Monday, February 7, 2011

This week.

WB Yeats and Maud Gonne from Hark, a vagrant.

In a desperate and no doubt vain attempt to prove that I am not a complete obsessive mono-manic who lives, breathes and thinks toy soldiers every hour of every day, I thought it might be worthwhile I bring your attention to some of the interesting things I have encountered this week.

I have been reading...

...Michael Lewis's piece in Vanity Fair on Ireland post bailout.

I've probably arrived rather late to the party at this one, but it struck me as a well written piece. There are inaccuracies, I have no idea what possessed the man to think that Irish politicians were required to give speeches in Irish, and the article has been widely slated on the Irish talk radio for those inaccuracies. However, once you cut out the human interest stuff and get to the meat of the matter, the writing on finance is well presented and interesting.

Lewis is the man behind Liar's Poker and The New New Thing and could probably write an engaging book about paint drying. That said, I've yet to spot a single moral impulse in any of his books.

I have been watching...

...the Hurt Locker.

Deep within my black misgynistic heart, I was delighted when Kathryn Bigelow won an Oscar for this film. In much the same way that there has only ever been one great Rock & Roll song written by a woman, Kathyrn Bigelow is the only great female director of action films I have ever come across. Near Dark and Point Break are as near perfect as they could be.

The Hurt Locker is the story of an (improbably small) sapper unit in Iraq who spend their time defusing road side bombs. It's best appreciated for what it is - a beautiful action film. Speaking as a chap who works in what is considered a "risky" profession, I can't imagine anyone working with the protagonist for more than a single shift, but that wouldn't have made for a particularly interesting film.

In brief, Bigelow has been described as a "painter with explosions", this film does not dissapoint on that score.

And lastly...

I've also been looking at Hark, a vagrant - a web comic written by this charming young lady. Her subjects are mainly literary and historical, the example above is representative and her wit and lightness of touch are evident in every frame.

Anyone who can write and draw a comic about Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley's martial problems is worthy of your attention.

Tomorrow, back to toy soldiers. I promise.


  1. Many thanks for Hark a Vagrant- it is new to me and I have really enjoyed going through the archives of it.

  2. Can I be the first - though probably not the last - to point out that 'I Love Rock & Roll' was written by Alan Merrill (a man) and Jake Hooker (a man).

    On the other hand the possibly more important and influential 'Heartbreak Hotel' was largely written by a woman.

  3. Pop song you meant to say surely? No Heart in it.

    Nice figure though and Good on the Old fella. May he live to swear for many a year yet.

  4. Rats IM beat me too it...

    .. :o)

  5. IM - never one to let facts get in the way of a good crass generalisation.

    Ross & Steve - I did not know that.

  6. ..too be fair neither did I until a week ago yesterday - I was listening to the quintessential Johnnie Walker's show on BBC Radio 2 and he happened to play it.. a generalisation it works well - I can't think of any good female rock n rollers*... at the risk of being labelled a raving misogynist, I've always thought that a winsome lass with a Fender always looked like she was playing at it, rather than being it.... "Girlschool" anyone?? :o))

    * There is of course one exception that has just come to me as I typed "Fender" - the unforgettable Ms Hynde and her Pretenders must surely prove your generalisation...

  7. Female rockers - you're way out of touch - check out:
    Deborah Bonham
    Chantel McGregor
    Joanne Shaw Taylor
    Clare Free
    Mostly Autumn (2 girls in band)
    Kyla Brox
    Lucy Zirins (from our own Burnley)
    And of course, Heart are still going