Monday, 26 July 2010
Sunday, 18 July 2010
Sunday, 27 June 2010
Monday, 24 May 2010
Monday, 22 March 2010
“A traveller is interested and curious and wants to immerse himself in a place; a tourist never really gets anywhere. Beautiful places are now increasingly evasive in the modern world, which makes it difficult to get anywhere for anyone. But every now and then you turn a corner or drive into a horizon, and you realise you are travelling, that something is coming towards you and presenting itself. A place opens up to you and you see it, it tells a story and you live in its presence. And this is a glorious feeling, when it happens.” (Wenders)
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Over the weekend I found myself on an island off the coast of Thailand, attending a workshop on how to build using bags of local natural materials instead of concrete.
In the meantime, if you want to find out more about Earthbag Building, you can read all about its development in this excellent blog, written by its inventors and regularly updated.
Monday, 1 March 2010
The legend of Hugh Hefner has always fascinated me. My mental projection of the 83-year-old King of the Playboy Mansion, draped in his bunnies and boobies, may well be nothing more than a comic caricature. Who really cares? Hefner is, as we all know, a pop culture icon. But essentially he's a very simple symbol of energy, charisma and pure joie de vivre. Somewhere in the midst of the circus, he's also a symbol of honesty.
“I’ve felt from the very beginning that women were the major beneficiaries of the sexual revolution, because it was the women who were kept in bondage, viewed as little more than cattle, or something owned by the husband or father. I attempted to change all that, but I changed it from a male point of view. When the feminist movement turned against Playboy, I felt it to be very counter-revolutionary.”
Of course, Hugh Hefner would say something like that. But his argument is a good one. And as a young modern feminist, I have never found Playboy’s content offensive, even if it's not my taste. I’m more interested by how the magazine’s reputation was founded on the showcase of literary genius such as Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer and Jack Kerouac, as much as the showcase of naked ladies. Or its famous interviews with Martin Luther King, Nixon, Lennon, Miles Davis and Roman Polanski.
Elsewhere Hef points out that “Being a sex object, if understood properly, is a compliment”. This, I think, is really what I’m trying to get at. The feminist backlash of 60s and 70s was probably inevitable, then. But today’s highly-strung, paranoid haters are too quick to project their jealousy, insecurity and resentment on to the nearest scapegoat. Obviously the debate is more complicated than that, and I wouldn't want to be a traitor to my generation. But it would be nice if everyone could just learn to relax and have some fun.
The starting concept for Playboy was simply that beauty is everywhere. It’s a celebration of sensuality, of the body, of life and art. Hefner himself is a pioneer, an entrepreneur, a shameless hedonist and a life artist. He’s stopped at nothing to reinvent himself, to become the person he wanted to be. It's not my thing, but he seems to have done it with integrity... and I think that’s pretty cool.
The Life and Times of Hugh M. Hefner is published by Taschen, out now.
Sunday, 21 February 2010
Thursday, 18 February 2010
Everything I know about film, I’ve learned from interviewing brilliant filmmakers: all of whom have graciously let me bore them with my questions while maintaining the illusion of freestyle conversation. And for that I'm truly grateful. As it turns out, filmmakers learn from each other too. In this month’s Dazed & Confused OUT TODAY! I get a unique opportunity to step aside and disappear, playing puppet-master to two very visionary (and very hot) directors, Cary Fukunaga and Alfonso Cuaron, as they talk music, Kubrick, manipulation and conceptual dogma.
* Test Spread: Double Click for Full Size *
* FULL INTERVIEW TO BE UPLOADED HERE SOON! *
Also in this month’s Dazed: Cut & Wrapped leads with my piece on 28-year-old French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Love. Her second feature Father of My Children caused a storm at London Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes last year. I found the film quite hard work at first. But Mia – who was 5 months pregnant when we met – turned out to be really cool. She taught me loads just by being herself: radiant, earnest and full of passion, she had a sort of luminous aura that really took me by surprise.
Friday, 5 February 2010
Walter Salles, one of my favourite (Brazilian) directors, once described Wenders’ Alice in the Cities as having “altered my perception of cinema”. After seeing Alice a couple of weeks ago I felt exactly the same: it's now right up there in my top films of all time. At the skeleton of the story, a journalist with writer's block goes on a roadtrip across 70s America, and ends up parenting a little girl who's mother abandons her at an airport.
As for the rest, you'll have to see for yourself. This three-scene medley (not in the order of the film) went some way into snapping me out of whatever compelled me to delete my entire blog last year – specifically the line “you treat your stories and experiences as if they were raw eggs” (6.50).
At the same time, the second scene from 2.40 expresses to some extent where my head was at with the internet in the first place. "The inhuman thing about American TV is not so much that they hack everything up with commercials, though that’s bad enough, but it’s that in the end all programmes become commercials. Commercials for the status quo. Every image radiates the same disgusting, sickening message; a kind of boastful contempt. No one image leaves you in peace: they all want something from you."
They all want something from you. Maybe it sounds simple, but it was true then just as is it is now. Only now, there's no escape...
Krauts to watch: Volker Schlöndorff, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge, Edgar Reitz, Margarethe von Trotta. And probably many more I've never heard of either.