Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Seen and heard March 2015

Dreamfallvideo playthrough of the game. I wanted to remind myself of the details of the story, and all the loose ends left unresolved, before going any further with the new sequel Dreamfall Chapters, of which the latest installment is just out. Handy that some people have published videos of their own playthroughs, because I didn't fancy replaying it myself: there were some unpleasantly tricky fighting and stealth sections which I found very hard to get past the first time. I still like it, but the dialogue feels flabby by comparison with The Longest Journey, the original from which this was a spin-off sequel. TLJ, dating from 1999 and released originally on multiple CDs, was designed within the technical limitations of the time, forcing the writers to be tighter and more focused. Sometimes constraints can be a good thing and more memory isn't necessarily a benefit.

The Adjustment Bureau - watched again on DVD, gaining pleasure on every viewing. The 1950s governmental -style suits and architecture of the Bureau's officers and offices looks great, and Emily Blunt is totally convincing as the effervescent dancer with whom Matt Damon's aspiring politician falls in love and for whom is willing to risk everything. I wonder what the original Philip K. Dick short story is like; the updating to the 2010s technology, society and politics must have taken some effort, but it works perfectly.

Neil Gaiman: Douglas Adams memorial lecture for Save the Rhino – which I watched because of Douglas Adams’ reported views on eBooks (how printed books would survive because they’re so good at what they do), but enjoyed most in the end for Neil Gaiman’s cheerful celebration of his friend’s life and thought (and also the life and thought of Terry Pratchett, who died shortly after the lecture was given), seeing his immortality in the enduring value of his stories and jokes for helping us to live in the world.

Canaletto: Celebrating Britain – exhibition at Compton Verney art gallery. Unexpectedly interesting, because the story of Canaletto in Britain turned out to be a microcosm of British history in the Georgian era: the rise of British trade and military power to world domination all visible in his paintings of London. Following the broader historical theme, on getting home, we were moved to watch from our video collection TV programmes on the music of Handel and the building of Bath, by David Starkey and Dan Cruickshank respectively.

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