I’ve been meaning to check out Françoise Hardy’s music for ages, and finally took the Spotify plunge. There is plenty that I like the sound of, but I love this album. It is pop music (released in 1962, the same year as The Beatles’ first single) stripped right down to its barest essentials: catchy melodies, simple lyrics, great riffs and effortless cool. She’s like some super-stylish chanteuse singing over Johnny Cash’s backing band. Continue reading

That is an article title that I defy you to say 10 times quickly.

Director Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven, Erin Brockovich, Magic Mike and many more…) put something on his blog in 2014 that I have only just discovered. It is a lesson in moviemaking.

He took a particularly famous film by Steven Spielberg, put it into black and white, and took the sound out, replacing it with music. He basically turned it into a silent film.

And then he invited us to watch it with this simple premise: that you will still know exactly what is going on at any given moment. Sure, there will be the odd detail you might miss, but what is on screen is expressed so clearly, with all of the tricks of cinema, that you really don’t need dialogue or sound. Continue reading

There… aren’t that many amazing YouTube channels out there on music, I feel. #ControversialOpinion. There are a lot… but very few that I personally rate. There’s a lot on technique, construction, kind of ‘hard theory’. But no one has really done an Every Frame A Painting take on music.

What Nahre Sol does, I think, is really interesting. She goes in a completely different and wonderful direction. She doesn’t do video essays, so much as video poetry. Continue reading

Way back in March, when H and I were visiting a Lucien Freud exhibition in Dublin, one of the rooms had televisions showing a discussion between a number of women about what ‘the nude’ represents in the history of Western art. (Spoiler: nothing good, basically.) And one or two of the phrases that one of the women stuck in my mind enough for me to hit Google when I got back to the hotel, and find out what the programme was.

It turned out to be Ways of Seeing, a British documentary from 1972 that is recognised as one of the great documentary series on art. Continue reading

It all started the morning after a bout of insomnia, when I was trying to get stuff done but was too tired to reasonably function. I wanted something on in the background, but nothing that would confuse or irritate me. (I have reached that age where 70% of all media irritates me.)

And I found this on Netflix, and it was perfect.

Or, at least… it was when I watched it with the sound turned off. I’ve learnt my lesson with Luc Besson over the years. His sci-fi films look amazing, but they are very, very silly.  Continue reading