Tag Archives: review

Read-along-Review: Howl by Allen Ginsburg

Part I

Punctuation is a thing for a reason Allen.

“illuminating all the motionless world of Time between”

“who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks fell on their heads every day for the next decade,”

“who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse & the tanked-up clatter of the iron regiments of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of sinister intelligent editors, or were run down by the drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality,”

This is poetry of the senses, plural specific. Your intellect is appealed to, as is your emotion, but as too are your senses, your very body – not just with the sights and sounds and feelings described but the way that they are written, the alliteration and deliberate word choice, the run on of sentences so perfectly sculpted around voice and tone and emotion, and breath. That’s the important bit, it forces your whole body to join in with the poem, not just your heart and mind.

“who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space through images juxtaposed, and trapped the archangel of the soul between 2 visual images and joined the elemental verbs and set the noun and dash of consciousness together jumping with sensation of Pater Omnipotens Aeterna Deus”

I love the obsession with time, as I would anywhere else, is play with it though, particularly eccentric and graphic, is inspiring. Also, the personification of various concepts done expertly.

II

Metropolis is apparently created by Ginsberg as an inspiration for this section, inc. Meloch, a fantastic film and well worth a watch, even with breaks – it feels like eternity as it’s a silent b&w film.

Definitely nowhere near as good as Part I

III

 “where the faculties of the skull no longer admit the worms of the senses”

Footnote to Howl

Yeah, nope, none of the rest of this is as astoundingly brilliant as Part I

 

Ft. image a quick sketch I did inspired by this piece, I will return to it another day

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Review: Memento (2000, minimal spoilers) 6/10

Definitely a 90s film..

Really interesting concept, exploring the life of a man with short term memory loss who is questing after the man who raped and killed his wife. The form of the film is specifically designed to give you a similar feeling of anonymity and disorientation to Lenny, the protagonist. You are investigating and connecting facts just as he is, but they’re not the same facts. You realise that you are investigating Lenny, not the murder of his wife, just as one of the characters suggests that he should.

There are some wicked concepts and phrases brought up, but the plot overall is about a 5 or 6/10. It’s consistent, it’s clever, brings up questions about people’s willingness to remember, to manipulate, to purposely accept ignorance.

It’s well shot, well timed, but there’s no punch, no real climatic conclusion or plot twist or anything, partly because there is no climatic confrontation, and what can be counted as one actually happens at the beginning. Instead, it’s more of a thought experiment, one that will definitely get those cogs whirring.

“We all need mirrors to remind us who we are”

Identity in a world of missing information is challenged, but so also is the way we choose to present ourselves, how we feel it is right to present ourselves to others. Not just in terms of manipulating others but also how to appear normal through your (re)actions alone.

“The world doesn’t just disappear when you close your eyes”

Or does it? Reality is questioned, facts wrestle with interpretation and motive. The actions of the world continue around you but if they are not directly affecting you at that present moment, do they matter?

“How am I supposed to heal if I can’t feel time?”

This is a concept I’m hoping to move onto with my own research quite soon, particularly how trauma causes subsequent events to be rearranged around the traumatic event instead of linearly (or in relation to the present moment). It almost seems as though the majority of your self, or at least the time-related part of it, is stuck at the trauma. Memento explores this by having Lenny trapped in the quest for vengeance, unable to forget his wife as she, and their trauma, is his freshest memory. Tulving’s Chronesthesia is an interesting psychological article that relates to this.

Quick Review: American Gods Ep1 [No Spoilers]

Yeah I totally have a dissertation and a script for a conference to write but hey, you know what, I watched American Gods instead. Think I did pretty well to get to Thursday night tbh.

Ok so first twenty minutes you’re bathing in the beauty of their character introductions. Succinct, not intrusive, but still information enough to set the scene and even have character development in just the first episode *mwah* Perfect. BUT you’re sitting their and the music is all twinkly, cymbals, violins aka just-so-Hannibal. It’s very disappointing when it makes you believe that Bryan Fuller has turned into a whiny child and seized American Gods just to create whatever beautifulness was to follow when Hannibal got cancelled. And all that with jarring CGI blood, cheesy CGI inserts (see waves in glasses) and lovely transitions that remind you of La La Land for some reason.

The disappointment does not last long however. It is merely a foil for the heights of this program and the emotional rollercoaster it can take you on in it’s opening hour. I almost cried, and then I almost cried with laughter, the production team have excelled themselves. The rest of the soundtrack is a treat, an absolute journey through (I believe mainly American) music.

You ain’t seen acting till you see this, absolutely astounding so far, especially Ian McShane (who btw I’ve never seen in anything else) and Pablo Schreiber who does an absolutely beautiful job at capturing all of Mad Sweeney. There’s an extra treat too for readers of the book in Sweeney and Shadow’s chat, if I remember rightly, an almost exact lift of dialogue from the book.

Basically, I can’t wait for more, bring on next Monday!

 

 

 

[Image from Wikipedia]

Review: ‘The Keep’ by Jennifer Egan

Picked this one up from the library while searching for their apparently invisible Phillip K Dick section(¡so frustrating!). Last term I studied ‘Look at Me’ by Egan and very much enjoyed it; it was a mix of sub-plots that didn’t even really culminate into something but that did seem to be the point. The exploration of new ways of thinking and connecting with people through the internet, as well as the power of the old, was not only enjoyable but intellectually-engaging.

‘The Keep’ is, somewhat unfortunately, much of the same. Different character’s stories (literally) overlap, and this time the culmination seems obvious and yet is played out in the same way- the main female character is the last voice, bringing all of the stories to a conclusion in a way that allows her to seemingly escape from the strangleholds of contemporary society.

The tone, as well, is very similar, and yes, they’re written by th esame author so you would expect some overlap, but for me it had an almost distorting effect on the castle setting as it was a very American ‘European Castle’ setting. Which yeah, the reason that is like that becomes apparent but still, I couldn’t get over how similar the despondency of the tine was to ‘Look at Me’.

And it wasn’t just that that was similar; I recognised the characters! Or at least some of them. Z was there, inhabiting Danny. Charlotte in Holly, Moose in Howie. Again, this was a shame because the plot itself was almost different, almost. Themes were the same; dis/connection, identity in recognising and being recognised (alto), insincerity, and the old wielding it’s power over the new.

With all that said, it did make me cry. At a similar point that I think ‘Look at Me’ made me cry. The motif of the mother not being able to cope, collapsing in bed and not being able to move; it does make me wonder if Egan has experience along these lines. This time, the daughters’ one comment, ‘I just want you to get better’, well, it hit home, too hard, and I struggled to get through the rest of the book before allowing that emotion to overtake me. It’s not something I often do, it’s weak, it may break me- my resolve, and I have to be strong which often leads to me just not feeling.

So, I just wanted to say thank you, to Jennifer Egan, thank you for writing something that while I see all of it’s similarities to another of your books, actually achieves the aims outlined in the plot; it made me feel again, if only for a night, and for that I am truly grateful.