Thursday, January 20, 2005

Hayao Miyazaki

There's a great article in the New Yorker (17-jan-2005) about Miyazaki. I have watched Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service many times, and I am happy to watch them any time. I think these are the best movies for young children ever made. I didn't like Spirited Away so much, but I have only seen it once. Some extracts from the New Yorker article: In a 1993 televised discussion between Miyazaki and Akira Kurosawa, Kurosawa mentioned how much he admired the sweetly surreal cat bus (in Totoro). Toshio Suzuki: "When silents moved to talkies, Chaplin held out the longest. When black-and-white went to color, Kurosawa held out the longest. Miyazaki feels he should be the longest when it comes to computer animation" Miyazaki: "I like Ireland, though, the countryside there. Dublin has too many yuppies, computer types, but I like the countryside, becasue it's poorer than England" John Lasseter says that when the animators at Pixar get stuck on a project they watch a Miyazaki film.

For the in-house theatre, which shows short films that he makes especially for the museum (including a sequel to “My Neighbor Totoro”), he hired an acoustic designer to create an uncommonly gentle sound system. Miyazaki wanted the opposite of the “tendency in recent Hollywood films,” which is “to use heavy bass to try to pull the audience into the film.” He thinks that movie theatres can be claustrophobic, even overwhelming places for young children, so he wanted his theatre to have windows that let in some natural light, bench-style seats that a child can’t sink into, and films that make them “sigh in relaxation.” Miyazaki fondly remembered the days when cigarette smoke in a theatre could draw your attention to the beam of light stretching from the projector, so he placed the pro­jector in a glass booth that protrudes into the seating area. “I want to show children that moving images are enjoyed by having huge reels revolving, an electric light shin­ing on the film, and a lot of complicated things being done,” he explains in the mu­seum’s catalogue. Colleagues told him that projecting the films digitally would help preserve them, but Miyazaki relished the idea that, eventually, viewers might see “worn film with ‘falling-rain’ scratches on the screen.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Ramotswe on existentialism

Mma Ramotswe had listened to a World Service broadcast on her radio one day which had simply taken her breath away. It was about philosophers who called themselves existentialists and who, as far as Mma Ramotswe could ascertain, lived in France. These French people said that you should live in a way which made you feel real, and that the real thing to do was the right thing too. Mma Ramotswe had listened in astonishment. You did not have to go to France to meet existentialists, she reflected; there were many existentialists right here in Botswana. Note Mokoti, for example. She had been married to an existentialist herself, without even knowing it. Note, that selfish man who never once put himself out for another—not even for his wife—would have approved of existentialists, and they of him. It was very existentialist, perhaps, to go out to bars every night while your pregnant wife stayed at home, and even more existentialist to go off with girls—young existentialist girls—you met in bars. It was a good life being an existentialist, although not too good for all the other, nonexistentialist people around one.

Friday, January 07, 2005

2004 releases that were most played in 2004

My album of the year was Thunder Lighning Strike by the Go! Team. Apart from that, my most played tracks that were released in 2004 (according to ITunes) were (in order) as follows: You have to scroll down a long way (weird blogger bug) ... [update December 2005: fixed]

Track Artist Source
Comfortably Numb Scissor Sisters Scissor Sisters
Munich Air Disaster 1958 Morrissey Irish Blood, English Heart - EP
First Of The Gang To Die Morrissey You Are The Quarry
Cinnamon Girl Prince Musicology
Darts Of Pleasure Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand
99 Problems Jay-Z & Beatles & DJ Danger Mouse The Grey Album
It's Hard to Walk Tall, When You're Small Morrissey Irish Blood, English Heart - EP
The Never Played Symphonies Morrissey Irish Blood, English Heart - EP
If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind Agnetha Faltskog My Colouring Book
Come Home Billy Bird The Divine Comedy Absent Friends
Teenage Dad on His Estate Morrissey First of the Gang to Die - EP
It's a Pose Nellie McKay Get Away from Me
Inner Peace Nellie McKay Get Away from Me
Who the fuck PJ Harvey Uh Huh Her
No Child Of Mine PJ Harvey Uh Huh Her
Laura Scissor Sisters Scissor Sisters
It Cant Come Quickly Enough Scissor Sisters Scissor Sisters
Can't Stand Me Now The Libertines The Libertines
Uraqt (Diplo Mix) M.I.A. Piracy Funds Terrorism Volume 1
America Is Not The World Morrissey You Are The Quarry
She Wants To Move N.E.R.D She_Wants_To_Move-(Promo_CDS)
Don't Let Him Waste Your Time Nancy Sinatra Nancy Sinatra
The Slow Drug PJ Harvey Uh Huh Her
Cat On The Wall PJ Harvey Uh Huh Her
Music Is The Victim Scissor Sisters Scissor Sisters
If I had to guess what I listened to I would also have mentioned The College Dropout by Kanye West and A Grand Don't Come For Free by The Streets. And Bjork. And Liz Phair was 2003. But this was what I really listened to. You can't argue with the data.