Five delights of the moment, 070609 edition
– There are at least three standout tracks on LCD Soundsystem’s latest (“Someone Great” and “New York I Love You” being the others), but it’s the nasally locomotive snarkrush of “North American Scum” which supplied the internal soundtrack to my recent travels through various mime-ridden nations.
– Speaking of which. I picked up Farshid Moussavi and Michael Kubo’s standout The Function of Ornament at the equally wonderful La Hune bookstore in Paris. The book’s an illustrated taxonomy of building envelopes, and also quite a bit more than that; I set about writing a description of it, but found that the commentary already offered here surpassed in depth and insight everything I had been able to say. Rate this one a “strong buy.”
– Dan Hill’s Postopolis roundup on City of Sound. But for the evident physical discomfort occasioned by the Storefront sweatbox – mentioned without exception by everyone who was there – I’m kicking myself for being out of town, because it’s obvious I missed something really special. Kudos at one remove to Geoff and the other organizers.
– I finally caught The Lives of Others on the flight back from Seoul – in fact, I had to watch it twice, because United’s execrably obsolete video system cut out at literally the pivotal moment, first time around. The film itself I found surprisingly schematic and predictable, carried on the wings of some nifty acting, and redeemed by its final line. But then there’s the look. Oh, the look. “Ostalgie” doesn’t begin to capture it. Is it wrong if the primary emotion I carried away from the film was the desire to live in Wiesler the Stasi Hauptmann’s apartment?
– Similar emotions on finally getting to see Jacques Tati‘s legendary Playtime, in the gorgeous Criterion Collection reissue, viz. the desire to crawl into the film and take up residence there. Perverse, I know, since Tati was sending up the various foibles of the High Modernist city he called into being…but it reads as temptation to me, mmmm, from the flight bags to the boxy little cars to the endless planes of glass. The color tone, too, all cool bluegreys and greygreens: yes and again yes. (Do these last two items imply that my aesthetic sense is better developed than my ethical one? Hmm.)