Vale Hong Kong

July 22, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | POLITICS, TRAVEL, Ulalume |

In 1970 Hunter J. Thompson wrote a piece about the great French downhill skier, Jean-Claude Killy.  Trying to make a connection with the rather aloof and private champion, he asked where was the best place he knew. Killy nominated Hong Kong, and when asked why, replied: “Because a friend of mine is head of the police there…and when I go to Hong Kong I can do anything I want.” That is TVC‘s Hong Kong. Having been there at the handover to China in 1997 and visiting again in the early ‘noughties,’ we regret to say we’ve doubts now about ever…

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The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

July 21, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Werner Herzog) (1974) [He did exist: and his back story, true identity, and untimely end remain a mystery. Various suppositions and theories have all been unmasked as absurd.  Be that as it may, the myths around Kaspar offer a useful trope for film-makers. And in the case of Werner Herzog, it inspired his best film (along with Fitzcarraldo). The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser features all of his most infuriating flourishes, yet it manages to move and fascinate. Its a kind of Pygmalion-meets-The Wild Child-and-Bad Boy Bubby, with a dash of Ruprecht-the-Monkey-Boy from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.] It opens with Kaspar,…

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Putin the Fabulist

June 24, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, POLITICS, WW2 |

Best buddies

The National Interest, a magazine self-described as “America’s voice for strategic realism,” published an article, “The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of World War II” by the totalitarian democrat, Vladimir Putin, on 18 June 2020. The link is: https://nationalinterest.org/feature/vladimir-putin-real-lessons-75th-anniversary-world-war-ii-162982?page=0%2C2 Mr Putin states that “the Nazis were defeated first and foremost by the Soviet people…” One can excuse this as an excess of patriotic zeal, perhaps, but we are not sure whether the other countries that hazarded blood and treasure in that effort would choke on their Weeties at Putin’s breathtaking conceit.  Where, for example, was the Soviet Union when…

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All You Need is Love

June 24, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC |

25 June 1967: “All You Need Is Love”, the Beatles’ anthem of peace, was beamed to the World via a global television broadcast from the EMI studios in London. The sheer logistical immensity of the broadcast, coupled with the over-loaded production, gave the song a certain cachet, although it is essentially a condescending, lumpen hymn to an utopian Neverland, with lyrics that are the purest dross.  Yet it lingers, like a piece of old furniture one intends to put out in the hard rubbish but never does, which says something for its unabashed sincerity and heartfelt elements. Perhaps the better…

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The Circus

(Showtime) This documentary (more of a fly-on-the-wall ride-along) looks at the bizarre 2016 primaries and general election in the US. The access to the candidates is terrific, even better than the Pennebaker piece, but you get the sense that whilst Donald Trump kept on winning, his rivals kept attacking the Republican candidate next in line, as they clearly couldn’t accept such an outlier: denial of clear facts over bruised feelings aka derangement syndrome, replicated even after he was endorsed by the GOP and contested the election against Hillary Clinton. The footage is king here; but the analysis is also vastly…

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