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  1. Marlowe

    John Wick 3: Parabellum - May 2019

    As someone who could take or leave the first two films, I loved this. The action is impeccable, but it's the humour that I really like in it. There's a knowing silliness to it that is even more pronounced than in the other films. Not to mention Jerome Flynn's hilariously bad cameo. It's about 20 mins too long, but so is every modern action film so I wouldn't hold that against it.
  2. Marlowe

    What books did you read in 2019?

    1. The Finance Curse: How Global Finance is Making Us All Poorer (2018) - Nicholas Shaxson Following his exposé of tax havens in Treasure Islands, Shaxson delves into the world of Big Finance. The central thesis is that despite the headline tax revenues generated by the City of London and other financial centres, when evaluated on a macro level, they are actually a net drain on the economy, and a huge drain at that. We're taken through the costs that Finance's extractive behaviour imposes on consumers and governments, along with the damage wrought by its tendencies to generate unsustainable bubbles in non-productive parts of the economy and starve genuinely productive sectors of much needed investment. The book also tackles the 'competitiveness' agenda and the race to the bottom in corporate tax rates that we've seen in recent years - unsurprisingly, there is no real evidence that these measures actually benefit the countries that adopt them. Like so many of these books, it's strong on the diagnosis, less so on the cure. Shaxson clearly favours much tighter regulation of Finance, from a "saving capitalism from itself" perspective, but there's little discussion of specific measures or any overarching look at credit allocation as a whole and the role of the state vs. the private sector in that process. Overall, it's a decent read with some good insights, but not as substantive as Michael Hudson's books, which I consider the gold standard when it comes to the maladies of the FIRE sector and what we need to do about it. 2. Steppenwolf (1927) - Hermann Hesse First time reading Hesse. You can see why this book was latched onto by the 60s counter-culture scene - there's an isolated outsider protagonist, psychoanalytic elements, music as a recurring theme, drug use, and a surreal hallucinogenic denouement. That really doesn't do it justice though. The Steppenwolf is neither hero or anti-hero, his isolation from society comes more from a place of weakness as it does any actual superiority over it. As the novel goes on, he actually finds liberation and it seems perhaps some salvation in embracing much of the popular culture that he had previously treated with contempt. It's a journey for him from despair to life affirmation in a Nietzschean kind of sense, from passive self-destructive thought to literal dancing. But a journey only made possible by engagement with the Other (the dreamlike women that float into his life at just the opportune moment, Pablo the jazz musician), not from more self-indulgent and circuitous self-reflection. There's the spectre there in the novel of the growing jingoistic sentiment in Germany, and flashes of a society's capacity for violence ready to erupt again. My favourite parts are the long, rambling sections in which Hesse is channeling his own reflections on everything from Mozart to the technology and social implications of the radio. In a passage on the latter he actually comes pretty damn close to anticipating the internet. It's no hippie treatise, what it is is inescapably the work of a tortured and divided and fascinating soul.
  3. Marlowe

    The Man Utd Thread

    Don't hold your breath! Post SAF we've rarely done quick business in the transfer window.
  4. Marlowe

    Brian Eno’s Ambient Works

    Ambient 2 has a special place in my heart. Along with Boards of Canada - Campfire Headphase, it helped get me through so much late night essay writing and a full blown existential crisis at university.
  5. Marlowe

    Nintendo Switch

    I've played an hour of Celeste and haven't really got into it so far. Does it get drastically better?
  6. There's a guy in my office who rants about this show every week now and is very much in the "everything is stupid and makes no sense" school of thought. His criticisms ultimately down to the fact that the pacing has stepped up dramatically in the last couple of seasons and events happen too quickly. I don't think that's a strong criticism at all. I can understand a personal preference for the pacing of the earlier seasons, but you have to evaluate these latest episodes on their own merits. Then there's the character development criticism especially with regard to Daenerys. I really don't see how her character needed any more development than what we've already had across many seasons to make that plot turn consistent and believable. It happening when it did and how it did was a fine balance between being consistent with her character arc while maintaining some shock value. Actual human beings regularly do terrible things in extraordinary situations that are far more incongruous with what people understood their characters to be than what happened in this episode of TV. Aung San Suu Kyi, who someone brought up earlier in the thread, being a perfect example. I should say that GoT has never been one of my favourite shows (I enjoy it, but not on the same level as BB/Better Call Saul, Mad Men, Twin Peaks and other shows), so my point of view probably comes from a place of being less personally invested in it and the characters than a lot of the people who are now upset with it.
  7. Marlowe

    This is the end... Good and bad TV endings

    The way Twin Peaks ended 25 years ago was incredible. The way it ended again 25 years later was somehow even more shocking and perfect.
  8. Marlowe

    Concerts - general discussion and experiences

    I know right! I'm keeping someone else happy though.
  9. Marlowe

    Concerts - general discussion and experiences

    Does anyone want to see Oh Sees at the Albert Hall in Manchester on Saturday night? I've got two etickets, I don't want to go through the hassle of selling them so they can go for free to the first person interested. They're a great live band but I can't go as I'd forgotten it's Eurovision that night and I have an annual Eurovision tradition that I can't miss! Edit: Gone!
  10. Marlowe

    GameCube Appreciation Thread

    So the European launch of the purple box of joy was 16 years ago today. 16 years! That's insane. It's as far apart as the Gamecube was from the launch of the NES. I still vividly remember queueing up at midnight in Game to get my console along with Rogue Leader and THPS3. Added Super Monkey Ball and Burnout shortly afterwards. What a launch line up that was.
  11. Marlowe

    League 1, 2, Non League Football 2018-19 Season

    Thanks! It was a surprisingly comfortable final game in the end considering the stakes. Unfortunately I couldn't make it down to Nuneaton so had to make do with listening on the radio, but still such a great feeling. Best of luck in the play offs. I really don't want to see Salford City make it into the football league so fingers crossed you get to that semi final and do a job on them!
  12. Marlowe

    The Man Utd Thread

    Why is Romero not starting? Ridiculous to keep this faith in De Gea game after game.
  13. Marlowe

    A movie watchers blog

    Dead Ringers (1988) Well this was quite something. Having watched it, I immediately looked at how it was received at the time, and there's Roger Ebert calling it a straight up exploitation film. That really couldn't be further from what it is! Right from the off with the unsettling medieval imagery of the opening titles set against Howard Shore's achingly beautiful theme, it's clear this is going to be an interesting, multi-faceted work. What I didn't expect is how it's all balanced. There's no cheap scares, the body horror is unexpectedly kept to a minimum. In their place there is an unflinching focus on the lead characters, with the film's eerie atmosphere sustained through what we learn of their peculiar relationship and what we imagine them to be capable of. It's horror, but in the psychological/psycho-sexual sense. Jeremy Irons is of course incredible. You know which twin is which in every scene, not from some blatant affectation but from the subtleties in his mannerisms, his tone of voice. Your initial reaction to the characters can't help but be one of disgust, but he manages to make you care about them as much as you fear them. His performance, coupled with the pace of the film and the turns the script takes is masterful in managing your sympathies. It reminds me of Kubrick's Lolita in how brilliantly it elicits both disgust and pity for the protaganists. It's also beautifully shot. Every location is cold, clinical, sterile, conveying the vacuousness of the moneyed world in which the twins move in, and then increasingly as the film wears on, their detachment from reality. The ending is tragic in the proper sense. At the outset you're expecting the exploitation film climax that Ebert mistook it for, with vulnerable women being tortured and killed by the twins in perverse experiments. As the film draws on, you realise there could only ever be one conclusion, and if it's exploitative then we may need to reevaluate the Greek Tragedians. *****
  14. Marlowe

    Football Thread 2018/19

    I want United to win of course. It's a symptom of decline when you care more about other teams not winning things than your own team winning a match, and the local derby at that.
  15. Marlowe

    League 1, 2, Non League Football 2018-19 Season

    An up and down couple of the weeks ends with us being top of the table with 1 game left! Thought we'd blown it losing at Chorley last weekend, but then Spennymoor Chorley happened yesterday! It was 0-0 going into the 80th minute, penalty to Chorley... saved! Then a Spennymoor winner in injury time! Just Nuneaton away on the final day to overcome now. Nuneaton are already relegated, but this being County, I'm not counting on anything yet.

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