Today I have another conversation with Madge Weinstein of Yeast Radio. The conversation will be cross-posted there. And will be slightly different so listen there too.
Things don’t start well for me. I have numerous technical problems despite the fact that I tested my setup before the show was to begin. The problems started when I noticed that the battery was drained on the crappy computer I was going to use. Actually the computer isn’t that crappy. But the power cable is flaky. The laptop rebooted when I reconnected the power, delaying me further. I had to swap laptops and cables, and reset all my inputs, outputs and levels. But that’s amateur podcasting for you. Raw and real. You know like Prince coughing in his Raspberry Beret video or Lucy misting up when Desi kisses her on air. Even so, you might thank god for the fast forward button. There are a few other minor glitches you’ll hear, but we soldier on.
Also. Trigger warning. Our sometimes stream of consciousness conversation is guaranteed to offend everyone in some way. We mispronounce some names and we swear. I also get the bomb that is dropped on England, in the movie Threads wrong. The bomb goes off 20 miles from Sheffield, not in the South China Sea. The South China Sea one goes off in the TV series Years and Years.
Madge asks me to explain Andrew Gallimore’s concept of the Hypergrid which I fail at miserably. I think I need to have Gallimore on the show so he can explain it himself. Also we wonder how the plural of fungus is pronounced. I love the English language. Do you know it has the largest vocabulary of any language in the world. Why? I think because English speakers have absolutely no shame when it comes to just making up words as they go along. It’s a long tradition You know like quark and smog and snog and laser and google and irregardless. (Sorry about that last one. Speakers of a certain age will not accept irregardless as a word and will view you with much disdain if you use it around them). English speakers proudly steal from every other language, (French and German are favourites), and such words are promptly incorporated it into the lexicon. Other words can crop up without warning ,and suddenly, crowdfunding, deplatforming and whataboutism are things. Don’t even get me started on English spelling.
Madge and I cover a lot of ground. Listen to the show right here:
Star Child (Taken at the Kubrick Retrospective at TIFF Lightbox November 2014)
I am not an expert on these matters. I merely know what I like and what I don’t like. And though there were movies of his that I absolutely did not like, I cannot ignore the profound impact his movies have had on me. I don’t know anyone who will deny, if they have seen the movie, that when they hear Also Sprach Zarathrustraor The Blue Danube they can think only of 2001 – A Space Odyssey. There are those of us who saw A Clockwork Orange who will never be able to see it again because of its assault on our morality, senses, and emotions. I have a friend who can’t listen to Beethoven’s 9th, Ode to Joy, or theWilliam Tell Overture anymore after seeing the movie without seeing the most vicious and disturbing scenes in her mind’s eye. We don’t understand what some of these movies were about but we simply cannot forget them. He arguably redefined the relationship of music to American film, camera work with American film, and even redefined how to tell a tale. He turned the ghost story on its head with The Shining and confused us about war and violence with Full Metal Jacket. I am speaking of course about Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest American filmmakers of all time. He made only sixteen movies in forty-eight years, three of which were documentary shorts made very early in his career. Fans waited eagerly for years between movies. Disappointed or not by what I saw, I know that there was great depth and thought put into every inch of film he shot. There is so much to say about him as a filmmaker, that I could probably study him for years and still not understand his films or his process. But I cannot stop being compelled and drawn to his work. In November 2014, the Toronto International Film Festival, mounted a retrospective of his work at the TIFF Lightbox location in Toronto. I eagerly attended and was surprised by the mashup curation of the main exhibit. I got a new perspective on the man and his movies and learned about some I had yet to see. My show today is separated into two parts. The first takes place in the main exhibit. I sometimes compete with the cacophony of music that surrounds me, and try to provide a sense of how the exhibit takes you through his body of work. The second takes place in a quieter section of the exhibit where various people share their opinion on select works by this master.
The Twins Costume from The Shining (Taken at TIFF Lightbox – Kubrick Retrospective)
I haven’t posted a show in two months. I have some good reasons for that. For one thing I’ve been working hard and enjoying my new day job. I’ve also been spending time working on another new project http://threegratitudes.ninja-radio.com/. Every day I think of three things in my life to be grateful for and share them on the site. You would think that coming up with three things to be thankful for every day would be dead easy. It’s not. There is so much tragedy and negative things happening in the world and in my life every day, that to take delight, pleasure and gratitude in small and simple things around me can be tricky. Especially on a day to day basis when much of our days also take the form of eat, work, sleep, repeat. But I am persevering in this. I have seven months to go and then I’ll end the project. Until then, you can join me if you want in the project in various ways. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your gratitudes or comment on the site. Either way your gratitudes will make it to the project.
A New Concept in Fast Food (Photo by Ninja)
This month Special K and I took our friends Dragon and Fly to New York. Fly had never been there and it had been many years since Dragon had. In today’s segment, we visit an interesting restaurant for breakfast called 4Food – the purpose of which is to de-junk fast food. We run into many French tourists. The aim that day was to visit to Ground Zero the day after Obama visited on May 5, 2011. Surprisingly we were stopped by a journalist who interviewed us for Swiss Public Radio about 9/11. Bit of a switch for Ninja. We also find out that there is a huge French community in New York. We talk about the movie Winter’s Bone and a class of humanity that are sometimes, but not often, represented in movies. Other movies discussed: Pulp Fiction, Deliverance, The Fly. Food mentioned: Pressed rice patties. Television Shows referred to: Modern Family. Broadcasters mentioned: Swiss Public Radio, The CBC.
The movie ‘The King’s Speech’ is based on the book written by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy. Mark Logue is the grandson of Lionel Logue, the titular man who saved that monarchy. Special K argues that in fact it was the Queen Mother, Elizabeth, wife of King George VI, known to his family and intimates as Bertie, who really saved the monarchy. Lionel Logue was the speech therapist known for enabling King George VI, a lifelong stutterer, to speak confidently, sincerely and as a leader during a time in history when the British Empire needed that leadership most: the dawn and period of World War II. Lionel Logue, in wikipedia, is described as being distinctive in his therapeutic method that emphasized humour, patience and superhuman sympathy.
And this is in great part what makes this movie enduring art in its depth and emotional complexity. Geoffry Rush’s performance completely embodies these three qualities. There is no other way, the movie, convinces us, that he could have helped the king otherwise. A normally mild-mannered man, the film portrays King George VI, played exquisitely and poignantly by Colin Firth, as someone who could erupt in frustrated rage when provoked to face the disability that could make or break royal credibility. For all the remoteness royality seems to the otherwise common man, this film attempts to show the humanity in all of us through Bertie and the heartwarming affection between him, his wife, the Queen Mother, his daughters Elizabeth and Margaret and his lifelong bond with his speech therapist.