OK. That’s it. This has gone too far. I came home last night to find that a 7-Eleven has opened in my living room.
To put it another way: for the second day in a row I have… work to do. This is a terrible shock to the system. A half-day’s toil from time to time I can handle; some would even say it is morally and spiritually beneficial to include occasional moments of discipline and duty in a life of continuous and leisurely self-indulgence. Mercifully, I have a weekend in which to recover, which is, despite everything, declared open with a few time-wasters for those fortunate enough not to be compelled to labour.
Those with over 1 hour 40 minutes to spare might like S.W.A.L.K. – released outside the UK as Melody, which shouldn’t be on YouTube and probably won’t be there forever. A twee love story between 11-year-olds set in an early-70s London high school might not sound like a must-see, and the fact that it became hugely popular in Japan suggests something to be avoided. But it is interesting, not only to the nostalgic of a certain age or to cinema fans curious to see Alan Parker’s first screenplay.
To me, it’s a British version of The Graduate, and the timing suggests that director Waris Hussein may indeed have been inspired. One parallel is obvious: it is a romance between two young people, opposed by their elders, with the last few minutes (if you must spoil it) almost a homage to the 1967 classic. Second, it has a lot of the zeitgeist, humour and satire of the Mike Nichols film, albeit transposed to a different place and subjects. Not least, many scenes have mood-creating music in place of dialogue. Instead of Simon and Garfunkel, this soundtrack is largely by the (Beatles-esque, pre-disco) Bee Gees. Unlike The Graduate, the British movie has a class angle, with the three main characters coming from distinct socio-economic backgrounds.
A shorter, and starkly different, audio-visual delight comes in the form of Epizootics!. You need to sit and watch and listen – it’s not for people with attention deficit disorder or the otherwise hard-to-mesmerize. The twist is that the music is by Scott Walker, who did schmaltzy classics like You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling in the 60s but is now popular among trendy avant-garde types like Eno – as will become clear.
With China clearly installing itself in the territorial waters of Southeast Asian countries that equally clearly are simply going to have to get used to being doormats, light-hearted, quick and accessible relief comes courtesy of the Song of Patriotic Prejudice by Flanders and Swann.
For the hard of hearing who just want something to look at…
Roll on, 5.00pm or so.