Wednesday, February 13, 2008

We took the short walk to The Orpheus cinema last night to see Sweeney Todd, the latest cinematic marriage between Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, which of course also features Mr Burton’s real wife Helena Bonham Carter. Now I’m a huge fan of the work of Mr Burton but I felt that the claustrophobic nature of the film made it less of a visual treat than is usual for him. That’s not too say that it’s not an enjoyable film, which it is, for me it doesn’t quite hit the magnificent heights of some of his previous works.

A couple of weeks ago the postman knocked on our door early one morning, an unusual moment as along with everybody else I would imagine the vast majority of the post that we receive are slim notes inviting us to avail ourselves of a fabulous low interest loan or to take on more TV channels than any sane person could possibly wish to view. On this occasion though, he was clutching a huge sack of goodies which those nice people at McSweeney’s had sent across the Atlantic Ocean for me.

It was one of their excellent end of year collections of previously published items, it included an old issue of The Believer magazine, one of the regular quarterly collections – which intriguingly came with a free comb! Just the thing for us literary dandies I suppose. Also included was a collected highlight of the early issues of the McSweeney’s quarterlies, some free temporary tattoos and a novel by Yannick Murphy entitled Here They Come. It’s interesting description of a young girl growing up in an unidentified part of New York in the 1970’s.

Chaos and confusion are the order of the day in the novel and it’s a stark reminder of how much the city has changed since that squalid time. Indeed an interesting point was made in The Guardian this week by up and coming NYC band Vampire Weekend. Their music is a million miles away from the rough and tumble of legendary New York bands like The Ramones, The Velvet Underground or even The Stokes, that’s because the Big Apple is now a place that people want to live in as it’s a safe, comfortable exclusive (if that’s possible in a city of over 8 million inhabitants) place in which to live and bring up a family. Sadly that does mean that it may start to lose that frisson of excitement that the slightly edgy street scene used to offer. If everyone who lives there has a well-paid, sensible job where do the innovators live and work?

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