2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many …

A Field in England

Ever wondered what the English Civil War might have been like on shrooms? Wonder no more for Ben Wheatley’s ‘A Field in England’ will show you. This curious, genre-bending film featuring Reese Shearsmith of ‘League of Gentlemen’ and ‘Psychoville’ fame, is one of the most original and unusual of the year. For a start the …

The Man with the Blue Scarf

What would it have been like to sit for Goya? Or Velasquez? Or Ingres? We’re never really going to know but we will certainly know exactly what it was like to sit for Lucien Freud thanks to Martin Grayford’s book ‘The Man with the Blue Scarf‘. Art critic Grayford sat for a portrait by the …

Fred Lyon

Fred Lyon has spent a lifetime taking pictures of his hometown San Francisco. Starting in the 1940’s his picture credits appeared everywhere from ‘Life’ to ‘Vogue’. He’s been described as ‘San Francisco’s Brassai’ but his work reminds me more of Robert Doisneau or Andre Kertesz.    

The Real Graduate

I thought I knew The Graduate, the outstanding sixties classic featuring an absurdly young Dustin Hoffman, the seductive Anne Bancroft and the and the beautiful Katherine Ross. It turns out I was wrong because there is another ‘Graduate’, the book by Charles Webb on which the film was based. All the familiar scenes that appear …

The Colour of Cool

We’re all so wrapped up in the quest to be young, hip, and relevant that it seems almost miraculous that there are people out there seemingly dedicating themselves to doing precisely the opposite Take Paddy McAloon of Prefab Sprout. I very much doubt I’ll hear of him being involved in a spat with Perez Hilton …

Greasy Christmas

You may have to suffer relatives, an overdraft, screaming kids and an enormous amounts of highly calorific food but at least you’re not spending Christmas in a British Café Photographer Alan Powdrill has created a series of pictures showing the rather lack-lustre attempts of these downscale eateries to celebrate the festive season. Yo-ho-ho.

The Great Beauty

Why would a man with seemingly limitless promise as a novelist fail to write for 40 years and pursue a life of hedonistic emptiness instead? Such is the mystery at the center of Paolo Sorrentino’s stunning new film Le Grande Belleza (The Great Beauty) Jep Gambardelli, the aging ‘novelist’ in question, is certainly a man …

Sea Coal

When Chris Killip came across a bunch of men working an open cast mine on the coast of North East England he knew it was something he had to photograph. Several years and a couple of violent , punch-in-the-face refusals later he managed to get his wish. A barely remembered acquaintance happened to know the …

Above the American West

Photographer Michael Light learnt to fly before he could drive. His love of the air is reflected in his stunning series of Aerial photographs featuring the American west called ‘Some Dry Space’. Taken from small rented planes and helicopters, these large format images attempt to display contemporary America’s interaction with the environment. The results are …