Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Strict Joy

This title sounds like something C.S. Lewis would have written but is actually the name of The Swell Season's new album coming out on the 27th October and I can not wait!

NPR had Glen and Mar in to their Tiny Desk Concert recently and if you copy and paste this link into a new window, you'll get to hear the magic of this duo for yourself.

And it really is worth every 33 minutes of it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Waltz with Bashir

Is the film I watched last night with a former housemate and current ones. It was feature length and panned out like many films do except unlike the others, this one was animated. This was no Disney, Pixar or Anime but something different. Something director Ari Folman and a group of trusted friends and artists thought up.

From the moment the film started with a pack of hounds racing like shadows in a nightmare until it ended with the actual footage of the aftermath of the Sabra and Shatila Massacres in Lebanon, you knew you were watching something that would be marked in memories and conversations for a while to come.

Something in it's sombre tone reminded me of Spielberg's Munich until we got to the part of animated porn. That was just strange to say the least.

As with most things it was the storytelling that captured me. The economic, restrained but poetically placed images and memories that stuck and recurred most with me afterward.

The question of the Middle East doubtlessly brings up thoughts of the Gaza strip, Israeli rockets and missiles, Palestinian suicide bombers and now with this contribution; the incomprehensible loss on every side of a bloody and ceaseless war.

The film has pictures of death that may or may not haunt. It depends how deeply you allow them into your own soul.

And what the film also did with impressive subtlety was muse on Israel's indirect and passive aggression at the genocide of hundreds of Palestinian and Lebanese lives in refugee camps that were taken by Christian Phalangists over a couple of nights in September 1982. A genocide that was enabled by the very lights of the flares those young and sometimes unwitting Israeli soldiers fired into the air.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Why do people not like checking their blind spots before shifting tally-ho into your lane? Mirrors aren't enough and wearing sunglasses when the sun isn't that bright will not help either.

Furthermore why do the office powers that might be feel it is imperative to freeze their staff in glacier conditions by blasting the air conditioners to abnormal levels? Managers should know this is not conducive to high levels of production (because your workers are spending most of their day trying to avoid hypothermia!).

Finally why does Western Culture (predominantly) insist their societies should work 5 out of 7 days a week. Why not 4 out of 7? Maybe there is the fear that we simply wouldn't get as much done. But what if an extra day away from the keyboard and monitor added to people's general well being and so equated to higher productivity when they are in the office?

Therein lies the conclusion of my rant. Holiday definitely needed. Thankfully one is coming in the form of Thailand next weekend.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Pigeon and a boy

Is what I'm currently reading. It's rich and heady, invoking Israel's Middle Eastern heritage. An unusual find, as I was busy looking for, 'The Reader' by Bernhard Schlick. But is in a similar vein of Khalid Hosseini's 'The Kite Runner'.

Page 40 (I'm not copying you Abi, I honestly am only up to page 40) and I think he's starting to get under my skin in a good way.