The French Dispatch

Some of you will be familiar with the films of Wes Anderson. They are meticulously made and composed, with each shot having a particular visual style and often a symmetry about them.  His latest film is called 'The French Dispatch'. I saw it on opening weekend. There is a great deal of geographical interest here, from an early travelogue of the fictional city where the action takes place, to a later story involving the kidnapping of the son of the local Police inspector. The weekend before last, I travelled down to London to have a fairly cultural weekend with my son with a film focus, and one of the things we took in was an expedition at 180 Strand of props from the film. We had been to a previous exhibition of props from the animated film 'Isle of Dogs' which Wes made, but this was on a whole other level... once again there was a themed restaurant / cafe that was serving food. The whole film was told as you moved through the expedition with large spaces filled with p

Get your ears around this...

  Update - the actual stream...


 New Jonsi album was released yesterday without any advance publicity. It's excellent...


I read 'Dune' by Frank Herbert for the first time over 40 years ago, and also read its sequels. It's a remarkable and dense book with plenty of political intrigue. The setting is the planet of Arakis, where a hallucinogenic drug called 'Spice' can be found in the desert sands. This is needed to enable interstellar flight, and a series of guilds and Houses controls power within the Imperium and fights between each other. There's an allegory here for the way that a planet's environment can be affected by the desire to mine a precious resource, and how greenery is sacrificed, but the indigenous people fight a rearguard action against large incoming Houses (corporations). This guest essay from New York Times has some background on Herbert's relationship with an indigenous person during his youth which may have influenced his thinking, and the plot of the book. The film also does a sensible job of covering the first part of the book, and setting up a second

A French Dispatch

Caught the new Wes Anderson film  last weekend and it's rather wonderful.  There are the usual Wes Anderson touches, with immaculately framed scenes, shoot-outs, animation scenes and great performances from his usual ensemble cast with some new additions. I loved the Owen Wilson travelogue of Ennui, France. The cinema also had plenty of postcards of the lead characters to pick up and here's Owen Wilson 's tube-map themed one. I'm heading to an exhibition of the props from the film in London in a couple of weeks.I hope it's as good as the one for the 'Isle of Dogs' film. Here's a taster...

New Aimee Mann on the way

A new Aimee Mann album is always an event for me. She has been a constant in my weekly listening since the mid 80s. I have been able to see her play live too on her rare visits to the UK. The first time was in the Duchess of York pub in Leeds: a small room which I believe has now closed down, and where she may as well have been playing in my living room she was so close. The latest album is out in early November and is themed around the book 'Girl Interrupted'. Lyrically there are few to compare with Aimee - I look forward to the new album.

Arctic Icebergs

A nice piece in the Geographical magazine on "artist and geographer" Nick Jones.  He travelled up to the Arctic to paint icebergs in the Arctic Ocean and the results are rather wonderful. Check them out.