if you grew up in the nineties

Summer holidays bring on the nostalgia. Endless days of light and warmth, gangs of friends, sunburnt mornings at the beach, afternoon rides through shady streets, nights spent lying in fresh grass, counting the stars. These were the months of freedom and youth and invincibility, long before we understood how precious and rare and fleeting these privileges would be.

Along with the many books I devoured while swinging in hammocks, bookmarked with sand and dripped on by ice cream and mango, movies held a particular magic for me in those days. Narrative was still untainted by the poser’s need to be subversive. Adventures were pure and real and simple. Before the ubiquity of computer animation, never-ending franchises and much-hyped adaptations, movies were singular, fleeting and sublime. These are the stories that shaped my wonder, and still hold magic for me, even now.

Continue reading

Advertisements

when all the good shows are really books

My reading pile is lately skewing toward the violent-moss-growing niche of tv-adptations. This may be cause for alarm but I don’t seem to care.

Here’s the top five I intend to read, or re-read, before watching their small-screen counterparts. This is by no means a comprehensive list and you may notice a certain bias emerging. Lucky for you I have great taste.

Continue reading

fathers: the good, the bad, & the ugly

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a list of fictional dads that doesn’t lead with Atticus Finch, so here he gets a category all of his own. This guy had it all. A lawyer raising two kids, teaching them to be real humans (the audacious character of Scout alone is testament to his fathering abilities) and defending the indefensible from the vilest aspects of human nature, all the while dispensing ageless advice to his children on the front porch of their Alabama home.

Continue reading

ten monsters of literature

In 1816 a cohort of England’s finest writers, who also happened to be great buddies, spent a summer holidaying in the countryside near Geneva in Switzerland. Little did they know that the leisurely cross-pollination of their immense creativity would bring forth some of the darkest and most extreme concepts of humanity the world had seen, spawning works that would go on to change the literary landscape forever.

Continue reading

twenty-sixteen

New releases from four Booker-prize winners; posthumous works from Christopher Hitchens and Terry Pratchet; a tribute from William Shatner; and several commemorative reimaginings for Shakespeare’s 400th death-day. It’s shaping up to be a veritable feast of a year.

Continue reading

a vintage christmas to save you from netflix specials

Not all Christmas movies are created equal. Finding a good festive film requires an increasingly long trek through the morass of animated holiday specials, random variety shows, Hallmark made-for-TV goo and just plain bad efforts from studios who should know better.

So if you’ve exhausted all the usual go-to’s, look no further. Here are ten classics that are guaranteed to warm the cockles of your Christmas heart.

Continue reading

the rejectee’s guide to recovery

Despite the tact with which a rejecter will attempt to frame their delicate response, we all know it comes down to one simple fact: they don’t like your work. Maybe you’re not what they’re looking for right now, or the timing is wrong, or you’re simply not up to scratch, but the underlying point is that if they loved it, they’d take it, and they haven’t, so they don’t.

Rejection sucks because no matter what anyone says, it is personal.

Continue reading

passionate prosings

To avoid dwelling on the release of a certain movie adaptation this month let’s turn our attention instead to some of the truly great novels of passion to have been penned. Whether it’s passion for vengeance, ideology, a relationship, or a quest to reclaim what was lost, these novels will stir your sanguine emotions in as many ways as Valentine’s Day.

Continue reading

in celebration of spring

As a musician I’ve spent almost every Spring of my professional life preparing for some kind of Christmas event, which means the writing, arranging, composing, auditioning, rehearsing, directing, and performing circus has dominated my life with refrains and tinsel from about September onward. All this is fine except that Spring is one of my favourite times of year and I only glimpse it from the windscreen of my car as I drive from venue to venue.

Continue reading