Archived entries for

Joan Baez, Brighton Dome (26 Mar 2012)

When I walked into the Brighton Dome on Monday night to hear Joan Baez perform the last of her 21-stop tour of the UK, the first thing I noticed was a sofa on the stage. Next to the sofa was a standard lamp and a table with a bowl of daffodils on it – a familiar and homely tableau. At the front of the stage was a microphone with percussion set up to the left and a keyboard and assorted instruments ranged to the right.

What was going to happen? Was Joan Baez going to sit on the sofa and talk to us? Continue reading…

Faro Documents

What makes us go and see the films we see?

For me, the answer to this deceptively simple question is we choose the films we see via the film culture of our times and location. I get a thrill when I think of what a film culture is and the potential it has to help passionate moviegoers on their journey of cinematic discovery.  What is a film culture? In a sense, it’s the circus surrounding the freak-show that is cinema, it’s the dust in the beam of light from the projector – not as essential as the movies themselves but a conduit for a richer movie-going experience. It’s the magazines we read, the blogs we skim over, the stars tweets we reply to in the hope they might recognise us mere mortals. It’s also film clubs and societies, pop-ups or otherwise, cinemas, television and now, whether we like it or not, streaming.

I went to a screening of two rare Ingmar Bergman documentaries at the Lexi Cinema on Sunday night in Kensal Rise, a beautiful boutique one-screener which looks like a converted village hall. The night was hosted by the new collective A Nos Amours. And although I could be wrong, I don’t think the two film-makers behind the new collective, Joanna Hogg (Unrelated, Archipelago) and Adam Roberts, like to stream movies much. Continue reading…

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ahead of Milan hosting Barcelona, Il Capocannoniere profiles Zlatan Ibrahimovic. (Exclusive illustration by Lilly Allen).

“Zlatan. The very best there is. When you absolutely, positively have to win the league title, accept no substitutes.”

Of course I’m paraphrasing Samuel L Jackson’s character from Jackie Brown, but you can imagine a number of top coaches in European football would go along with this sentiment. Every season since 2003-04 the team that Zlatan has played for has finished top of their league, one with Ajax, two at Juventus (both subsequently revoked due to the Calciopoli scandal), three at Inter, one in his only season with Barcelona and then last season for Milan. This season Milan lead the way again in Serie A this season and it looks likely that Ibra’s team will finish top for a phenomenal ninth consecutive season. Continue reading…

Euro Football Round-up/CL QF Preview 27 Mar 12

Last Tuesday was a record breaking day for Lionel Messi. Barcelona beat Granada 5-3 at the Nou Camp, as Messi hit a hat-trick to make him Barcelona’s record all time goalscorer. Goals 232, 233 and 234 equalled then beat Cesar Rodriguez’ 57 year old record. Messi continues to break and set new records and standards of excellence every time he steps foot on the pitch. As Madrid only struggled to a 1-1 draw away to relegation threatened Villareal this win also moved Barca to within 6 points of the La Liga leaders. One stat that has gone relatively unmentioned is that whilst Messi was breaking the record, Granada were becoming the first away side to score three at the Nou Camp this season. Continue reading…

Play It

At the moment ITV4 are showing re-runs of their old football highlights flagship, The Big Match, from the second–half of the 1982-83 Season. The ITV programme, produced and broadcast by region, that season had the prime Saturday evening slot with the BBC’s Match of the Day shown on Sunday afternoons. Aside from the nostalgia, it is interesting viewing, a small piece in the game’s history from an English perspective and a thin line on a wallchart we can look back to, to see how the game has progressed.

Not that it’s all change. The clocks go forward, the clocks go back, and Hansen and Lawrenson are still together on our screens nearly thirty seasons later, Martin Tyler commentates on the biggest games in the North and there is still a lack of clarity in the game on the interpretation of the Offside Law and no technology to help and see if the whole of the ball is over the whole of the line. Continue reading…

The Walking Dead II

Season One of The Waking Dead was just six episodes, standard serial length for a drama in the UK but in US Drama terms, the equivalent of an EP. Two fine performances from British actors now plying their trade in the States, Lennie James and Andrew Lincoln, set the scene in an opening episode in 2010 that quickly developed an overriding theme of groups and individuals looking for a safety and security; distant echoes of Steinbeck, despite the setting of a post-apocalyptic zombieland. Continue reading…

The Kids Are Not Alright

Good kids gone bad

The survival of the human species presumably depends on us mostly liking children. And yet we seem to produce countless narratives about kids that are at best rather creepy and at worst, literally the spawn of the Devil. We’ve all seen plenty of scary-child films – The Shining and The Omen have left me with a strange phobia of small children on tricycles – but the creepy kid appears frequently in literature too, presumably because we fear the slightly grotesque juxtaposition of innocence and evil. Continue reading…

Graham Taylor

Watford fan and blogger Tom Bodell looks at what Graham Taylor did for his Club.

Every football club has a Graham Taylor, the kind of figure who has gone far and beyond the call of duty for a club with which they have a genuine, undying affinity. When Watford lose you get the feeling that Taylor genuinely hurts inside and when the club is struggling or in danger, Taylor feels that pain within him too. Continue reading…

European Football Round-up: 20 March

Events on and off the pitch in England and Spain in the past week have shown that despite what Bill Shankly may have said, football really isn’t more important than life and death. Football is just a game; albeit one that evokes tremendous passion and partisanship. Sometimes however events happen to unite the footballing family. On Sunday night Real Madrid put years of rivalry and bitter enmity to one side to show support for Barcelona’s Eric Abidal. They also demonstrated the global support for Fabrice Muamba. Continue reading…

Street Spirit

After Swansea beat Manchester City, a picture that was widely shared last week was the one of the fan in tears, which may have been slightly premature with a quarter of the Season still left. It was an emotion though that was still preferable to the glib reaction that football doesn’t matter from those without allegiance, the ambivalent shrug of the shoulders from fair-weather fans to whom their plastic flags are a fashionable accessory or the cowardice cynicism of those who resent the Great Game.

There are plenty in the chattering classes who like to disparage football at every opportunity, citing the money earned by the very highest paid players with a venom not displayed for any other professions in a free-market economy, with the barely concealed resentment coming either from their feelings of exclusion due to being soulless and having no love of sport, or worse, the fact that the football is largely a meritocracy, allowing both escape and excitement on and off the pitch, regardless of class.

The values of loyalty and passion that came through from that picture are decent ones, and the general decency of the collective football fan was also evident in extremely serious circumstances at White Hart Lane on Saturday evening, when it quickly became clear that Bolton Wanderers’ Fabrice Muamba had stopped breathing on the pitch after collapsing. A sizeable number of Tottenham fans sung the ex-Arsenal player’s name, with an immediate recognition of the importance of life that is not seen in the sub-cultures many are exposed to, from computer games based on killing to big-budget action films. Continue reading…



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