(Back Home Again in) Shropshire

It has been a fairly pedestrian week or so, even by lockdown standards so I haven’t had very much to say.

I have been watching a lot of the Jazz livestreams that have been popping up on Facebook which happily over the bank holiday weekend had a number of full bands as well as solo performances which was nice, details of the last two weeks streams can be found here and here. All the shows can be rewatched for free, though I shall warn you that the Joe Webb session celebrating Lester Young suffers from technical issues on the first couple of numbers but these are sorted at the 29 min mark and the missed tunes are repeated at the end.

Heather and I have gone on some nice walks, we took Missy-Dog around Haughmond Hill where we got mobbed by quartet of dogs in football jerseys which was a tad different. We also took her mum’s dog Cinnamon up Nescliff and to my surprise not only did Cinny let me stroke her, she also sat on my lap and demanded that I tickle her belly. Normally all she does is growl at me unless I have chicken to feed her, so this warranted a little victory dance.

I have recently watched the doppelganger themed horror movie “Us” from 2017 which was written and directed by Jordan Peele who would go on to produce the recent revival of the Twilight Zone, and this film very much is a sort of audition. This is a more cerebral movie the a lot of modern horror films and relies more on atmosphere and tension rather then jump scares to tell its story and is all the better for it. The film starts with a young girl seeing her double in a boardwalk Hall of Mirrors and then we cut to her as an adult and she is pursued by doubles of her entire family who want to take their pace in the world and live in their place. The idea is that there is a whole society of doubles living below ground who after seeing the girl in the hall of mirrors want to rise to the surface. My main criticism is that there is an overlong sequence of the family fighting the doubles of another family which could well easily been left out or tightened up in the edit. In best Twilight Zone tradition there is a twist at the end which is the ideal sort of twist, it is obvious but only obvious once revealed and it won’t diminish the film on repeated viewings.

Friday I watched the new Pixar movie “Soul” because I am clearly a mature sensible adult male, and also because Jazz is a primary feature of the film. It is very good and has plenty of material to keep both adults and kids entertained, storywise it is more akin to “Inside Out” as opposed to “Toy Story” or “Cars” as it deals with concepts of life and death. This might seem a bit heavy for a children’s film but don’t worry, a good chuck of the film has the main character inhabiting the body of a cat which is a nice in joke for adult viewers as well, what with the main character being a music teacher come budding Jazz musician. As it is very new, I won’t reveal anymore except that you should keep an ear out for a subtle inclusion of Mingus’s “Haitian Fight Song” in the soundtrack. 100% recommended.

I have finished “Family Matters” and it kind of fell flat and the end with much of the final 60 pages having the the previous 190 summed up in court proceedings and giving a very detailed description of the courtroom. The story doesn’t really go anywhere and there are no real consequences to any of the characters except for the deceased and he’s was a damp squib of a character anyway. In short, a very disappointing read. My next book on the reading pile is from the reliable pen of James M Cain: Mildred Pierce.

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