Taking a Week Off

Anyone with a passing interest in this site’s doings will by now have noticed the obvious – no posts, not since Saturday at any rate. What’s going on? Is it the end?

Well, not quite. I’m still very much here and can’t even claim to have broken my usual one–per-day posting routine by going off on a glamorous holiday, because sadly I haven’t. I guess I’d call it nothing more or less than taking a week off, trying to avoid burnout after putting together a week’s schedule of films that failed to inspire me. That isn’t the films’ fault, of course. There have been lean weeks in the schedules before, but this time I just couldn’t be bothered to cover them without the feeling that doing so would be a chore, and there’s no worse motivation than that.

For the record, I had Chariots of Fire on this week’s list, timed to coincide with some summer sporting event or other that you may have heard of. I wasn’t looking forward to watching Chariots again – it kind of set the tone for British films aspiring to critical and commercial success in forgoing big budgets providing they were set in some semi-remembered past, focused on poshos and were very, very dull. It’s a boring film, which somehow moves with glacial slowness whilst covering a really interesting subject. Worse still was its indication to future projects that this was exactly the way to go.

At the same time, it has that fantastic score by Vangelis, one used as part of the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympics. The ceremony itself turned out to be a genuinely jaw dropping affair for me. I’d never seen anything quite like it and subsequently went on a bender of listening to Underworld’s back catalogue whilst waiting impatiently for the tie-in album. Employing Danny Boyle to co-ordinate it was a masterstroke – northern and left-wing, two elements that stood out within an event that might very well have substituted style, class and a streak of fun for endless fireworks and dancers. Even its use of the Chariots theme was inspired, shunning the prospect of a straight, reverential playing for the funny, gently piss taking sketch featuring Mr Bean. It wasn’t the Queen actually playing herself alongside James Bond for a laugh, or the sight of thousands of volunteers recreating the bit in The Fellowship of the Ring where leafy Isengard turns into an industrial hell, but it was cracking viewing.

Anyway, my apologies for being absent. I do have a half-written piece on Vertigo that needs finishing and will try and get it online before too long. In the meantime, there’s this superb critique on the same by friend of the site, Sergio, over at Tipping my Fedora to recommend (it’s already better than anything you’ll get here and I haven’t even finished it yet, bloody hell), and if you’re really missing my stylings, my thoughts on another sporting institution have just been posted at the excellent The Two Unfortunates and you can read it here.

9 Replies to “Taking a Week Off”

    1. Gah! A break would be nice but as I’m currently working my notice I’m getting next to no leave and certainly no holiday. Still, I remind myself it’s all for the best and that trip to sunnier climes will happen next summer. Oh yes it will.

  1. A occasional break from blogging is a necessary thing in my opinion Mike. Batteries need recharging and, especially with a high output like yours, it’s important to feel fresh about what you’re writing. Looking forward to your new postings.

    1. Thanks Colin. It’s given me a chance to start working through the Douglas Sirk collection, which I’ve really enjoyed, along with ‘getting out a bit’ in the few nice days of what passes for a British summer.

  2. Much to my surprise I’ve found myself really getting into the Olympics, which has knackered my film viewing as well as my blogging (to an extent). What it also means is that, after hearing it played on loop at countless medal ceremonies, I never want to hear that bloody Chariots of Fire theme ever again. And I’ve never even seen the film.

    1. Yes same here – it has been fairly good, hasn’t it? As for Chariots, I do get the fact it’s supposed to be a worthy picture, but I just find it dull and the sort of thing you would watch almost out of obligation than because you want to be entertained. British cinema seems to do this so often, and the Academy falls for it nearly every time.

      I was talking with some buddies a couple of weeks ago about the current Olympic stories that may make a good film, and came up with a concept based on the biography of Victoria Pendleton. If you watched the BBC documentary about her that was on before the Olympics, several things stand out (i) the arse-breaking level of commitment and training that goes into being a potential Gold medal winner (ii) the way her coaching team caused all kinds of problems for her when she made the mistake of falling in love with one of them (iii) she’s far from difficult on the eyes. I claim first dibs on the script, along with the perfect casting of Aisling Loftus as Ms Pendleton. You heard it here first.

      1. I missed the Pendleton documentary, but I heard from someone who did watch it that there’s a pretty strong rivalry with the Aussie Anna Meares — perfect plot for the sports side of a film. You’d just have to finish with the keirin rather than the sprint for a good ol’ Hollywood ending!

      2. Yes, the programme did explore the Meares rivalry, the only bum note being that because it was told from Pendleton’s perspective made her out to be a bit of a shit and added an undercurrent of jealousy (Pendleton being quite glamorous, etc). But you’re right – it’s all there, though for the record the film in my head finishes with Meares winning the track final as a ‘win’ for the supposedly lesser athlete and more normal looking person…

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