I watched Godard’s Alphaville (1965) last night with my dad

Posted in Uncategorized on August 9, 2014 by Asher Rospigliosi

I watched Alphaville last night with my dad. I am not familiar with the works of Godard other than À bout de souffle which I have watched twice in the last five years, and love.

Alphaville is a film I have read reviews of a number of times, in my childhood and teens. As a big science fiction fan, it was a film that I noted in Time Out magazine, whose reviews I read assiduously for many years, but there was a level of abstraction in that review, that meant I never quite got into Soho to see it, and don’t recall it being offered on TV.

Alphaville poster 1965The conceit of having a known shamus, Eddie Constantine, complete with his bricolage of trench-coat, felt hat and zippo lighter provides a fantastic, accessible context to the action. His direct to camera frankness and unaffected violence in the hotel room where he first encounters the ‘level three seductresses’ who service hotel clients, all gets the film off to a dynamic start.

The gradual acknowledgement of the manipulated minds of inhabitants of the city of Alphaville and the omniscience of the Alpha 60 computer is subtle and has resonance with the ambivalence I feel now about the pervasiveness of online mobile social media and the growth of algorithmic regulation.

Despite its many serious critiques of the impact of computers on how we might think, the film has a great humour and gusto. As Eddy asks a confederate about colleageus he lists Dick Tracy and Flash Gordon as allies whose fate he is concerned over!

The stylised violence has something in common with the punch-fests of the Batman TV show of the same era. The final scene as Eddie and Natacha flee the city, her mouthing of “Je vous aime” (“I love you”) is both funny and touching.

the Slits were my first punk passion

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 1, 2014 by Asher Rospigliosi

Thanks to Suzanne Moore for her personal and stimulating review of Viv Albertines autobiography,  Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. Brought back great memories. I was sixteen in 1977 and punk was a glorious moment of individualism and self expression. I had been dressing in my own way for a couple of years, but now I was hanging out in soho with people who thought it cool. In the summer I saw Generation X six times, and loved their take on punk, they did not feel the need to conform with the uniform, that already stifled the possibilities of punk. 

Then I found the Slits. By the time of their funny, messy, John Peel sessions, I had seen them four times. They were the first bands I went to see without a posse, excited enough by what they brought together of yardie culture and Brit art school cool, to cross London to see them at the Notting Hill Tabernacle. I loved the exciting mystery of the dreads ‘pon de corner, and Ari’s demented banshee wailing/flailing, with that near dub riddim. Much more satisfying as music to dance to than the standard ” one, two, three four” of pogo music.

By New Year’s Eve, 77, I had enough momentum in my advocacy ” we gotta go to the Vortex” for the Slits! I had a crew with me the night Elvis died, and as we walked back from Turnpike Lane, the nearest dropping off point for the N29 night bus, and two days into my sixteenth year, the Slits were part of my coming of age.

thanks, Suzanne, 

 

Russell Brand and Jeremy Paxman made me think: long view or gut feeling?

Posted in Uncategorized on November 6, 2013 by Asher Rospigliosi

Finally made time to watch the Russell Brand, Jeremy Paxman interview. A bit tragic it took me so long, guess I am a bit stuck in work mode at this time of the academic year. My thanks to digital photographer Derek Rangecroft for reminding me to watch it, I get why he was excited.

Brand comes across with a passionate immediacy and ease with Paxman, it is almost shocking. I did feel for Paxman when his tears over his ancestors are condemned as emotional porn, though I would have to agree on many levels.

Does Brand offer an alternative I can take seriously? That is harder to evaluate. He certainly is articulate about the many ways the current political class fail to offer a believable sense of engagement with the deep structural problems we face of the environment, or the escalating and disastrous unequal of distribution and of resources and opportunities.

I certainly think this debate is good watching, not just for the fireside manner of Brand (in a posh hotel room), with his funny asides about beards and armpits hair mingling, nor just for Paxman trying to get at what a revolution would look like, but for getting the viewer to think. What would Make a difference? What matters in the choices we make? Can we do better?

These questions have both gut instinct responses and more long term, and thoughtful responces. I suspect the interview was so galvanising, partly because the appeal of Brand and Paxman are so opposite. Brand really does grab our emotional outrage, at the patent unfairness of much about how the western word works, Paxman articulates the long view “what would it look like, this revolution?” Yet as television talkers, they share a common capacity to have us participate in their conversations.

JAN ŠVANKMAJER: The Inner Life of Objects some really cool creatures

Posted in art, Film, films, fotos, Uncategorized with tags , , on October 12, 2013 by Asher Rospigliosi

I really enjoyed seeing the sculptures Jan Svankmajer made with found objects. A fantastic  form of taxidermy.JAN-SVANKMAJER-The-Inner-Life-of-Objects

His film looks interesting, I love Tenniel’s visualisation of Alice, but his 1986 film looked pretty cool too.

Nice evening out with Mitch and Eme, topped and tailed with a great session preparing the Business School for open day with a cool bunch of international students to start and a Meat Liquor burger to finish, and a quick couple of fine bourbons in the Great Eastern along the way.

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Asher Rospigliosi

Enjoyed another sensitive Hong Sang-soo film: Woman on the Beach

Posted in Film, films on October 10, 2013 by Asher Rospigliosi

My second Hong Sang-soo movie in a month. This director really catches something about relationships and feelings. I love how universal his characters seem, and yet for me as a European male, also exotic. They are so situated in Korean culture. It makes me look (and think) twice. Like his earlier Power of Kangwon Province,  Woman on the Beach felt innovative in the storytelling, with out contrivance. I want more

womanonthebeach

Forward Guidance: is Mark Carney bringing rastaman vibes to uplift the UK economy?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 8, 2013 by Asher Rospigliosi

When I was a youth the word, sound power of forward guidance was a rastaman vibe  that offered an uplift to one who heard it. I loved to shout it, in situations such as a crowd, making careful progress through the gate to a dance. Songs such as Forward Ever, Backwards Never (Jacob Miller RIP), quoted Maurice Bishop and Guidance by Michael Prophet ensured these words were widely shared, at least among my spars in North London in the late seventies and eighties.

Mark Carney, is a only a few years younger than me. Did he get these same good vibes, growing up in the Salad Bowl of multicultural Canada? I really hope so!

Sure would be great if the stability his economic planning seems to offer includes an ‘enshallah’ and a prayer

Update on the 101 Happiness activities book, progress so far

Posted in happiness with tags on January 19, 2013 by Asher Rospigliosi

In December, Tom and I asked for contributions to the book we are writing: 101 Activities for Happiness Workshops; this is an update to let you know how we are progressing.

The call was circulated by several national and international happiness studies and positive psychology organisations. We are very grateful for the kind effort of those who forwarded our call for contributions.

We received many contributions as a result of this call in many different forms, from one-line ideas and suggestions to fully structured activities.  We are now working on writing these up in a format suitable for the book. We have made good progress, and have about fifty gathered so far.

We feel it is likely that there will be enough to justify the title of the book, but whatever happens, we will share the resulting collection with all those who contributed and will let contributors know how we are progressing as we work through the ideas.

We are still happy to receive further suggestions, if you have more to offer!

 
asher and Tom

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