June 18, 2020
music
June 15, 2020

The best podcasts make you think. One of the most recent episodes of the excellent Faculty of Horror covered the films Rec and its sequel, Rec 2. During the episode, hosts Andrea and Alex discuss the film in the context of the shared Spanish trauma of the civil war. The work of Picasso is discussed, especially Guernica and how some of the elements in play in that work crossover and influence this pair of movies,especially the first one.

The episode also got me thinking about the work of Robert Capa. He was a photojournalist who covered the Spanish Civil War, taking perhaps his most famous photo during the conflict, The Falling Soldier.

The Fallen SoldierThe Fallen Soldier

There’s still some debate over whether the photo was real or staged (common consensus currently favours the latter). Capa took many other (non-staged) photos during the conflict and even went on to land ashore with the troops during D-Day. He took a series of photographs that day only to have the majority of them destroyed by an over-zealous lab tech. The pictures that do remain have a washed out slightly surreal look to them. This imagery later went on to influence the look of the infamous opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan.

I say all this because there is something of Capa’s work present in Rec, the closeness to its subject, the notion of using film to speak truth to power and even the way in which the main character’s facade falls away during the movie (as discussed on the podcast). Post civil war, Capa presented himself as a no nonsense, swashbuckling type. He had one great love (fellow photojournalist Gerda Taro whose story is equally as fascinating) tragically cut short during the conflict. Later, he began to lean hard into the adventurer archetype, only later admitting weakness and fear when he came under fire in Israel. Capa himself would be later killed by a land mine in what was then French Indochina.

Ultimately though, Capa and his contemporaries (including Taro) were responsible for the getting the truth out about the Spanish Civil war to the wider world.

Selected photos of his work from the conflict can be found here.

The podcast episode can be found here.

podcast stray thoughts movies
June 12, 2020

This is a test post to see if the Quoteback extension works here.

There’s something exceptional about ending a journey in Pulsar, there’s no grand galactic menace, merely the space trucker lifestyle with an eat-what-you-kill mercenary underpinning that you share with your team. The spoils of buccaneering is a sort of ritualistic breaking of bread with your motley crew, the command room your de facto dinner table. It’s deeply satisfying to pull together as a unit, coordinating every function of the ship with precise choreography that adapts to every situation and finally come to know that you truly understand one another.
games
June 8, 2020

The gun barely remembered being a person. The transfer process made things cloudy. Maybe that was the point. They need you to remember the training, where to aim, how to sever a spinal chord at five hundred yards, but not where you come from, or who you were before basic.

The gun helped frightened boys kill and maim. It sang them lullabies in cramped foxholes. It told them everything would be alright and soon they’d get to go home. The gun watched as the humanity seeped from their eyes, welcoming another brother into the fold.

fiction drabble
June 8, 2020

https://soundcloud.com/citationsneeded/cops-push-outside-agitator-line-exploit-real-fears-of-far-right-violence-to-delegitimize-protests

As ever, Citations Needed is doing the lord’s work.

podcast politics
April 29, 2020

By Force AloneBy Force Alone

I enjoyed this immensely.

It’s like a mixtape version of the Arthurian legend peppered with pop culture references, grime, grit and clever asides.

Towards the end Tidhar then skewers the myth, exposes the bullshit of nationalism and romanticism and lets the reader watch it all bleed out.

Yet here they are nevertheless, these conscious beings of reconstituted matter. Marching blithely along, ready to die for an idea that makes no sense if you stare at it head on. This island’s just a piece of Europe with the land bridge submerged, just another clump of dirt in the middle of an ocean, on a world that spins through space, in a universe older and weirder than anything even a Merlin can imagine. Why would you die for this? he wonders. Would it not be better to simply live?”

books