17th September 2019

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Posteritati recently acquired a batch of incredible black and white John Cassevetes posters (including this beauty for A Woman Under the Influence), designed by the director himself with photographer/producer Sam Shaw, and they’ve completely stolen my heart. Bold, stark, stunning, perfect.

16th September 2019

Rather excitingly, the new edition of World of the Unknown: Ghosts arrived in the post today. The reprint came about thanks to Usborne’s Anna Howorth, who campaigned for it after a tweet about the 1977 book got a huge response – it would appear that it was an early gateway to horror for a lot of people around my age. There’s a bit about that tweet-to-print journey here. Aside from a new foreword by Reece Shearsmith and a few choice quotes on the back page (including, somehow, me), it’s identical to the original. Hopefully the love will continue and the others in the series – Monsters and UFOs – will get a similar treatment.

14th September 2019

After a summer hiatus and a brief flirtation with Substack, I’m newslettering again – with good old faithful Tinyletter. It keep things nice and simple, not too many bells and whistles. And there’s something rather endearing about the fact that Mailchimp seem to have forgotten it exists, so it’s just sat there all neglected and pristine and doing what it has always done. More internet things would benefit from being allowed to stay still for a while, rather than endure incessant trend-chasing and feature-mutation. Anyway, if you like occasional emails about design, subscribe here.

12th September 2019

Some very small reviews of recent films:

  • Rams. Yet another brilliant documentary from Gary Hustwit. Watching it, I could feel a Vitsoe-shaped hole burning into my wallet. Would gladly watch an extended cut with more of Dieter Rams waving his walking stick of judgment at the contents of the Vitra Design Museum.

  • It Chapter Two. Not as good as the first, and it is very long (although that kind of feels right – I recall the original going on forever), but still a lot of fun. And the casting-up is spot on.

  • Overlord. Remember watching Band of Brothers for the first time and thinking this really needs a random Resident Evil episode? Watched in black and white, because why not. Not much to it, but it looked fabulous.

  • Happy Death Day. Really rather fun. Tone and setting reminded me a lot of Scream 2. Jessica Rothe is particularly good – a little bit Jodie Comer, a little bit Rachel McAdams. The second one isn’t as good, but deserves points for weaving in and out and around the first.

  • Fast Five. First of these I’ve seen since the first one, many years ago. Rather fun, in an “Ocean’s 11 fanfic written by a teenager who is trying his best to avoid some very big questions about his sexuality” kind of way.

  • Searching. Fantastic. Does marvellous things within the constraints of its high concept. And it completely Up’d me within the first ten minutes.

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Spent most of it thinking, where is this going? Nice to look at – it’s well worth checking out Clothes on Film’s costume analysis – but felt like two or three better films mashed into one (see also: Toy Story 4). Mostly just made me want to revisit The Quick and the Dead.

  • Ralph Breaks the Internet. Enjoy screaming “well that makes no sense whatsoever” at the Cars movies? You’re going to love this!

  • The Emoji Movie. Imagine if Inside Out and Ralph Breaks the Internet had a baby. And then you dropped it.

More of this sort of thing on my Letterboxd profile.

11th September 2019

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Love this photograph by Jenny Theolin of a 2,500 year-old sculpture found on Delos. Not sure who he is or why he looks like that – a little bit Bacon, a little bit Voldemort – but I’ve had him on my desktop for several weeks now, a kind of memento mori.

8th September 2019

The Face (it’s back!) talks to puppeteer Beccy Henderson about her work on the wonderful The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. It’s weird, the original film has never really appealed to me – the gelflings always felt a little too uncanny valleyish for my liking – but the series has completely swept me away. Watching the first episode, we just sat there grinning, making cooing sounds at every little bit of design. Haven’t felt that swept up by the craft of a production since The Fellowship of the Ring. Hard to believe something so magical exists. Really looking forward to delving into Dan Wallace’s making of book, which will no doubt find a good home next to Brian Froud’s exceptional The Goblins of Labyrinth.

4th September 2019

A community of people called Randonauts are trying to glitch the simulation they think we live in by travelling to randomly-generated locations. I’m not sure if the logic really works – if we are in a simulation then the experiment itself will be part of it? Like trying to climb out of snakes and ladders by using a ladder. Nevertheless, the process does sound rather appealing; a way to reframe little magical locations that might otherwise be missed – discarded items, books, the occasional Fidel Castro shrine – and give them some meaning, metaphysical or not. It’s a new way of seeing, something that’s always welcome.