England forever!


From the Times Literary Supplement, this remarkable sentence in Geoffrey Wheatcroft’s review of Christopher Hitchens posthumous book of essays:

Born to a dyspeptic, reactionary naval officer and a mother whose Jewish origins Hitchens only discovered after her tragic suicide, he was educated at a modest public school and Oxford University, where he delightedly embarked on a double life – radical agitation by day, sybaritic lotus-eating by night – which set the tone for the years to come.

I can picture it.

10.[Wes Anderson] became close friends with Owen Wilson because Owen Wilson just suddenly started acting as if they were close friends.
Anderson and his frequent leading man and sometime screenwriting collaborator took a playwriting class together at the University of Texas at Austin, but they didn’t hang out or talk. Then one day Wilson came up to Anderson in the corridor of a building in the English department. “We were signing up for classes and he started asking me to help him figure out what he should do, as if we knew each other. As if we had ever spoken before or knew each other’s names. I almost feel like he was taking it for granted that if we didn’t know each other yet, soon we would.”

(from Matt Zoller Seitz roundup of Wes Anderson trivia he learned writing his book.  Huge soft spot for MZS here at Helytimes from back when he was a heroic drum-banger for The New World) 

(photo stolen from this mess)


I wish SDB were around to talk to me about Hunger Games.  I would definitely be exhausted long before he was even warmed up.

I read 1/2 of the Hunger Games book.  For that half, the book was “better” than the movie because there was much more backstory about Katniss and Peeta.

The book seemed to take place in a real, recognizable world.  I did not feel this way in the movie.  But if the movie were on that level of reality it would be too horrifying to make one billion dollars.

I thought the movie was shot kind of poorly.  The forest never looked awesome enough.  Maybe they should’ve gotten Debra Granik, who directed Winter’s Bone.

My favorite character was the Game Maker.

A complicated villain.

(photo from People Magazine’s website, where it is used to illustrate an article about “Why Wes Bentley’s ‘Hunger Games’ Beard Drew Stares Off Set.” The answer is because “while the beard’s futuristic design certainly fit in with the film’s stylized setting, it was less suited to rural North Carolina, where the cast and crew shot.”)

The Civil Wars

The Civil Wars won the Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and for Best Folk Album of 2012.  I’d never heard of them until then.  I’ll be impressed if you can get through one of their videos without getting massively douched out:

The duo’s web site says that the name of their band, The Civil Wars, and their thematic direction, is best summed up in the lyrics of the song “Poison & Wine”. It is about the good, the bad, and the ugly of married life.