Woke up the other day with this playing in our head. Why, we have no idea. We read the chapter on earworms in Oliver Sacks’s Musicophilia, but he doesn’t know what causes them, either. Earworms are also known as “last song syndrome”, but in this case we hadn’t heard Bob Dorough in years when he started singing in our head. We have a cassette of one of his albums, which a friend recorded from vinyl, but our one surviving cassette player has a perpetual whirr. So we were happy to find Devil May Care on YouTube, along with his other songs including Baltimore Oriole and Blue Xmas, an anti-Xmas song that ranks up there with Christmastime is Here from A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Yes, we like bebop, our musical tastes are guy-ish and Dorough’s singing IS odd.
The toughest movies to review are those that you neither hate nor love. When someone asks what you think of the movie, you reply, “Okay lang.” I don’t like saying, “Okay lang” because I trade in opinions and that is a cop-out. Therefore, I will apply a cold business decision-making process to figure out how I feel about The Break-Up Playlist, the new film by director-cinematographer Dan Villegas and screenwriter Antoinette Jadaone, starring Sarah Geronimo and Piolo Pascual. The team made English Only, Please, which I liked, and Jadaone wrote and directed That Thing Called Tadhana, which did not suck but which caused me to have an out-of-body experience from tedium.
The process is called SWOT Analysis, and I learned it from the TV show Silicon Valley. SWOT means “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats”. My question is: Do I like The Break-Up Playlist?
The 17th edition of the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy opens on 23 April with a concert by the great Joe Hisaishi, who will perform his music for films by Hadao Miyazaki and Takeshi Kitano with the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra.
Tonari no Totoro from My Neighbor Totoro
Even if we have committed the crime of not having seen every single film by Miyazaki, hearing the music of Joe Hisaishi elicits a powerful reaction.
Of course we have a Pavlovian reaction to the new trailer, because of the John Williams music and the sight of Han Solo and Chewbacca. But it is best to view all matters pertaining to the new Star Wars movies with extreme caution. Remember what happened last time: basically they took our childhood and turned it into compost.
True, the three prequels whose titles we won’t even mention set the bar so low that any new Star Wars movie that is Not Terrible will get rave reviews. Cheer for mediocrity, we must not. Prove himself, J.J. Abrams must. Diverting entertainments he has made but thus far greatness has eluded him. “Visionary”, he has not yet earned.
Other things we learned from Kim Gordon’s candid but dignified memoir, Girl In A Band:
– Thurston Moore broke up their marriage and Sonic Youth because he cheated on her with this hanger-on who had always wanted to be connected to the band. Before the woman had gone after Thurston Moore she had tried to get close to Kim.
– The cheating was discovered through text messages.
– Kim is a punk rock purist.
– She does not like Courtney Love and Billy Corgan and was especially grossed out when those two were dating.
– She was very fond of Kurt Cobain but was not surprised when he killed himself.
– Henry Rollins was twerking before there was twerking.
– She does not recognize New York today. She arrived there in 1980 when she was poor and New York was bankrupt. Larry Gagosian gave her a job and claimed she was his ex. She knew Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel and does not think much of either one.
– She was a fan of Madonna in the 80s, hence Ciccone Youth.
– Gerhard Richter allowed Sonic Youth to use one of his candle paintings as the cover of their Daydream Nation album because she was a friend of his wife.
We found out that While We’re Young is showing in cinemas and we have no memory of a Noah Baumbach movie ever showing at the mall so we rushed to see it and were very glad because it’s about people our age.
“People our age” being those who, when filling out forms, hesitate at the blank for “age”, subtract the year of their birth from the current year, then re-compute because that can’t be right, that’s too high.
Being in your 40s feels strange because you’re not young anymore, and suddenly things you mocked when they first came out—the entire Lionel Richie discography, Sylvester Stallone movie themes—are adored by people in their 20s, except that their adoration is ironic so you’re not sure exactly where they stand or whether they stand for anything at all, but you know you still loathe “Hello” and “Eye of the Tiger”. But David Bowie, even minor David Bowie, is cool forever.
You don’t want to hang out with your older friends because they’re bitter or depressing or openly disapprove of your refusal to “settle down” or you’ve already heard all their stories, which were boring when you first heard them 20 years ago, or you’re not prepared to live in eternal nostalgia just yet, or you just don’t have anything in common anymore.
You are flattered because your 25-year-old friends seem to look up to you and want what you have, but they want it now, fast-tracked, and they don’t realize that your failures have a greater impact on how you turn out than your successes do. Early success is particularly tricky because when people have too much to lose they stop taking risks and get fossilized prematurely.