Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The best film ever made

Last week the best film ever made was released. Critics and audiences alike are unanimous in agreeing that its blend of suspense, action, CGI, acting, cinematography, sex, violence, misogyny and misanthropy make it the best thing ever seen. Insipid 3 has broken all box office records and gained more 5 star reviews than anything ever. Famous directors across the globe – from Spielberg and Scorsese to Anderson and erm, Anderson, have literally thrown in the towel, wondering what the point of it all is anymore. The pinnacle has been reached, why continue with this fruitless endeavour of churning out sub-Insipid 3 fodder? There was no clue whatsoever in either Insipid 1 or Insipid 2 that the third instalment would be such a defining moment of international cinema. Audiences and critics united have laughed, cried, been terrified and outraged by this cinematic tour de force that seemed to come out of nowhere yet always been here. 

• Insipid 4 will be released next year. 

Previously on Barnflakes:
Kim Vs Kim
Vertigo Knocks Kane Off Top Spot

Thursday, January 15, 2015

London Libraries #3: Upper Norwood

I really can't complain about Upper Norwood library (on Westow Hill in Crystal Palace), though obviously I will: due to cutbacks it's only open three days a week. Its DVDs cost more to rent than to buy in a charity shop. Finally, I've never actually borrowed a book from the library. But its plus points outnumber its minuses: just look at the second headline down on its website: THE PHOTOCOPIER STILL WORKS! Love it. The library has an old-fashioned, musty feel to it. It's the only independent, jointly funded library in the UK. Margaret Lockwood, who I watched only a few days ago in The Lady Vanishes (one of my favourite films), was a regular visitor: she actually borrowed The Lady Vanishes* from the library – the book, not the DVD, pay attention, this was in the 1930s. There are always lots of books, DVDs, CDs and comics on sale too.

Previously on Barnflakes:
London libraries
Crystal Palace subway
Random Film Review: The Pleasure Garden
London through its charity shops #25: Crystal Palace
The dinosaurs of Crystal Palace

*The film was actually based on The Wheel Spins (1936) by Ethel Lina White.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Down these mean streets a man must go, my dear Watson

Aside from a woman 'kicking and punching a man to death and dumping his body in a skip after he tried to chat her up' last year, nothing sinister tends to come from suburban Norwood in South East London.

So it comes as a surprise that the creators of two of the coolest detectives ever – Sherlock Holmes and Philip Marlowe – both lived within a few miles of each other in the seemingly sleepy suburb of Norwood (though not, unfortunately, at the same time). Just as his writing was taking off, and he was able to quit his not-quite-successful-career as a doctor to become a full-time author, Conan Doyle moved to Tennison Road in South Norwood, where he would live with his family from 1891-1894. He wrote a Sherlock Holmes story, The Adventure of the Norwood Builder (1903) partly set in the area and some of The Sign of Four (1890) is said to be too, though Conan Doyle hadn't moved to the area then, so it may be unlikely.

Last year the house in Auckland Road, Upper Norwood, where Raymond Chandler lived from 1900-1905, was given a blue plaque. The author of novels featuring the hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe, including The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely, Chandler studied at nearby Dulwich College where his grounding in the classics apparently made his pulp novels a cut above the rest. Philip Marlowe got his name from Marlowe House (named after the writer Christopher Marlowe), which Chandler belonged to whilst at Dulwich College. He also overlapped, though never met, fellow author PG Wodehouse.

I love the idea of writers living near other and bumping into each other. Even if they lived in different times, as Chandler and Conan Doyle did, the concept of them meeting is tantalising. I can imagine them convening  together for coffee and cake and discussing how to surreptitiously kill someone with arsenic or deadly nightshade.

Previously on Barnflakes:
Plucked from the ether
Alice and Arthur

Sunday, January 11, 2015

All Types of Ass In Stock

Inspired by Economy Custard's Missing Letter of the Week, the above has two key missing letters from the word GLASS, from an old, now closed down, glass and mirror shop opposite Brockwell Park. The missing letters just must have been done on purpose.