation that I misunderstood that idea. An extraordinary life doesn’t mean success, wealth and fame, it doesn’t mean triumph, boasting, power, measuring yourself against others. An extraordinary life is one spent believing that every day has something to offer, no matter how small or large. Fighting every day to keep going, be kind, stay open. Choosing to adjust navigation techniques depending on the ebb and flow. It’s hard work, an extraordinary life. I will be able to quote along tomorrow, through some inevitable tears. So don’t judge me if I give my hard-earned cash to Secret Cinema hipsters*, or I fall for the easy emotion of a celebrity death. I’m nothing but an idealist trying to grow up. 

Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

* All profits from the screening are going to charity. There will be other screenings in different venues, to be announced on the Secret Cinema social channels.

If you are in the UK and cannot attend the event (sold out in 4 minutes!), please consider giving a donation to Mind, the amazing mental health charity that helped me to ask for help and put me in touch with my therapist. Thank you.

Posted 1 month ago


"She’s a real Joe. You’ll fall in love with her like everybody else."
- Humphrey Bogart

Posted 1 month ago

Birthday thoughts

I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall asleep again. I read about Robin Williams and I’m saddened and shocked in ways that surprise me. If you had asked me eight hours ago to list my favourite actors, or my favourite films, the top ten list wouldn’t have included neither Robin Williams, nor one of his many wonderful (and some terrible) movies (because who doesn’t have at least one terrible movie they are ridiculously fond of? Mine is Strange Days). But I’m looking back now and I can’t help but thinking that I grew up with Robin Williams. He was a nanny for all of us. From Mork to Professor Keating, from Mrs Doubtfire to Genie, he was a constant companion of my childhood and youth - a playful friend, a teacher. For my more grown-up self he was Garp. So many hours spent in his company. And now, at 5:03am as my birthday kicks in, I realise that it’s the things we don’t know we know that make us. What’s under the surface, what’s at the core of us has been moulded and sculpted by experiences and emotions that we are not in control of. That’s beautiful - and scary, if you find that below the surface lies something darker than you expected. (I had this very powerful experience on Saturday at the latest Marina Abramovic performance: a sense that once you are alone with yourself, something is exposed that can be extremely revelatory. I was surprised to find a sense of peace and resolution in myself at that time - I started off from turmoil, worry, mental and physical hyperactivity, accompanied by some of the demons that have been pestering me in the last five or so years - self-doubt and fear of the future. A pleasant inner glow has been accompanying me since. And my Chinese friend C. informed me that Jupiter moved into Leo a month ago, so it’s currently, apparently, a great cosmic time for those of us born under its star.) So here’s what we learn from the passing of a great man. That “the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.” I have this Frank O’Hara poem stuck in my head, and I’m thinking let’s move on, keep passing the open windows and beware the undertoad, and love each other and take good care of ourselves, and try to enjoy this crazy world such as it is with its ups and downs, despite war, depression and the unbearable melancholy of Sunday nights, and a happy fucking bangarang birthday to me


Oh! kangaroos, sequins, chocolate sodas!
You really are beautiful! Pearls,
harmonicas, jujubes, aspirins! all
the stuff they’ve always talked about

still makes a poem a surprise!
These things are with us every day
even on beachheads and biers. They
do have meaning. They’re strong as rocks.


Posted 5 months ago
Posted 5 months ago


There is a statue of Joffrey in the middle of Auckland, New Zealand??? And if you tweet with #bringdowntheking it will tighten the rope to bring down the statue???!!?!??!?!?

Posted 5 months ago


Jamel Shabazz: Street Photographer

Charlie Ahearn’s Film Retraces a Moment in New York Style - Video 1 / / 3

As a teenage photographer in early 80s East Flatbush, Brooklyn, Jamel Shabazz set out to document the then nascent movement of hip-hop. Through the iconic style of his MCs, neighborhood kids and gang members, the unequivocal attitude of New York’s youth was recognized as the calling card of the city’s creative renaissance. Published in 2001, Shabazz’ first book Back In The Days was celebrated as an exhilarating snapshot of the times, and his visual flair has been brought to life in a new documentary by the legendary hip-hop historian and director, Charlie Ahearn.  “On the cover of Jamel’s book were two young men on 42nd Street. They were captured posing in such strong form as a kind of respectful bulwark against all the chaos that you see around them on ‘The Deuce,’” explains Ahearn, the notable filmmaker also responsible for the classic old-school movie, Wild Style. “I immediately knew that here was an original artist for our time.” [1]

©jamel shabazz.all rights reserved

(Source: vmagazine)

Posted 5 months ago

The Essay Film A Manifesto by Mark Cousins

In the last two years I have made three essay films – What is This Film Called Love?, A Story of Children and Film, and Here be Dragons. In the next year, I will make two more – I am Belfast and Stockholm My Love.

In making these, and watching many more – by Anand Patwardhan and Agnes Varda, for example – and after reading Philip Lopate’s book on the essay, I started to make a mental list of the elements of, and the principles behind, essay films. This list is a kind of manifesto.

A fiction film is a bubble. An essay film bursts it.

An essay film takes an idea for a walk.

Essay films are visual thinking.

Essay films reverse film production: the images come first, the script, last.

Filming an essay is gathering, like a carpenter gathers wood.

A fiction film is a car, an essay film is a bike; it can nip up an alleyway, you can feel the wind in its hair.

A road movie has outer movement, an essay film has inner movement.

An essay film is the opposite of fly on the wall.

An essay film can go anywhere, and should.

Two essay films should be made every year. Why? Because, after F for Fake, Orson Welles said this to Henry Jaglom during lunch at Ma Maison: “I could have made an essay film – two of ‘em a year, you see. On different subjects. Various variations of that form.”

Commentary is to the essay film, what dance is to the musical.

All essay films would be improved by a clip of Dietrich (see Marcel Ophuls).

An essay film cannot create the atmosphere of Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard;
A fiction film cannot explain that atmosphere.

Even Hollywood makes essay films – look at DW Griffith’s Intolerance.

Essay films are what Astruc dreamt of.

Digital had made Astruc’s dream come true.

from: A Story of Children and Film website

Posted 8 months ago
Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it - that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing - an actor, a writer - I am a person who does things - I write, I act - and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.
Stephen Fry  (via ablogwithaview)

(Source: lyblac)

Posted 8 months ago


People drew maps of body locations where they feel basic emotions (top row) and more complex ones (bottom row). Hot colors show regions that people say are stimulated during the emotion. Cool colors indicate deactivated areas. 

Finnish scientists ask people to map where they felt different emotions in the body. The results were surprisingly consistent, even across culture. 

Reminiscent of, and fascinating in comparison to, Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viegas’s Fleshmap

Posted 10 months ago

Italiani all'estero: una lettera aperta a proposito della petizione per il voto online alle primarie del PD

Cari follower e amici italiani,

scusatemi l’uso esplicito del tumblr ma ho bisogno del vostro aiuto. Come alcuni di voi sanno sono coinvolta attivamente nella campagna per Pippo Civati Segretario del PD. Premetto che NON SONO QUI A SCASSARVI LE BALLE SU CIVATI MA SU UN DIRITTO CIVILE DEGLI ITALIANI ALL’ESTERO - UN FATTO DI DEMOCRAZIA PURA E SEMPLICE, CHE NON HA NULLA A CHE VEDERE CON L’OPINIONE POLITICA.

Come tanti Italiani all’estero l’anno scorso ho votato online alle primarie del PD. Quest’anno il PD dice che non ci sono i soldi per fare la votazione online. Se abiti all’estero sono fatti tuoi, e se vuoi esprimere una preferenza politica (come è tuo diritto) devi andare di persona al seggio più vicino. Il seggio più vicino a casa mia è a 10 minuti di bici. Culo. Però se io fossi a Oxford, Leeds, Nottingham, Glasgow, Belfast, il seggio più vicino sarebbe lo stesso a Londra, e cioè a 1 ora di treno da Oxford, oppure 4 da Nottingham,  6 da Leeds, poi 9 da Glasgow, e poi 2 ore di AEREO + treno da Belfast. La logica è che sono tutte città del Regno Unito, e quindi vai a votare nel seggio per il Regno Unito. Ora, come si capisce, tutto ciò è un’assurdità: immaginate abitare a Milano e dover andare a Palermo per votare, tanto è in Italia. Pensate un attimo agli italiani che sapete in India, Australia, USA, Argentina… 

I dettagli ve li spiega questo post di Emanuele Dolce citato sul blog di Civati. A quanto pare non ci sono 50,000€ per permettere a milioni di cittadini di esercitare un diritto. (Notare che la cifra è sparata un po’ così, e che il PD ha una piattaforma online esistente con la quale pre-registrarsi alle primarie. L’infrastruttura c’è già, va solo messa a disposizione, quindi il costo presunto di questa cosa è un mistero. Se il post è vago è perché vaga è stata la spiegazione: una decisione dall’alto con la solita trasparenza all’Italiana che non aiuta NESSUNO. A questo punto, senza fare del complottismo, viene da chiedersi se qualcuno si senta minacciato delle opinioni e dai diritti degli italiani all’estero, chissà.)

Ma c’è di peggio. La mossa di eliminare il voto online per l’estero alle primarie del PD potrebbe essere strumentalizzata da chi ci vuole levare e/o quantomeno modificare il diritto di voto politico dall’estero (sta già succedendo, c’è un incontro a Londra per discuterne lunedì 2 dicembre nel contesto del piano per l’eliminazione dei deputati esteri dal parlamento), dando un chiaro segnale che
a) noi cittadini Italiani all’estero siamo insignificanti per l’Italia

b) dovremmo fregarcene di quello che succede nel nostro paese 

La mia bellissima esperienza ‘politica’ di questa campagna mi sta invece coinvolgendo sempre più, e se non ho ancora rinunciato alla mia cittadinanza italiana dopo anni di prese per il culo un motivo ci sarà. (A proposito di questo, un mio articolo ‘di parte’ per chi fosse interessato.)

Vi prego, firmate questa petizione e fatela circolare via mail e social media. Ne va dei diritti di tutti, indipendentemente dai partiti e dall’indirizzo di residenza.

Grazie mille a tutti.