it’s later than you think…

By amy ~ September 12th, 2016 @ 8:27 pm No Comments »

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…and not only are the nights drawing in (curtains shut at seven pm tonight) but it’s starting to feel decidedly backend-ish outside!

This is in sharp contrast to temperatures on the Central Line a couple of weeks ago which were comparable to that of the earth’s core on my arrival for FrightFest’s opening night at least. Not being the warm weather type I decided on a change of tack in the morning and switched to the hitherto unfamiliar Hammersmith & City Line which (being pink) had always appealed anyway and which I’ve never previously had any reason to bother with. And Shepherd’s Bush Market is a lot nicer than Westfield.

Five days, twenty six films on and far too much coffee and junk food later it was all over and back to the real world with no Korean train zombies (seriously, everybody needs to see Train To Busan) and a couple of days rejoining the living in my usual Waterloo stop off after that, home – yay! And on with planning the next lot of charging about – I’m currently feeling particularly jubilant after finally securing a ticket to see my all time favourite band (if I had to pick one) the Pixies, at my all time favourite music venue (if I had to pick one), Brixton Academy in December. And plenty of fun and games before that.

Whilst Manchester’s Grimmfest is not on the itinerary this year thanks in part to my having either seen or deliberately avoided most of the films at FF (but mostly to the total lack of phone-policing; a Diwali theme and cinemagoing don’t mix) I can confirm a mini-trip to Sheffield for the small-but-mighty Celluloid Screams in October; the hotel and travel is booked, the pass bought and the shiny, just-announced programme scrutinised for chunks of free time where a spot of in-room entertaining may take place (in other words, I can get my whore drawers on and rustle up some food and beer money while the stuff I’ve seen already is played). Job done.

The Celluloid Screams programme brings Northern folk an early chance to catch some of the best horror stuff from the London Film Festival and – like my Scottish go-to Dead By Dawn – always inexplicably carries one jaw-droppingly terrible offering to make the remainder shine even brighter; the trick is to spot it in advance which is easier said than done when it’s the Secret Film and not revealed until it starts. Such was the situation surrounding by far the worst film I saw last year, Darling – a pretentious incomprehensible mess that made the previous 2015 front runner Cherry Tree look like The Shining. The politest review-speak description would be ‘polarising’ (a handful of people not on the maker’s A Level Film Studies course rate it as groundbreaking and genre-pushing, everybody else thinks it’s shit). A less polite one would be shit. And anybody who wants to check it out can do so at this years’ Grimmfest.

Thankfully, this years CS schedule looks suitably fab, in the meantime (as a good few have already noticed) I will be back in London for a couple of days next week, and bar that it’s Scarborough for the foreseeable – woohoo! Up to date availability info is always on the front page, for those who keep missing it – further ahead is overleaf. The kids are back at school, the traffic’s normal again and we have our beach back for a few months…

This week’s song of the week may be predictable but my record collection would be a pretty sorry sight without Prince Buster, who passed away last week at 78. May he rest in peace, and always enjoy himself.

More soon!

off to FrightFest!

By amy ~ August 24th, 2016 @ 10:39 pm No Comments »


Hello from Scarborough! Until the morning, anyway.

As most will know it’s been a flying visit and unpack-do laundry-repack situation after spending a lovely and very lazy time in tourist central last week. Possibly the most effort-free part of London in which I’ve ever worked given that everything anybody could really need was pretty much right outside the door, at least food of every description plus bank and bus stops which, being a simple soul, was plenty for me.

For those who (like me) haven’t spent a lot of time there, on the Strand there are also red phone boxes everywhere which was surprisingly festive and cheered me up no end after a nightmarish eight-hour-and-four-train trek to get there at all – I definitely spoke too soon in Previous Blog, and for fear of jinxing myself twice I will offer no comment about any ensuing travel arrangements, possibly ever again. Incidentally, apologies to anybody who got the bollocks about being fully booked all afternoon, but trying to explain why despite leaving the house at 8am I was still two hours away at half past one got old as quickly as you might expect.

I made up for it with a very pleasant evening stroll over to St Paul’s and the new Tate Modern to see the Georgia O’Keefe exhibition (and see above), a rummage round the London Transport Museum (since it was barely five minutes walk away) and with Jackie Brown, Funny Face and the still-wonderful-at-twenty Trainspotting at Summer Screen. SS is over for another year, and the courtyard at Somerset House remains my favourite place to watch a film (in the absence of anywhere else I can do so lying under the stars with blankets, Pringles and a big flask of tea) but a new venue awaits from tomorrow night in the form of the Vue at Shepherds Bush, where by this time I will be awaiting the final film of FrightFest’s opening night, probably drinking beer and idly wondering where the night bus stop is – woohoo!


Needless to say my phone will not only be off but I won’t have it with me, so anybody keen to catch up in Waterloo will need to either email, or keep their powder dry until Tuesday morning when I will be (hopefully) rested, on sparkling form as befits anybody who has spent a weekend watching on-screen carnage of every conceivable permutation (including That New Korean One which a couple of folk have asked me about already), eating out three times a day and not having to do any housework or laundry for ages. And people wonder why I go to these things.

There’s a good chance of some morning availability before I set off on the less-than-arduous shlep from one air-conditioned room at Kings Cross to (mercifully) another at Waterloo, but that’s a secret. I’ll also be unapologetic about skiving for a couple of hours on the Wednesday afternoon to once again put on a hi-vis (and this time a hard hat, I think) to poke about in the dark under Green Park in Down Street station, which sheltered Winston Churchill through a fair bit of the Blitz and which most only get to see a glimpse of nowadays when their Piccadilly Line train rattles through it. Yay!

So on with the last bits of packing and fridge-tidying; a proper update (with proper photos) will be on it’s way soon, but trying to type on a tablet (especially for an unreformed BlackBerry person, as anybody who has met me will know) is terrible and I need to go to bed.

Meanwhile, and apropos of nothing in particular apart from that I found myself doing some varnishing to it the other day, let’s all watch the Beastie Boys Sabotage video! Back in Scarborough on Friday 3rd…

More soon. Including photo news – promise!

hot off the press – almost…

By amy ~ August 11th, 2016 @ 9:54 pm 1 Comment »


Well, yes and no. There’s new photos! But not very many, thanks to my woeful cackhandedness in spending over an hour getting everything ready only to get started on the first set and knock the tripod over whilst blundering about without my glasses – as a result I am minus one Nikon lens (which wouldn’t be the end of the world had I owned more than one, but I don’t). And I’ve had such a busy week I haven’t even had time to look at them.

If I’m honest, I’ve wondered a few times about the actual value of new pictures, given that – unless I’m seriously deluded and/or my eyesight is even worse than I thought – my appearance doesn’t change much from one year to the next. To folks who’ve just happened across my site all the photos are new, and I’m never convinced that regular visitors check back that often because they know what I look like anyway!

But it’s all good fun – sort of. For those who (like me) don’t earn their living having their picture taken, being forced to pore over three or four hundred near-identical images of yourself for hours in the hope of being able to pick out twenty or so in which you have both eyes fully open, just the one chin and generally don’t look too much like the Pillsbury dough boy in a wig and heels is not the way I’d choose to spend a free afternoon, but needs must. I have a few to be going on with upon my return, and when I actually replace the lens and have time for a rerun I’ll have another go. And in the meantime here’s a phone snap to make do!


As the top bit might have indicated the time has whizzed by once again, and at this time tomorrow I will hopefully be well fed, wide awake and cosy in my blanket watching one of my all time favourites, Jackie Brown at Summer Screen – yay! Fingers crossed for no travel disasters, and all being well I will be checking into a brand new spot shortly after lunchtime – it may not be quite what I’m used to, but it’s proximity to Somerset House (first) and fast food (second) was the criteria and looking at Google Maps I believe the objective has been achieved. And if I like it, I’ll be back! Even if I don’t, I’ll likely be this time next year just for the blessed convenience.

A brief update then; I’ll be back in Scarborough next Wednesday, and probably available if I’m not too tired and have done all the laundry. Fast forward a week and I’ll be off again on Thursday 25th for FrightFest, but all in good time. Meanwhile, predictably, my record of the week is brought to us by the Jackie Brown soundtrack (and see also the Shuggie Otis original)…

A return to the 21st century next week, I think. Anyway, I’m saving Dennis Coffey for a special occasion – I just haven’t decided which one.

Back soon!

it’s here!

By amy ~ July 31st, 2016 @ 9:48 pm No Comments »

Or at least, the FrightFest 2016 trailer is, which is nearly as good until the real thing starts in just over three weeks – yay! Given that it’s a horror film festival there are (not entirely unsurprisingly) horror-bits in it so anybody overly squeamish, use your judgement. You’re here in the first place, so you know how to do that.

The start of August heralds my top watching-films-in-London month of the year, thanks not just to FrightFest but the good people at Somerset House for Summer Screen, which I first happened across back in 2009 and which may well be the most pleasant way to go to the cinema anywhere, if (in theory at least) not the most comfortable. It’s all relative; I was comfortable enough to nod off in the middle of Warriors last year despite the necessary lying-flat-on-a-stone-courtyard, but then I could fall asleep in the middle of a Pamplona bull run if I was properly fed, watered and wrapped nicely in a blanket.

With this in mind, it’s worth pointing out that the Closed sign will be going up at 6pm sharp each day of my Covent Garden trip – no exceptions. Thankfully – unlike last year – I won’t have too far to walk but (also unlike last year) I’d like to make a decent job of the picnic, although the evening I ordered takeaway Wagamama online and grabbed it on the way over was a masterstroke, my yaki soba and crispy squids drawing covetous looks from people who’d gone the pasta salad and Pringle route. A repeat will definitely be on the cards this time round.

As for FrightFest, anybody who has ever attended any film festival will know it can be punishing stuff at the best of times; this years’ new location (again) at the Vue Shepherds Bush could have been better thought out given that it’s the Notting Hill Carnival and I can’t say I’m particularly excited about spending my weekend in a shopping centre rather than Soho, but not to worry and let’s just hope the seats are OK. There will be no availability in the mornings this year because of the extra daily travel time involved, but I will be heading straight for Waterloo the day after for a couple of days to make up for it – hooray! More details in good time.

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At the other end of the film viewing comfort scale lies home, my new wall-mounted Smart TV and more specifically Mubi. Why didn’t I sign up for this before? Thirty carefully picked out films to choose from with one expiring and a new one added every day – this week so far I have seen Texas Chainsaw Massacre, La Dolce Vita, To Die For, Dead End, Adventureland and Suspiria. The latest offering at the time of writing is Das Boot, which as anybody who’s seen it will know requires some serious planning to fit into a viewing schedule, but will slot perfectly into my train journey on the twelfth thanks to Mubi’s download facility. And last but not least, I was persuaded to give the mighty Cloverfield another chance after being unconvinced the first time I saw it, since a found footage film about anything is pretty much a guarantee that my money stays in my pocket. After far more huge monster fun than I remember, I can definitely confirm I was wrong. Thank you, Mubi!

Meanwhile, the decorating continues apace and now spans two locations – I’ll be around all week and possibly available later in the day whilst I get stuck into patching up some walls at the flat. Last day in Scarborough is Thursday the eleventh, then I’ll be back for a week from the seventeenth before dashing off to the Bush. It’s all go.

New blog feature: record of the week! The I Wish This Laptop Had Better Speakers award this week for the track I’ve played most whilst stripping crap wallpaper goes to…

More soon. For now, it’s back to the films…

Further Reading

it’s later than you think…

off to FrightFest!

hot off the press – almost…

it’s here!

where did the month go?!

london calling…

here comes summer (finally)…

back from the ‘burgh!

off again (phone included)…

on top of the world!

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