Friday, May 22, 2009

In Treatment: the Movie and other (Red) stories

Nuts to me, my writing, even to the brilliance of Red Planet and the single most energising, invigorating, exhilarating day in my scribbling career to date (I may be underselling that). Instead, look at this gorgeous, glorious thing.

In Treatment is being screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival this year. Just the first week's worth, five episodes, but I guarantee any TV exec there will be on the phone trying to buy the rest the moment they've seen them. And I can be confident of this not only because of me, because of how utterly compelled I was by them, but because of HBO. The episodes being shown here are the first sessions with each of the characters in the show's first season and the whole week was shot as a five-part pilot for the US cable channel.

They paid for those five and on seeing them ordered up another 37. That's as addicted as I was, plus I only spent the price of the DVD.

I am a puppy, running up to you with this news. I am bouncing with it. Is there anything better than finding a show that so invades your life, so lifts you up and so stretches you?


Writing one.

Which brings me back to Red Planet and how I should be going back to writing my writings, doing my doings, right now. But Jonathan Melville just told me this In Treatment news and I had to tell you. Wonder if I can get to Edinburgh?


Saturday, May 02, 2009

A website in my hand and song in my heart

So, first off, I have a new website. It's very like the old one in that it's plainly an expression of my wanton ego - I have a website, a blog, I'm on Facebook, Twitter and occasionally the phone - that I'm trying to come to terms with. And it's also at the same address,

It's also the slightly altered home to my UK DVD Review podcast and, bugger, I forgot: I need to make the old podcast page redirect to the new. And I can't do that until my mass backup of the entire old site is done.

Um. I didn't think this through. I should've waited a touch. Ah, well, it's just you and me: have a look at the new site through that link and will be well. If you usually listen to my podcast on my site, then things will also be well, but perhaps not tonight. I'll see to it.

And in the meantime, hello. Piers Beckley has tagged me in an internet meme. This one has you list seven songs that you are into this moment, right now. That's the meme, that's who tagged me, let's play our game - except that I can't resist also throwing in this. Metafilter, the site that aggregates news stories and features from all the dark corners of the web that you would go to if you knew about them, recently found a timeline of all internet memes. And then removed it. Apparently it's not accurate, but when did that matter on the internet? And, besides, it's still fun to see something of where all this meme-ing started.

But back to the plot. The seven songs I'm really into really right now go thisaway:

From The Green World album, grief, was that in 2000? Typically, deceptively simple track, even a little pared down compared to some of Dar Williams's stuff, but also rather engrossing. I do love her material but this one popped up on a random playlist the other week and I've kept coming back to it. A tinge of yearning, a little upsetting, a little uplifting.

I have no idea why this is in my head, but it's there. She is Zooey Deschanel, him is M Ward. I'd heard of her, at least. Jolly, bit of a sinister undertow depending on my mood when I hear it. Short.

Raw, gutteral, by the end you'd even throw in feral. From the Born to Run album. The Springsteen fanclub named its newsletter after this song, back in the day when there were such things as newsletters. Now there's a website.

Another old favourite that's recently popped back into my random playlist life. I remember this from the brief time UK satellite TV had CMT, Country Music Television. As it got ever more desperate for anybody, just anybody to watch, please, now, go on, it introduced a strand called Rebel Country. This was its excuse to play more popular tracks and artists while pretending there was any country element to it at all. If it was in 4/4 time, that was good enough. Bruce Springsteen used to pop up here. This is actually where I first came across Dar Williams, with her wonderful As Cool as I Am, and it's where I first heard this Mary Black cut. Since then I've been taken with a lyric in it about having a child out of wedlock: "Blessed and unholy".

A while ago I caught a series of poetry readings on BBC Radio 7 and found that many, many and indeed all three times many of the poems were really Suzanne Vega lyrics read aloud. This wasn't one of them, I just wanted to mention that. Pornographer's Dream is from her latest album, Beauty & Crime. I remember saying somewhere that were you often have a song in your head, after this I had the entire album. It probably helps that it's a bit of a paean to New York City; another track has a tremendously simple but evocative reference to "the midtown roar" there. But again, amongst everything else I love about this, there is one repeated lyric that catches me: "out of his hands / over his head / out of his reach". That one needs the music, I think.

It's a very, very strange thing but this first track on Springsteen's album Working on a Dream is overwhelmingly glorious: very funny, very fast, very bitterly afraid and with a rather soaring mix of rock guitars and orchestral backing, I can't get enough of it. So far, not that strange, right? And the second track, My Lucky Day, I adore it. The third one, Working on a Dream, I'm having a ball now, this is a fantastic album. But then we get Queen of the Supermarket and I'm gone. It's not the potent subject matter Springsteen claims and the song feels very forced to me. And what's strange is that so do all the ones after it. It's like they're tainted. So, tracks 1-3 could even have made it on this list all together, tracks 4-13, not so much.

Whenever You're Ready - Mary Chapin Carpenter
I nicked this for an iPhone alarm tune, thinking it was a gentle start to mornings. And it is - after the first chord, which had me yanked out of the bed clutching my heart. I only used it the once but it's in my head forever now and it's from the album Time * Sex * Love, which appears to be just about the only album she's ever made that isn't in the iTunes Store. Hence the lack of a link. I could've semi-legitimately picked many of her songs, but that's the one looping in my noggin' and I like to tell you the truth on occasions.

Since it's you.

And while I often deadend these memes, everybody I know with a blog having been asked before me, this time I want to pass it on to Angela. It's her first internet meme: be gentle. And also Steve, if I can figure out how to point at his Facebook page wherein he might do this.