There are some people in the world of cinema whose name becomes synonymous with what they do. You can spot them quite easily. They normally get the word ‘esque’ stuck on the end of their name to tell you another director has tried to respectably rip them off. It’s a sign that their talent has sewn them into the fabric of the cultural landscape. Steven Spielberg is very much one of those people. Although, unlike so many other directors who share that honour with him, he’s transcend the need to be seen as connected to only one genre or style of film. When it comes to Tarantino, Hitchcock, Fellini, Lean or Kubrick, you know roughly where the movie is going to take you. Whereas Spielberg feels more of an iconoclast than the rest of them. Or, at the very least, he appears to have a few extra clubs in his bag.Read More
I’ve always loved the cinema. It started with the first movie I ever went to see. My dad took me to the grand old, art deco Odeon that used to sit in central Leicester to watch the newly re-issued Jungle Book. It blew me away. The deep reaching perspective of Kipling’s jungle in the credits. The moody atmosphere that seemed to lurk in the opening few scenes and the sheer, wild delight that took its place until a certain tiger cornered a boy amongst dying trees, the flames spread and I was made to believe a heroic slob of a bear had died.Read More
As I got older, my comedy compass shifted. Sometimes through the influence of friends, sometimes through late night TV surfing. I got into the uncomfortable pleasure of watching Alan Partridge fail and fail again. I saw Chris Morris skewer the world around him whilst he kept a sharp, straight face. Seinfeld and Sanders showed me how America was warping the formula its past masters had perfected. Whilst here Father Ted, Darkplace and Spaced were all merrily making up their own rules, breaking ground for an incoming flood of new comedy.Read More
Things are getting hectic, they always do at this time of year. It’s like being trapped on a merry go round that refuses to slow down. Every time we ask someone to apply the brakes, it only accelerates. Sure, there are festive lights and catchy tunes circling around us, but this close to the event horizon of Christmas Day it all starts to get out of hand. The music deafens us. The motion makes us feel ill. The horses under us start to leer and grin as it all lurches past our control.
There are cards to write, presents to deliver. There’s food to hunt and gather, sometimes against shoppers who are racing against the exact same clock as us to the exact same shelf for the exact same final box of stuffing. The season of goodwill can get pretty nasty down a supermarket aisle.
It won’t be a long one this week. It can’t be. It’s been a long week. It’s been a tough week. Last Saturday, after spending a thoroughly brilliant day at a wedding, Sam and I got back to our hotel and logged online to find out one of our closest friends had died.Read More
I don’t know about you, but I think there are two kinds of people in the world when it comes to music. Never mind which genre you chose to set up your base camp. Never mind what you’re currently listening to or what you truly detest. The way I see it, you either grew up listening to the same music as your parents or you immediately turned your nose up at it. In some cases, you might keep the same taste as your parents. In other cases, you might rebel against it as soon as your friends snigger at the music they find lying around in your bedroom.Read More
I’ve never been a career chaser. I’ve worked in post rooms, telesales, technical departments, shops and kitchens, but none of those jobs have ever been about earning a pension. Nope, I’ve always been there to pay some bills and make my bank account look a little healthier. The carrot the world tied to the end of the stick it chose for me was never a gold watch. Which is why, every so often, I find myself in a room full of people having a meeting where the best I can hope to do is look interested. During those meetings, I always catch myself looking around the rest of my fellow captives, trying to spot anyone else doing the same as me. Sadly, it seems we’re a dying breed.Read More
Expectation is a tricky thing. We generate it ourselves, but we don’t have a lot of control over it. We merely light the fuse. Our subconscious does the rest. It fans the flames and spreads the fire. It makes us crave what lies ahead. Before we know it, we’ve taken something we’re interested in and turned it into something so much bigger. Something that feels bizarrely pivotal to our happiness. Sadly, this process doesn’t always work out well for us or the thing we’re waiting for.Read More