John Wyver writes: another selection of things that have caught my eye and engaged my attention over the past week – with my thanks, as ever, to all those in my Twitter feed and on FaceBook who make such interesting recommendations. As for the above, see ‘The shape of a story… or so I’ve been told’ below.
• When ‘creatives’ turn destructive – image-makers and the climate crisis: a major new essay by Bill McKibben for The New Yorker focussing on
the advertising, lobbying, and public-relations firms that help provide the rationalizations and the justifications that slow the pace of change. Although these agencies are less significant monetarily than the banks, they are more so intellectually; if money is the oxygen on which the fire of global warming burns, then P.R. campaigns and snappy catchphrases are the kindling.
• At the Pace Gallery [£ but limited free access]: Daniel Soar for LRB on artist Trevor Paglen, survelliance, AI and more, explored in his show Bloom, about which you can find out more at the Pace Gallery website.
• 10 French movies that can transport you to Paris: not enough Godard but otherwise Jason Farago’s choice for The New York Times is pretty good; he includes À bout du souffle but not Bande à part, so let’s make up for that here with Anna Karina in one of the most perfect dance scenes ever shot:
• 70s paranoia thrillers … and why we need them now more than ever: Alan Glynn for NeoText.
• David Fincher’s impossible eye: essential before a viewing of the director’s Mank, this is Jonah Weiner’s compendious feature for The New York Times Magazine.
• The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford -Andrew Dominik’s visually stupefying exploration of one of America’s oldest myths: I’m not sure how long this wonderful collection of elements about the 2007 masterpiece has been available from the essential Cinephilia & Beyond website, but I only discovered it this week, and it’s just great.
• The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2007:…. and this is the official trailer featuring Roger Deakins’ exquisite cinematography:
• The changing trends in television design: circa 1958, that is, considered in this wonderful South Yorkshire Times article about the 1958 Earls Court Television and Radio show, resurrected for us by the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System.
• Forgotten Australian TV plays – The Grey Nurse Said Nothing: a fascinating fragment of Australian television history by Steven Vagg for FilmInk about a play by Sumner Locke Elliott broadcast in 1960.
• World chess champion Garry Kasparov on what The Queen’s Gambit gets right: if you’re a fan of the series, then you’ll want to read the Russian grandmaster’s reflections for Slate.
• We have always lived in the castle one month of The Queen’s Gambit: strong, challenging writing from Aaron Bady for Los Angeles Review of Books, reflecting on the context of reception, how this can change so quickly, and why…
… all the things that this show isn’t suddenly seem more salient, right now: all the reasons I loved the show — in the week before the election — have become reasons I can’t love it so much right now. With Trump gone — or going — it suddenly feels important to remember that Trayvon Martin was murdered when Barack Obama was president. And all the things the show did so successfully, so pleasurably, and so necessarily — two weeks ago — don’t seem quite so important.
• I Hate Suzie review: Billie Piper anchors HBO Max series about a superstar’s worst nightmare: I grumbled a month or more ago about how little good critical writing there was about I Hate Suzie when it was shown on Sky Atlantic; now that it is on HBOMax US critics are doing rather better, including Steve Greene for IndieWire…
• I Hate Suzie is a brutally funny unravelling: … and Anna Russell for The New Yorker.
• Flowers For Mrs Harris | Cast Album Recording | Chichester Festival Theatre: a terrific 11-minute video about not just the particular project but the fundamental importance of theatre artists for us all:
• Why there’s no COVID in this year’s Christmas ads: smart analysis (an some links) from Kelly O’Hanlon for The Conversation.
• Looking back: Luke McKernan attends the webinar ‘Forever Young: Preserving The Archive of Bob Dylan’ and muses on fear and the archive.
• Why is the obscure B-Side ‘Harness Your Hopes’ Pavement’s top song on Spotify? It’s complicated: fascinating on algorithms, AI and Autoplay, by Nate Rogers for Stereogum.
• The secret of the Unicorn Tapestries: I loved this oddball tale by Danielle Oteri for The Paris Review.
• The shape of a story… or so I’ve been told: at Popula Issy Manley with a totally delightful graphic tale (that is, in drawings) about narratology and climate catastrophe – the header image is an extract.
• Making London their own: a terrific review by Jenny Uglow for New York Review of Books of Panikos Panayi’s Migrant City: A New History of London.
• Cummings has left behind a No 10 deluded that Britain could be the next Silicon Valley: deeply informed analysis at Guardian from historian David Edgerton.
• Can American democracy survive Donald Trump?: among the very best of the recent overviews – Sarah Churchwell on lies, language and paranoia for Guardian.
• Ivanka Trump was my best friend. Now she’s MAGA royalty: if you’ve not yet read Lysandra Ohrstrom’s recollections, as published this week by Vanity Fair, you’re in a for a perverse treat.
• Strange Concord – music and words from Prospect Cottage: this is an exquisite treat from Creative Folkestone:
‘This beautiful and visceral film combines the words of Derek Jarman’s diaries, spoken by Ben Whishaw, with music composed over the same period of time by acclaimed composers John Zorn and Henryk Gorecki. Recorded live at Prospect Cottage in Dungeness.’