Another wet week in Blighty has come to an end, I know they say April Showers but this is more April downpours, come on sunshine. Let’s just hope it isn’t foreshadowing a wet June and another boggy Upton Jazz Festival a la 2012, at least the sports ground isn’t right on the river as Fish Meadow was. Talking of Upton Jazz Festival it does seem that the website has had a substantial make over, https://www.uptonjazz.co.uk/
Talking of Upton I notice there are a few new names to the festival which is always good, though I am somewhat disappointed on the absence of Tipitina from the line up and there are a number of returning bands from various years and some familiar to me from Jazz Club 90. One particular name rings a bell though, “Tad Newton’s Jazz Friends”. Tadd Newton with the West Midlands band John Burnett’s Jazz Bandits who were a regular band at Jazz Club 90 when it was at the Harp. In fact I am fairly certain they were the first Jazz Band I saw at the Harp, although that honour may belong to the Heart of England Jazz Band, I am more than willing to wager my left testicle that it was the Jazz Bandits. Anyway in 2004 John Burnett tragically passed away quite suddenly (in fact it was a week before he had a gig by the Heart of England Jazz Band at the Harp. It was announced after the intermission by John the club runner), and for a while the band continued under Tad’s direction keeping the name Burnett’s Jazz Bandits for about a year, it was then changed to Tad Newton’s Jazz Friends. I believe there was a fall out between Tad and the club runner and they have yet to return to Jazz Club 90, but it’ll be sure nice to see them again after what must be at least 12 years. Other band names I recognise are “Men Behaving Tradly”, Bev Pegg’s Good Time Gang, “The Water Gypsies” and Alan Barnes.
I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of Djangoesque Gypsy Swing looking at some of the other bands alongside some good New Orleans and Chicago Jazz.
I made two trips to the Cinema this week, first time was the see Wes Anderson’s latest movie “Isle of Dogs”, which while being a stopframe animation still carries all of Anderson’s idiosyncrasies such as perfect symmetry in image composition, stories within stories and parables on friendship and pseudo-father figures…. and of course a good deal of humour. While the film is set in and near Japan to me it had more of the air of a Cowboy film, a thought reinforced by the music score which seemed to occasionally allude to the Harmonica motif in “Once Upon a Time in the West”. It is an animated film with a PG certificate but I wouldn’t say it was a family friendly film as I have a feeling a lot it would go above a child’s head.
My second trip was to see Tomb Raider, yup they have rebooted the film franchise based on the game franchise. On the whole films based on computer games tend to be absolute shite, a point hammered home by the original film franchise, so the odds as they would say in the Hunger Games were not exactly in its favour. So is it any good? Well it’s not great but it isn’t exactly terrible either. It’s highly derivative as one might expect but it at least tries to be more then just a Indiana Jones rip off (which is exactly what the original games were if we are honest). There is plenty of humour along the way and there are some good action pieces throughout, the decision to make it an origin story for Lara Croft is perhaps a wise move in some respects but I can’t help think it’d make more sense to have our heroine confident and competent and work backwards. Basically in comparison to Indiana Jones, they have started with the Last Crusade complete with missing Dad plot as opposed to starting with Raiders of the Lost Ark. The final third where Lara and the various antagonists reach the tomb go proper B-Movie and with a floor loaded with traps, an open the door puzzle before the floor disappears and arrival in the tomb where the heroine figures out the true story of the tomb from the hieroglyphics. Like I say it was pretty derivative but it was at least entertainingly derivative, it perhaps should have pushed the genre a bit further and say something new.
I’ve finally polished off the third series of Twin Peaks and while odd as you expect, a lot of the issues with it is that often it is dull and the plods a bit around the middle. However it begins to pick up around episode 13 where it begins to work towards a climax and of course the return of the normal Dale Cooper in episode 16 livens the pace up. The final episode acts as a sort of coda and suggests that Cooper’s attempts to solve the Laura Palmer murder means that once he returns from the black lodge he has travelled into a parallel universe. The series, as with series 2, ends on a cliff-hanger although I have a feeling that this one will not be resolved.