Dylan’s jazz

I’d listen to a lot of jazz and bebop records, too. Records by George Russell or Johnny Cole, Red Garland, Don Byas, Roland Kirk, Gil Evans – Evans had recorded a rendition of “Ella Speed,” the Leadbelly song. I tried to discern melodies and structures. There were a lot of similarities between some kinds ofRead More

Endnotes

I have been reading Magic Moments by the literary critic John Sutherland. It is a memoir constructed around the books (and some films) that he experienced when young, viewed again from the perspective of its subject six decades later. It’s an ingenious way of constructing a biography, with each chapter devoted to the stories heRead More

Cinema contexts

Of all the ephemeral objects we build for ourselves in the digital world, among the most precious and at the greatest risk of disappearing are databases. Databases are organised and queryable collections of data. The larger ones, along with their cousin the content management system, govern our world and manage who we are, since theirRead More

Prequels

I have been watching the latest series of Better Call Saul, the best thing on TV just now, despite some considerable competition. The series is a prequel to Breaking Bad, the 2008-2013 series about a high-school chemistry teacher, Walter White, who takes to a life of crime by manufacturing methamphetamine. The crooked lawyer Saul GoodmanRead More

Playing dead

Last weekend I sat through six hours and thirty-seven minutes of of Les Misérables (France 1925), the longest film I’ve ever experienced at a single sitting. It was shown at the Barbican in London, two comfort breaks and a supper break along the way. Neil Brand provided the live piano score, as he had withRead More

Journeymen

Cricket is first and foremost a dramatic spectacle. It belongs with the theatre, ballet, opera and the dance … It is so organized that at all times it is compelled to reproduce the central action which characterizes all good drama from the days of the Greeks to our own; two individuals are pitted against eachRead More