Thursday, 17 November 2011

Unpacking My Library

A couple of years ago Jo Steffens brought out a book called Unpacking my Library: Architects and Their Books (Yale University Press, 2009), a wonderfully snoopy interesting look at the libraries of architects. Now, the very fine scholar Leah Price has brought out, in the same series, a book called Unpacking my Library: Writers and Their Books (Yale University Press, 2011). I want it!

Recently the FT did a piece on it, which you can read here.

This is library of James Wood and Claire Messud, in Cambridge Massachusetts.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Weekend, dir. Andrew Haigh (2011)

Weekend, written, edited and directed by Andrew Haigh, opened in the UK on Nov. 3. It tells the story of Russell (Tom Cullen), a nice gay guy, pretty sorted, who has an ordinary life and good friends, who are mostly straight. After visiting his best friend Jamie, along with his wife and child and some of their friends, he makes excuses and goes home. Instead he goes to a nightclub where he (eventually) picks up Glen. The story turns on their weekend together. Little ‘happens’, in the sense that they spend time taking drugs, having sex, and especially, talking. Talking about nothing, talking about identity, about what each wants from life, what each gets from it. The film is about intimacy, about love, about intersubjectivity. It is nothing short of a stunning achievement and Tom Cullen’s performance is one of the best I have ever seen on screen. It is shot beautifully in Nottingham, with Russell’s 14th-floor flat observed with the power of someone who has lived there for a lifetime. The most powerful thing about this film is its ordinariness, its lack of veneer, or polish. It depends for its success on a magnificently moving script and a remarkable chemistry between both main actors (Tom Cullen and Chris New).

On the weekend of the ridiculously over-hyped opening of the Leonardo exhibition, I felt as if I had just discovered another masterpiece. High Art is alive and well.


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