Tuesday, February 25, 2020
There are a few decent visual jokes - I couldn't help liking the psychologist-turned-TV-presenter's outside broadcast outfit that has a camera on her head and lights built into her tits, and she wears some good gothic horror stuff to actually present her shows.
But mainly it's just horrible.
Watched at Jane's shop, the Old Co-op on Horns Road in Stroud.
Saturday, February 22, 2020
There's lots that isn't in the book. I don't really understand how the Rojava not-statelet works, and I certainly don't understand what economic model it follows in the absence of a state. There are co-ops, but are there wages, prices, profits? Are these set by the market or something else?
Some bits are too turgid to read, and some too confusing. I find it hard to believe that a Marxist-Leninist inflected nationalist armed struggle turned itself into an eco-anarchist inflected feminist movement, and I'd like to know a lot more about how that happened and what it felt like. I can't believe it was all due to a revelation in prison of Ocalan.
Still, it's utterly amazing what they are even trying to do - to build a libertarian, feminist society in the midst of monstrous hierarchical and patriarchal regimes and movements. Even the fact that they aspire to this is magnificent, and they deserve all the help that they can get...and the book is worthwhile for bringing that out.
Thursday, February 20, 2020
Hard to say more without a spoiler, but it's beautifully shot, acted and plotted.
Watched on BBC iPlayer on smart TV.
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Schultze and his two mates are made redundant from the salt mine in former East Germany where they work, and they don't know what they'll do with themselves. Schultze picks up his accordion, and accidently discovers Zydeco on the radio, and now he wants to play that instead of the polkas that he's played to date.
If this had been an British film, he'd have been charmingly redeemed by his discovery and he would have had a new life as a Cajun...but it's a German film, so he just carries on as before, sort of half-heartedly searching but not finding. The poster and the blurb and really misleading...he never has a moment in which he finds new life through the new music, and he never leaps for joy, or for anything else.
He goes to America and rents a small boat, which he drives down a river (the Mississipi?) through the bayous, but he never quite finds the local music that he's apparently after...just more people playing German polkas, and then Czechs playing Tex-Czech polkas. He almost makes friends along the way, but not quite. And it mainly gets bleaker and bleaker.
Watched in the Middle Floor at Springhill, from an old-fashioned DVD.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Monday, February 10, 2020
The family is a personal, social, cultural and agricultural disaster zone - their children suffer from bee stings, cow kicks, each other, abuse and neglect. Although they are barely part of the commercial nexus (they sell their honey to a small-scale dealer for cash) they have absolutely no feel for sustainabilty...not just in environmental terms, but in terms of planning for any kind of crop next year. They lose fifty calves because the husband has delegated feeding them to his wife, who has delegated it to the children, who just don't. Naturally their slash-and-burn methods devastate the production of their old woman neighbour, who has told them all she knows about honey production - I was going to say 'taught them all she knows', but she has taught them nothing.
Oh, and it's all actual 'found footage', in that the camera crew apparently went there and filmed without understanding Macedonian or knowing what was going on. Which means all that the brutal and incompetent and harsh scenes really happened, and no-one did anything different because they were being filmed.
It's beautifully filmed, but it's not beautiful. The landscape is harsh, the woman is ugly, the dwellings are impoverished but without the beauty that sometimes comes from simplicity. The music is amazing, but sometimes it's almost like atonal noise, so that it seems to be pure emotion rather than anything like a tune.
Watched at Lansdown Hall through Stroud Film Club.
Sunday, February 09, 2020
And it's something that I not only understand, but feel - I'm aware that I now feel like an ex-Londoner, because London doesn't want people like me and my family any more, but I don't really feel like I belong in small-town Gloucestershire either; many of my friends are also people who moved here from somewhere else, and some of the locals feel aggrieved that I'm part of the trend that makes their town no longer affordable for their kids, and I can see their point. There are great bits about that in the book, and I was delighted to learn about Zadists.
But it's written in the most abstruse, complicated language - and with incomprehensible diagrams that are supposed to illuminate the argument but really really don't. I've had this experience before with Bruno Latour, when I read his stuff about science and the labour process, and later about the embedded social relations of technology like caravels. He's got really important things to say, but it's absolutely not accessible to a lay audience, at least not one of English-language heritage. I wonder whether he's let down by bad translation, but I don't think it's that. It's more that the English and French intellectual traditions are so alien from each other, that even though this book appears to be in English, it isn't. Which rather speaks to his point, if you think about it.
Watched on Netflix...or was it Amazon Prime? I don't remember.
Sunday, February 02, 2020
This couple of sentences stuck out so much I wanted to quote them in full:
"Some spoke critically of neoliberalism, the sense that the idea of the free market has somehow crowded out all others. This was true enough, but the very use of the word was usually a kowtow before an unchangeable hegemony."
So is neoliberalism a useful concept or not? Speaking critically of it is...er, true? Or a kowtow to something?