Lounge of Solace

Times like these need threads like this one.

Come here and relax, think and talk about stuff that makes you feel better.

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What types of things are people doing for social distancing? I’ve been reading and playing some video games that I haven’t touched in awhile (Grand Theft Auto and Uncharted atm). Currently reading The Night Fire by Michael Connelly, next in my reading queue will be Icebreaker, Jaws, and The Pelican Brief. I also have 2 Jack Reacher novels to get to.

I don’t have many friends, so am used to being a loner!

Catching up on TV. Lucifer and Stumptown mostly.

We´re all friends here. Welcome.

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I will probably have time now to watch the many blu-rays sitting on my shelves which somehow I have not had time to watch yet (so prepare for a few “What Movie Have You Seen Today?” posts. You have been warned LOL).

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Please do.

Thinking about stocking up on some vodka today. If we’re going to be in self isolation for two weeks or more I’ll need some. I have my Bond Blu-rays ready. I imagine lots of gaming and reading, too.

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I know many of us will be spending more time at home, with little do besides reading, watching movies, and listening to music. I hear this DJ is particularly good:

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After all these years I still get excited about music and film, and I get lost in both very easily. Lately I’ve been focusing on Bill Conti’s FYEO score - tracks like ‘Drive in the Country’ are the perfect feel-good bubble as the world goes crazy. The Blues Brothers, The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction, The Mask, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and other quirky comedies are on my to-watch list. I watched Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II recently, and wouldn’t mind watching them again. Ray Parker Jr’s theme is something that really cheers me up.

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For those of us who are already up to date on their streaming there are a number of excellent books to read:

Fiction

  • Moonglow by Michael Chabon

  • The Jackson Lamb/Slough House series by Mick Herron

  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

  • 64 by Hideo Yokohama

  • The Witch Elm by Tana French

Comics/Graphic Novels

  • 20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa

  • Harrow County by Cullen Bun/Tyler Crook

  • Berlin by Jason Lutes

  • The Complete Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Nonfiction

  • Our Mathematical Universe by Max Tegmark

  • Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

  • Permanent Record by Edward Snowden

  • Tyrant by Stephen Greenblatt

  • The Secret World by Christopher Andrew

  • Godforsaken Sea by Derek Lundy

  • A Brilliant Little Operation by Paddy Ashdown

Miscellaneous/Biographies

  • The Portable Dorothy Parker

  • Life by Keith Richards (with some help by James Fox)

  • The Monocle Travel Guide to Brussels & Antwerp

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Excellent - thank you!

All hail Dorothy Parker, who when playing the word game at the Algonquin Round Table and given the word “horticulture” responded: “You can lead a whore to culture, but you can’t make her think.”

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About 90% of my music is soundtracks beyond Bond. Presently enjoying the original Blade Runner score on vinyl.

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That’s a great one!

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Absurd Moment of the Day: I am still going to work for now to ensure that our young people are receving the services they need as best as we can provide them.

In my building’s elevators, they now have little screens to pump yet more advertising into people’s brains along with pretty pictures and weather updates. On the screen today was an ad for a website called: Ubersuggest, a site which will tell you what topics to write about and what key words to use when writing about these topics.

As grim as some of the last days have been, I have al least found a new bete noire. My previous one–Grammarly–just corrected one’s grammar (bad enough as that is). Ubersuggest makes thought control complete. It will tell what to write about, and then Grammarly will tell you how.

Decades ago there was an audio cassette made by Memorex with the tag line: “Is it live, or is it Memorex?” We can revive and update this campaign: “Is it you, or is it the programs?”

So let’s speak of betes noires and machine encroahment without using Grammarly. For the duration, split infinitives are forgiven.

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Watch Person of Interest and Westworld - particularly the later seasons of both. The automation of society is clearly a constant fear of Jonathan Nolan.

I detect a new patience in me for films which are not really good. Watching a lot on Prime, many old films I have never seen before (from the 50´s and 60´s), and that way of life is often so removed from 2019 (before all that crap going on right now) that it turns into a kind of comforting fantasy.

Which makes me overlook the contrived overlong passages in those films.

Recently I watched “Paris when it sizzles” with William Holden as a desperate screenwriter trying to finish a new script within a few days, with a luminous Audrey Hepburn starting as his new secretary. Not a good film at all, but a lot of fun.

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I will add more thoughts later, but I am in much agreement with SAF on this point. For quite some time, I have been watching older Hollywood films and noticing how what used to be smooth entertainment for me now appears (be)labored and even stale. Thefe have always been challenges to the primacy of the well-made film, but I think during the 1970’s a shift occurred that splintered the practice of filmmaking.

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Filmmaking is an art - and maybe also a bit of a science, a field that’s developing along narrative conventions. Once it crosses certain limitations, breaks free, they suddenly look clumsy and ill-fitted for the purpose where before they were the gold standard.

Just think of the over-exalted acting and posing of the first films that tried to replicate a theatre performance. As the tools of cutting and intercutting, perspective and movement were honed the theatrical convention took the backseat in favour of pace and dynamics.

The old classics are not lesser for it, to the contrary. They concentrated on being fun, even if narratively they wouldn’t always make good examples of how to economically tell the story. They stem from a slower time, an era where people were in no hurry to get to the next episode, when there was no fast forward and the prevalent feeling with the audience after ‘The End’ appeared on the screen was a kind of afterglow, a mental replay of the story they had just seen.

Nobody in the 60s (or anytime before 2004) was impatient to post about it on social media.

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