Uncle Robin 1951 – 2014

Robin-Williams-robin-williams-32089824-2798-3916Yesterday most of the world woke up to the news that Robin Williams had passed away.

I was in a decidedly un-glamorous place as I scrolled through Facebook and found out for myself (embarrassing source of all my news). My subsequent scream from the bathroom caused Mr Bee to get very annoyed when he realised I hadn’t just been injured or attacked.

It is always strange when a beloved celebrity passes away. This year we have already been rocked by the passing of another favourite, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and in similarly shocking circumstances (all still alleged). Hoffman from a heroin overdose in his own bathroom and now Williams, who is believed to have taken his own life.

It’s just so very sad. I guess when you think about death at a not even that old age, you hope for something quick and painless. Tragic, of course but natural. To consider the ongoing suffering of somebody famous for making others feel better is a bitter punchline in itself.

This morning as I was stomping around the park thinking about this subject and of what Robin meant to me, I got to thinking about the joke Rorschach tells in Watchmen:

I heard a joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor… I am Pagliacci.” Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.

Moral of the story: you never know.

Now, I don’t feel qualified to comment on what sort of torment must lead a person to such a hopeless place. I don’t think it’s the cowards way out though.

I know a few things about mental illness and depression, I know a bit about addiction but all my experience is second hand. I know it’s serious and that we should be able to talk about it openly, without judgment and help should be readily available. It goes further than that though and I understand this.

I just feel incredibly sad. I feel as though the world will genuinely have an empty hole in it now. Robin always felt like an uncle to me and when we spoke about him, Mr Bee and I called him ‘Uncle Robin’.

Had he been my real uncle (and I do love my actual uncles), I imagine Robin would have been able to fix anything with a hairy armed bear hug. Nothing could be bad within that embrace and nothing would ever light up the room like that smile. That laugh.

Now this is my fantasy, of an uncle I’ll never have but I’m sure his own children felt that way about him. I’m sure his friends, his wife, all his loved ones felt that way too. I hope he’s at peace now.

Rest easy, Peter Pan.

New Blogs: A Round-up of What I Am Reading Right Now

It’s not all picnics down Memory Lane round here, you know. blog-closet-t-shirt-Favim.com-147492

I may have shed loads of unresolved issues to work through via the medium of blogging (and some light disco) but I also read a lot of great stuff too. I am particularly happy this month as three of my friends have started blogs and they are all magnificent creatures with a lot to say, so my Reader has never looked so good.

Don’t worry though, I’m more than happy to share. Without further ado, my favourite new blogs. Enjoy!

  • MashHead – this is the mind mince of my colleague and friend, Becky and covers all manner of genre, from music and film through to festival survival, delicious snacking and moreish recipe goodness. I am lucky enough to be in the same team as my creative and interesting pal, so although our work (Co-ordinator) can be a pain in the butt, at least we have each other. Go read!

Stand out post: Beck looks back on her trip to Primavera Sound 2014
Read for: New listens

  • Double Gym & Tonic - This blog’s tagline, “I squat in front of the refrigerator” sets the tone right away. Honest and funny, it’s author, Frannie is one of the best things to have come out of Canada since Ryan Gosling and poutine (both together?). She is also my friend and I’m grateful for that every day. If you’re into exercise, food or just fancy a lol, get involved.

Stand out post: Why run?
Read for: An honest account of why this girl exercises

  • The Bohemian Within – Col is another relatively new friend which is sad in a way, since she just moved back to Oz but fabulous in another because at least we got to meet at all right? You’ve gotta count your blessings in this life and this bohemian soul is one of them. Read for an injection of loveliness with a bite and stay for all the talk of Gluten Free cupcakes. YUMMY!

Stand out post: There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about this and it’s subject matter, of course
Read for: Life ponderings that we can all identify with

  • Cloud in a Teacup - Who says pretty things aren’t always what they appear to be? Shivani has a blog that consists of gorgeous imagery and content that is a genuine pleasure to read. We have a lot of similar tastes and so one day I hope to take a little tour Up North to see some of the great places she has blogged about first hand. Read for some great inspiration and a lovely view of the world as Shivani sees it.

Stand out post: There are loads but I like this most recent one because HATERS
Read for: Genuine love for local spots like The Butterfly Cabinet plus did I mention the photography?

  • Hannah Reads Stuff – I was a fan of Hannah Writes Stuff back in the day (it wasn’t that long ago) so I already knew I dug this girl. As a massive book fiend I am firmly behind what Hannah blogs about, I’ve never read a review I didn’t appreciate even if our opinions have differed on a particular title. Again, I think we have quite similar tastes (I was outraged by the ending of Gone Girl, while Hannah was also not a fan) which is nice when you want to discuss books and I can’t get enough of her recommendations. Basically, I would read an old shopping list passed off as a blog post and still be satisfied.

IMG_2046Stand out post: All of them, sorry not picking just one!
Read for: Thoughtful reviews like this one and also some great introductions to covers I might otherwise have missed

  • Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys) – I had to include this movie review blog because I just love it. I love when a new post pops up in my reader as it is invariably something I have just seen, want to see or had forgotten about thus must see immediately! The reviews are very well done, detailed and… look don’t waste another minute with me waffling on about them, go and see for yourself. Go.

Stand out post: It’s hard but my favourite posts to date have been: this, this and this
Read for: No nonsense reviewing of a wide range of films including some underrated gems and some good horror (my favourite genre)

So there you are. Some fun new blogs to get stuck in to. I hope you find as much joy in them as I do on a day-to-day basis.

Now, give me some recommendations please! It’s only fair.

 

 

Forget About Love: Nymphomaniac Review

Charlotte-Gainsbourg-NymphomaniacOn Monday I went straight from work into a four hour sex film.

Not just any four hour sex film, you understand (I’m not that continental), but Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (Vol. I & II).

I’m going to start my review by first saying a few things. Firstly, there is a lot of fucking involved so there is no skirting around that. Nymph is a story about sex addiction, the destruction of lives as a direct consequence of said addiction and the journey from self-hatred to acceptance, so if it hadn’t been full of scenes of rutting I would have been surprised.

Since the story is being handled by von Trier, who has scarred me for life in the past, I would expect nothing less. Secondly, I’m not going to waffle on about the story line. All I will say is that one evening a man finds a woman knocked out in an alleyway and, since she is reluctant to go to the hospital, takes her home. Once there, she tells him, in great graphic detail, the history of her erotic life.

Finally, my last comment before I give my thoughts: on checking out IMDB’s reviews for Nymph, I was hard pressed to find a positive summary. This intrigued me so I went digging and I can honestly say, I don’t get it. I get that not everybody is able to handle such eye-opening scenes of sex and violence. Fine. But nothing I found in many of those reviews rang true for me. My only conclusion is that there are people out there who have been swayed by the controversy and are unwilling to see beyond the ‘porn’.

However, I bloody loved it.nymphomaniac-stacy-martin-sophie-kennedy-clark-slice

Yes the main protagonist, Joe, does a lot of shagging. She starts young and keeps on trucking. Some of the practices she involves herself in make me wince, even though I can understand the compulsion. The cast is good looking for the most part which is handy as you see them naked quite a bit.

The acting has been one of the most criticised parts in the reviews I have read, but I don’t agree. Sure, Shia LeBeouf‘s accent is confusing (South African? Danish?) but he does a fair job as Jerome. Young Joe is incredible; a brave and bright eyed Lolita. Uma Thurman completely steals the first instalment with her passive aggressive-on-acid turn and Christian Slater is a total DILF (thank God for eye candy).

Nymphomaniac-Poster-Jamie-Bell-is-KNymph is really funny. Like, laugh out loud hilaire. There are moments of genuine comedy that I wasn’t prepared for. I think the concept of the not knowing what to expect made me go in with an uneasy feeling and what I saw was touching, funny, beautiful and grimy; a cornucopia of emotion.

All in all, I think it should be seen. I’ve spent the last few days talking about it and plenty of people have asked me how it was. Nobody cared this much about my opinion on Cuban Fury, funnily enough.

So, I will say this: if you want to watch something a bit different, have four hours (FOUR HOURS) to spare and aren’t opposed to looking at a lot of bodily fluid/penises/vaginas/gerbils, then why not? You could do worse.

I also think that the scenes I most enjoyed were the scenes with Jamie Bell. I fancy him, of course but I found them/him intriguing. Without Spoiler Alerting all over the shop, his influence over the Older Joe (the brilliant Charlotte Gainsbourg) is disturbing but somehow, the easiest to understand.

This could just be lust for the grown up Billy Elliott, or… I have a hidden sadomasochist lurking deep inside.

Happy shagging, Campers!