19 October 2014

Southward hood ornaments

Half a dozen shining harbingers of automotive luxury, from the collection of the Southward Car Museum on the outskirts of Paraparaumu, taken this afternoon. This sort of motoring garnish fell out of favour with car designers once people realised that they had a habit of impaling pedestrians involved in car accidents.

1935 Packard One-Twenty Sedan

1936 Hispano Suiza K6 Sedan

1930 Bentley 4.5 Litre Tourer

1934 Chevrolet Sedan

1954 Chevrolet 210 Sedan

1930 La Salle 8-Cylinder V Type
See also:
Blog: National Automobile Museum of Tasmania, 7 December 2013
Blog: Omaka Classic Car Collection, 29 January 2012
Blog: Southward Car Museum, 29 June 2009

18 October 2014

A little light blasphemy

(London, 1532. A gathering of merchants discusses civil disorder in the city:)

Humphrey Monmouth says, 'Shall we have our meeting first, and broker marriages later? We are concerned, Master Cromwell, as you must be, as the king must be ... we are all, I think', he looks around, 'we are all, now Bonvisi has left us, friendly to the cause for which our late brother Petyt was, in effect, a martyr, but it is for us to keep the peace, to disassociate ourselves from outbreaks of blasphemy...'

In on city parish last Sunday, at the sacred moment of the elevation of the host, and just as the priest pronounced, 'hoc est enim corpus meum', there was an outbreak of chanting, 'hoc est corpus, hocus pocus'. And in an adjacent parish, at the commemoration of the saints, where the priest requires us to remember our fellowship with the holy martyrs, 'cum Joanne, Stephano, Mathia, Barnaba, Ignatio, Alexandro, Marcellino, Petro...' some person had shouted out, 'and don't forget me and my cousin Kate, and Dick with his cockle-barrel on Leadenhall, and his sister Susan and her little dog Posset'.

He puts his hand over his mouth. 'If Posset needs a lawyer, you know where I am'.

'Master Cromwell,' says a crabbed elder from the Skinners' Company, 'you convened this gathering. Set us an example in gravity'.

- Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall, London, 2009, p.384-5.

16 October 2014

Huge generalisations about women

Dylan Moran, from his 2004 standup DVD Monster: 'I don't want to make any huge generalisations about women - I'm not here to do that. It's vulgar. But all I'll say is that they have no feelings'.

15 October 2014

Elvis in Tupelo '56

'[In the period before his first television appearance on the poorly rated Stage Show, his manager Colonel] Parker became increasingly concerned about some of Presley's unruly stage antics. Although impressed with Elvis, RCA representative Chick Crumpacker also noticed that Elvis 'did some things that were rather outrageous, which had to be curbed later, like belching into the microphone and tossing his chewing gum out to the crowd. He was crude, but it was calculated. He wanted to appeal in that way as well as vocally.' 
- Allen Weiner, Channelling Elvis, 2014 (via Delancey Place)

Here's the chap in question, aged 21 and throwing some serious shapes on the Movietone footage from the Mississippi-Alabama State Fair on 26 September 1956 - just two and a half weeks after his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show (9 September). Predictably, this hometown gig in Tupelo is close to bedlam. Songs in the clip include:

  • Heartbreak Hotel
  • Long Tall Sally
  • I Was The One
  • I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
  • Don't Be Cruel

The Dorsey Brothers' 'Stage Show' mentioned above was actually Presley's first national TV appearance, on 17 March 1956, and by the time of his first Sullivan appearance in September he already had four gold records, but it was the Ed Sullivan appearance that ensured his American dominance. Sullivan didn't actually host the first of his shows on which Elvis appeared, because he was recuperating from a serious car accident. The guest host role went to the lugubrious actor Charles Laughton, who appeared in Ruggles at Red Gap among many other pictures, and who was doubtless well placed to appreciate the vigorous charms of the young superstar in the making.

Also: Chick Crumpacker! What a name.

12 October 2014

150th film of the year

Tonight I watched my 150th film of the year - the 2008 Austrian crime drama Revanche, which I recorded from the usually excellent Maori TV late-night movie slot. It's a taut thriller set in Vienna and the surrounding countryside, and it plays some interesting games with the notion of a perpetrator and a lawman accidentally placed in close proximity after a job goes badly wrong. It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2009 Oscars, but lost out to Yojiro Takita's drama Departures

Racking up a significant milestone in film-watching reminded me that one of the main reasons I've seen so many films this year is the website Letterboxd (sic.), a free New Zealand-made film log website in which you can keep a journal of your film viewing, give your verdict if you like, hold up your favourites for praise or opprobrium, keep a watchlist of films you want to see, and see others' reviews. Using the website has encouraged me to see plenty more films than I would have otherwise; in 2013 I saw around 50 at the cinema, but to date this year I've already seen 62 at the cinema. And I've been filling in a lot of gaps in my viewing of great films from previous decades - this year I watched for the first time classics such as The Godfather Part II, the silent epic Siegfried from 1924, Errol Flynn in Captain Blood, and the tremendous 1938 Katharine Hepburn / Cary Grant farce, Bringing Up Baby.

Having a DVR is handy too - to catch the decent movies broadcast on free-to-air, which are usually on way too late to watch live. Because prime-time is bound to have something on featuring Adam Sandler, right? Although I was very impressed when TV3 played the rather stunning Children of Men earlier in the year, which presumably will have turned off a reasonable number of viewers, but also opened the eyes of a few to a glimpse of something beyond the cookie-cutter mainstream.

I can safely predict that my favourite film of the year so far, Richard Linklater's Boyhood, will feature in my top three films at year's end, and it may well still hold the top spot - it really is that special. But I'm looking forward to plenty more viewing before the year's out, particularly at the Monday night screenings of the Film Society at the Paramount. The Society screening of Gene Kelly in An American in Paris should be a great way to cap off a year's film watching, and there's the definite highlight of Christopher Nolan's new sci-fi epic Interstellar to await. The third Hobbit film might be good too - well, it will be a spectacle, at any rate. Here's hoping Peter Jackson moves on from Middle Earth for good once this one's out though - it was good while it lasted, but there's such a thing as too much Tolkien, even in the film capital of New Zealand.

See also:
Movies: The Last Waltz, 5 October 2014
Movies: Sunset Boulevard, 25 September 2014
Movies: If..., 1 September 2014

...on a good day

Wellington from Tinakori Hill, 12 October 2014