My Bedroom Wall

Feb 08

“I’ve felt that crushing disappointment when confronted with the words ‘sold out’. I understand how reckless one can be in those five minutes between the thrill of thinking you’ll get to see your favourite band and the bitter blow that you can kiss goodbye any notion of seeing your heroes in the flesh. Of course the secondary ticket sites understand these five minutes better than anybody, which is why they will ensure that their allocated tickets are on sale the minute they are made available to the public (and, tellingly in some cases, days before they are made available for public on sale).” — Secondary ticket websites: The great ticket scandal? | Remfry Dedman | Independent Editor’s choice Blogs

Jan 29

Review: Evita at the Playhouse, Edinburgh

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Despite being a huge fan of the show since I was about 12 (I went through a very peculiar phase of reading anything I could get my hands on about the real life Perons, including her Mien Kampf esque autobiography) I didn’t travel to Glasgow to see the current production largely because I was put off by the terrible promo posters. Hugely focusing on the star power of Marti Pellow as Che they ranged from overly-sexual clinches to truly baffling solo posters entirely cutting out Eva herself! They are also really gaudy and just generally don’t evoke the show itself at all.

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However I was delighted to be offered a ticket for it’s short Edinburgh run and happily popped along last night hoping the show wasn’t as wide of the mark as the posters.

I’m glad to report that the show was very good, although I do have a couple of criticisms - one minor, one more major. Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first! The minor niggle I have is that I’ve always hated the ludicrous transposing of Che Guevara into the Evita story and one of my favourite things about the film adaptation was turning his character into a far more anonymous, symbolic voice of dissent. I particularly liked the way his costume and implied vocation would change in each scene making him ‘the people’ plural. It was a disappointment to me that this production decided to go back to the original approach with Marti decked out in the classic fancy dress Che outfit. It seems such a shame particularly when the current run does include ‘You Must Love Me’ in the score - so it’s not as though they are pretending the film didn’t happen.

The biggest criticism I have I’m afraid was Marti himself. I was honestly quite open to the idea of him in this role - he’s had very good reviews for previous theatre work he’s done and I figured that even if his acting wasn’t amazing hey, the guy can sing right? Now at this point I’m going to say I’m beginning to wonder if it was just an ‘off’ night or he was ill but went on anyway or something similar because even reviews for earlier in the run rank him from ambivalently to positively but I personally found him to be really poor.There was a lot of bad diction, some weird unplaceable accent and more importantly quite a lot of bum notes. A New Argentina was particularly painful. I don’t enjoy trashing people and as I say other reviews lead me to believe this might not be his usual standard but it was a real elephant in the room for me because the character he was playing is in literally every song of the show. He is essentially the narrator. Evita is also by nature a show that doesn’t have many bells and whistles - no rollerskates, no life sized helicopters, no chandeliers - it’s also quite brittle, fairly serious and pretty much lives or dies on the strength of it’s performers. So unfortunately any chink in the core cast can have a huge effect on the show itself.

However, otherwise it was a very solid production. The sets were simple but effective, the staging and choreography was good - The Art Of The Possible and Peron’s Latest Flame were particularly good in this respect and the ensemble cast were of a very, very high standard. A lot of the ‘chorus’ numbers were actually my favourite parts of the show. Eva herself was very, very good. She played her exactly the way I like - ballsy, cut glass and with an edge of vulnerability. Princess Grace meets Margaret Thatcher. Her vocal performance was really effortless and she particularly shone in the really full-on numbers like Rainbow High and A New Argentina.

There was nothing revolutionary (haw haw) about this production - it was very much a traditional approach to the show but nonetheless it was a solid and enjoyable production.

6.5 / 10

Jan 27

Interview with Brett from this week’s NME

Interview with Brett from this week’s NME

Jan 19

Queering the Queer

A scene at the Gay Pride Parade poignantly captured why there is a need for AVEN and greater awareness about asexuality. As David Jay hands out fliers about AVEN to the crowd, a tough, super buff (presumably gay) man in neon yellow shorts shouts, “I pity your soul!” David turns and asks why – why does he pity his soul? “We’re not hurting anyone”, he says as the man blows him off and walks away with his buddies. Onlookers in the crowd try not to stare at David, but it’s too late. David has been ironically cast as the freak among a parade of self-proclaimed freaks, (re)marginalized not for his sexuality but for his supposedly unnatural lack of sex drive. The violence of the man’s words is painful, but the crowd’s rigid silence, the refusal of anyone to stand with David, tacitly endorses the man’s condemnation towards that which he cannot understand. It is an uneasy reminder of how heterosexual individuals openly condemned homosexual persons fifty years ago (and how some still do) – “I pity your soul!” The exclamation reeks of intolerance, hate, and ignorance.

The scene is uncomfortably familiar in how it so effectively captures that universally experienced sense of ostracization – sticks and stones may break one’s bones, but words hurt even more and even longer. What does one do to move past the verbal violence that ends up, for better or worse, defining our identities? How does one live a free, safe life in spite of, what is at times, palpable hostility?

In this moment, however, the film subtly accuses the now common imperative to openly perform sexual identity, to liberate oneself as a fully sexualized being, as a violent command, yet the demand to confess and exhibit one’s sexual desire is seen to take on discriminatory, if not violent, overtones, as if society insists – “Have sex with the one you love…. OR ELSE.” If we have won the right to have a sexual orientation, doesn’t that also mean that we have also won the right to not take on sexual partners? To have the freedom to choose and to also not choose?

During the question and answer session at the end of the film, an audience member asked David if he had personally experienced more hostility from those within the LGBT community or straight folk. After thinking for a couple minutes, David smartly responded that those who see their sexuality as a key component of their identity have the most difficulty in understanding asexuality. [..]

In recent years, academic queer studies have sought to use its deviant position as a strategic means of queering, or in other words, critiquing hegemonic, heterosexual relations (Judith Butler of course and Lee Edelman comes to mind). Queer studies has become a useful methodology and analytic tool of exploring and revealing the mechanisms of gender relations and normative desire. It seemed to me after watching this film that asexuality can be also used as a means of queering the queer, of critiquing the whole field of gender politics. Since so much of gender theory evolves from sexual politics, it would be fascinating to explore how gender is constructed when not informed by sexuality. How is it different? Can gender be separated from sexuality? So much of gender norms hinge upon the object of sexual desire, but what happens when there is no object of sexual desire? How does that affect one’s positionality in terms of gender? The over-determination of sex and sexual desire in contemporary society has meant that in order to become a full subject, one must be marked as a sexual being, whether as a hetero or homosexual person. (Hence, one is considered a child until he/she has undergone their first sexual encounter.)


So much of life is unrelated to sexual activity, yet the over-determination of sex in the everyday lives of people has led to a particular lack of critical engagement in how sex is valued and used. What I mean by that is sex is taken for granted as a universally structuring force in life that relegates people into certain social compartments – gay, straight, trans, bi, etc – when in fact scholarship has perhaps overvalued its function and thus prevented itself from seeing it in other ways. Engaging in sexual relations is often used as a shorthand signifier for abstract concepts like intimacy, commitment, lust, or as an extreme qualifier; for instance, “it was better than sex.” It seems to me that talk about sex is oftentimes talk about how sex structures our lives, produces identities, or delineate gender codes. But how does sexual activity actually affect relationships? How does sex enable or prevent us from forming bonds with others? [..]

Clearly, sex is more important to some than others. I don’t think there is or will be a universally applicable response to this question, but in all, the film shows how the asexual community is queering commonly held notions on sexual relations, and where it can or can not take us.


This Hungry Owl: A Review of “(A)sexual”, a documentary by Angela Tucker

I just watched this documentary and This Hungry Owl has hit the nail on the head about what struck me most watching it. It’s not a community I’m part of but it’s certainly not one I’m threatened by and whilst I was unsurprised to see people saying dumb, uniformed things on TV about lifestyles outwith the ‘norm’ the scenes at the Pride march made me really sad. The way we wrap up sex (as opposed to sexuality in the political sense) with gender and every other aspect of life frustrates me but I understand it too, biologically and historically. I think it’s interesting though - as David asks in the documentary - to question whether this leads to us being unable to appreciate other forms of intimacy properly. 

That said, I know I’m not asexual personally because I spent most of the documentary trying not to think ‘damn, the head of the asexual movement is really cute..’

 

(oh, and the sections with Dan Savage also confirmed my suspicion that he’s a total dick.)

Dec 22

(Source: lolerzz, via moschops911)

Dec 21

My Movies of the year.

Here are my top movies and movie moments of 2013 :)

Before you get angry at something you can’t believe I’ve not  mentioned please check my list of films that I haven’t managed to see yet at the bottom in case it’s on there!

  1. The Paperboy
  2. Gravity
  3. Stoker
  4. Trance
  5. Les Miserable
  6. Star Trek Into Darkness
  7. Behind the candelabra
  8. Robot and Frank
  9. Wreck It Ralph
  10. Django Unchained
  11. Kill Your Darlings
  12. Antiviral
  13. Frozen

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Better than expected

  1. World War Z
  2. Alan Partridge Alpha Papa
  3. Oblivion
  4. American Mary
  5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  6. Now You See Me
  7. The Fifth Estate
  8. Warm Bodies
  9. The Internship
  10. Byzantium
  11. I give it a year

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Biggest Surprise

Robot & Frank

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Worse than expected

  1. Oz the great and powerful
  2. The Great Gatsby
  3. Side Effects

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Biggest Disappointment

Man of Steel

—-

Biggest Relief

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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Best Performance

Michael Douglas - Behind the Candelbra

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Can’t believe I missed these (in no order)

Zero Dark Thirty

Monsters University

Flight

Hitchcock

This is 40

Cloud Atlas

Welcome to the punch

Spring Breakers

Place beyond the pines

Mud

Elysium

Lovelace

Filth

How I live Now

Machete Kills

Philomena

Saving Mr Banks

Secret Life of Walter Mitty 

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Only just out

American Hustle

Anchorman2