Lady Macbeth

June 26, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. William Oldroyd) (2017) Leskov’s Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (1865) is the template here, a pastoral of straitened femininity, boredom and murder that owes a bit more to Flaubert than Shakespeare or Turgenev. But not a lot – animal lust is the key here and this painterly, pretty, frankly quick little psychodrama is little more than the slightly-higher trash, albeit well executed, beautifully photographed and guiltily pleasurable. We’re somewhere near the moors, in an England (Mtsensk is nowhere to be seen) wedged between Jane Austen and George Eliot, with the lovely, creaking, chilly old manor house as a major character,…

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Old Man

June 23, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC, PETER'S WRITING |
'Old Man' (by Rembrandt)

'Old Man' (by Rembrandt)

Old Man (Neil Young) (written by Neil Young; released April 1972) [What a pretty, simple, soulful song – ah, the circle of life…] x TVC has done a “Testament” that you can warble to this lovely tune: Hey man, I’m nearly dead, Remember what the wise man said, I’m going to Heaven or Hell Or somewhere in between: Don’t think I’ll need a map When I take my little nap, I’m going to state my case Will I still be seen? I think that it won’t be so hard To be ignored at all, Somewhere, somebody else Ought to…

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The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.

No, you can't go back in time and kill baby Hitler.  It's complicated.  (Yes, this is Adolf as a tot).

No, you can't go back in time and kill baby Hitler. It's complicated. (Yes, this is Adolf as a tot).

by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland (June 2017) Neal Stephenson, you promised me time travel, magic, and Ancient Greek – all in the first few pages. You quoted Peter Gabriel! I was so there!  Oh goody, I thought, gentle reader, Mr S is back to  pre-Reamde/Anathem/Seveneves form. Nearly 750 pages later  >sigh<  I can tell you that I was wrong. Mr S misled me. Read our review of Seveneves for a more detailed exegesis of what ails Mr Stephenson’s writing now. Sadly, D.O.D.O lacks even the beauty and science that leavened Seveneves.  There’s no magic or Ancient Greek to be seen, either. Dr Melisande Stokes, Harvard lecturer in ancient language, is writing a record…

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Night’s Lies by Gesualdo Bufalino


(1988) The place of confinement is an island fortress, “It is known as an island but ought to be called a rock.  For it is nothing more than a stack of volcanic tufa heaped up into the form of an enormous snout, wearisomely steep in some places, but for the most part bare, sheer crag.  The strip of sea between it and the mainland is no wider than a keen eye can traverse.  None the less to cross it, be it through the malice of the winds or of the currents, is a hazardous business for vessels, and totally beyond the…

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June 16, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Books, LIFE, WRITING & LITERATURE |

June 16 (1904) June 16 is the day we commemorate Ulysses, the massive novel by James Joyce (2/2/1882 to 13/1/1941) which turns on events on that day in Dublin. It is structurally based on The Odyssey, a work written a few thousand years ago (Leopold ‘Poldy’ Bloom is Odysseus, or Ulysses in Roman parlance; Marion Bloom is Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus is Telemachus), so that episodes, action (if you can call it action – not a whole lot happens) and characters follow, roughly, Homer’s book.  Psychologically, Joyce adds the modernising shade of Hamlet. For The Varnished Culture, the novel is too big and ragged,…

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