Date Archives May 2018

Autoportrait (Ferris in the Red Ferrari)

‘The period between the wars did indeed mark the end of the happy days of the fantasists, dreamers, utopians, creatives and the avant garde…They were coming to be regarded as people lacking the proper civic attitudes, egoists indulging in their private games…’*

This quote is from a book about the artist Tamara de Lempicka, who was a Google Doodle earlier this month on what would have been her 120th birthday. It reminded me of Ferris Buellers’ Day Off, which I watched a couple of days ago. Ferris says to camera:

‘Isms, in my opinion, are not good. A person should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself.’

Not even capitalism? Not even Cubism? In a later scene, Ferris’ girlfriend asks his best friend what he’s interested in. ‘Nothing!’ is the reply. ‘Me neither!’ is the cheery endorsement.

Pardon me for looking at the film as a whole and trying to reduce it to a core message, a label, an ism, but aren’t these messages contradictory and depressing? What is believing in yourself if you’re not interested in developing yourself? European socialism may not have been immediately relevant to a teenager in mid-80s Chicago, but perhaps what happened in Europe several decades ago had at least some influence on the wonderful paintings that Ferris and friends go to see at the museum. From the aforementioned book on Lempicka:

‘All these isms, from expressionism and fauvism to Dadaism, surrealism…’

Ferris would have sneered at the mention. An ism encapsulates a substantial period of time in the past, and Ferris doesn’t do the past: it’s all about now (not carpe diem – too European for him). And I would be OK with this if there was at least some acknowledgement in the film that what other people do is important, and that life is more than the pursuit of pleasure. Again, this about Lempicka:

‘…Thus giving her everything which she had always craved, namely a title and a lot of money.’

But I don’t mind Lempicka’s Gatsby fantasy as much as I do Ferris’ because at least she had a talent and was prepared to work at it. Ferris is an egoist indulging in a private game, yet we are meant to root for him. I had been rooting for his mate until his smug shrug ‘nothing’ comment. They are lacking the proper civic attitudes! But it’s a film about escapism! But, yeah, whatever…


*Lempicka, Benedickt Taschen, 1993



Watching people cheer and clap at the Royal Wedding reminded me of my clinical depression: the utter lack of enthusiasm for other people’s enthusiasm.

I had walked into a room to wait for my daughter to finish her dance lesson, expecting to see parents staring at their phones, but instead they were staring at a large screen on the wall. It took me a couple of seconds to realise what was going on and then I shook my head in the direction of my wife in the most exaggerated way possible, with bulging eyes and everything. At one point the pictures went missing and someone loudly moaned, ‘But we won’t see the kiss!’ I wanted to cry, but not for the same reason as everyone else. I started reading about Michael Haneke, as you do, and this quote amused me:

“Consider the pigeon just a pigeon…There are lots of pigeons in Paris.”
—On the meaning of pigeons in his movies

Consider the wedding just a wedding, consider the kiss just a kiss, consider me an absolute misery.

Meanwhile, in Belgium…

There’s a strong continental streak in this week’s top ten, with Flemish bedroom house making a bit of a comeback…

10. Dishwasher Tax – Crunkin’
9. Minty Sod – Papua New Guinea
8. Funky Parliament – It’s All Gone Metric
7. DJ Conundrum – Feel Ja Bütz
6. Peace ‘n’ Riot – Awkward French
5. Plain Biscuits – It Ain’t Stealin’, It’s Borrowing Good Practice
4. Back of The Van – Didn’t Order That
3. Krude Kidz – Snack Crackle Plop
2. Defribillator 49 – Well Developed
1. Sufficiently Rhythmical – Turn Me On Twice

Great Sporting Moments: The Treble & Bass

What is ‘cool’? Apparently playing music to jazz up golf events is not cool – ‘the music gets in the way and it must be remembered Coldplay is not cool golf.’ I think Coldplay is a sound choice for golf, don’t you?

‘The notion that songs piped through a loudspeaker can enhance a golfing experience is hard to fathom.’*

Maybe music should be used to soundtrack all sporting events? There’s still plenty of fuss about the use of VAR in football: it slows the pace of the game and reduces the excitement. Well, the genie is out of the bottle now – if technology is being used to ensure the correct decisions are made, why not use it for a cooler function: sound effects. Actually play music during the match. A Calvin Harris crescendo while a player dashes up the wing. Or the start of Kashmir as a player composes themselves before taking a penalty. Cymbal crashes for bad tackles. Synth arpeggios for tika-taka. Cannons for goal kicks.

I’ve seen contrived flames at a twenty-20 cricket game. Why stop with sounds? Sport could be enhanced with fake weather, holograms…Why stick with the old rules? And to return to music: all of the time, I see people with headphones in, soundtracking their walk along the pavement or ride on public transport. So, let’s try music and sport simultaneously. You heard it here first…