(Hi Lorna, don't be shy.)
Bloggers: people who would have liked to been journalists for the Guardian but simply weren't good enough. Lorna, or was it Lizzy, at the Lamb and Flag last night.
Over the past few years I've seen some rubbish movies and read some rubbish books. However through good luck and good management and good recommendations I've seen some great films recently and read some fantastic books. Last night in true Oxford fashion a bunch of folk from hOME, Staldates, Stclements and elsewhere gathered at the L&F to talk about such things. Well, we got together to chew the fat and drink (Jim's declaration towards the end of the evening of 'I'm slowly getting slaughtered here' amused me greatly), and because we are Oxford types we talked books and film.
Jim and I had begun the evening with Esme, Ron and Janine at the Phoenix to see Little Miss Sunshine. It's not a life changing film, but it is side splittingly funny. (The last film that had me slapping my thighs was Garden State). There's farce and there's ridiculousness. There's also a Jesus Figure in the shape of a heroin smoking grandfather who's advice to his grandson is to 'Fuck lots of women. Not just one woman. Lots of women'. The only downside to the evening was the unbearable heat in the cinema, which contrasted with the sign outside that proudly offered an air-conditioned bar. Clearly the air-con didn't stretch as far as the cinema itself. Although as Tim Flannery wrote in The Weather Makers, we cooking our planet to keep ourselves cool, so maybe an hour and a half of sweating through a very funny movie is not that worth moaning about. From there it was on to the Lamb and Flag for book and film group. Which brings me back to the collection of movies and books I've seen and read this year. At the risk of ranting about each one in a poorly written review, I'm just going to list them...
Erlend Loe's Naive. Super
William Sloane Coffin's Letters to a young doubter
Steven Levett's Freakonomics
Nick Hornby's A long way down
Jim Wallis's God's Politics
Jon McGregor's If nobody will speak of remarkable things
Audrey Niffenegger's The time traveller's wife
Philip Caputo's Acts of Faith
Joseph Heller's Catch 22
Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner
Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers
Rageh Omaar's The half of me
and I have on my shelf...
Jon McGregor's So many ways to begin
Andrew Smith's Moon Dust
Marilynne Robinson's Gilead
Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel (note to self, just read this bloody book and this give it back to Idris)
The Lonely Planet guide to Nepal. Yeah baby, I'm going there next year. Please feel free to point out the incongruity of going to Nepal and mentioning climate change in this rant.
and those films:
V for Vendetta
Little Miss Sunshine
To complete that little consumerism trinity of books, films and music, I've been rather disappointed with the music I've heard this year. Aside from Gnarls Barkely and the stunning Last Town Chorus cover of David Bowie's Modern Love there's not a lot that had floated my boat.
Here ends the failed journalistic rant.