Bunbury, Grouse and Killing Them Softly

1 12 2012

I had a really awesome day today. Bunburying.

I recently made my first ever purchase through Craigslist. It was a Black & White enlarger. There seems to be a glut of them at the moment… can’t think why! I’d made an offer on one a few weeks ago, but the bloke was asking an unreasonable amount. I got this (plus a few assorted bits and bobs) for $75. The thing is – though it works perfectly – it’s a late ’70s model. Czechoslovakian.

Mypota Axomat II

Meopta Axomat II

Most of the options on Craigslist were. What happened to all the Paterson models I used to have in the UK? All the add-ons are Paterson’s, but none of the enlargers that were on offer. They’re almost all Czechoslovakian… from the ’70s!

Anyway, I spent much of the day having great fun whilst trying to track down B&W photographic paper (Ilford) and the necessary chemicals to develop it. It’s like finding rocking-horse shit!

Now I freely admit that part of the attraction of getting back into analogue photography (and B&W to boot!) is because nobody else wants to any more. It’s become a fringe activity, and therefore prime QE material. I was largely successful today though, and perhaps tomorrow will see me developing my first photos in 15+ years. Ironically, the only way of sharing the results with you, dear reader, would be to digitally scan them for you! :). Oh how the world turns…

I finished off the day by using my annual pass to visit Grouse Mountain. I wanted to see if there was enough snow yet to go snow-shoeing. Technically there was (a few brave souls HAD), but not for me. It was actually raining, a cloud was trying to devour the lodge (it sneaked its way in whenever anyone opened a door to the “lack-of-viewing deck”), and it was just down-right unpleasant. My exceedingly good friend Bunbury, I have no doubt whatsoever, would have complained about the inclemency and immediately retreated inside for a hot tea and pain au chocolat.

Once home, I managed to squeeze in a trip to the cinema to see Brad Pitt‘s latest offering: Killing them Softly. I’d seen it advertised in the trailers for the latest Bond film, and it looked interesting. I loved it. Mrs E almost fell asleep, and hated it. The thing is… you had to think! We’ve become used to being spoon fed with totally transparent stories that are consumed exactly as they’re offered. This film is a political allegory. Though purportedly about gangland enforcers and “cleaning up” after an internal robbery… it’s actually about the good ol’ US of A.

Pitt’s character has the closing line in the film: “America’s not a country. It’s just a business. Now fuckin’ pay me.”

If the rest of the film had left you in any doubt of the allegorical nature, this laid it plain and bare.

Pictures & Photos from Killing Them Softly – IMDb.

The continuity is a bit hit and miss in places (check for the mysterious case of the vanishing ice lolly and the self-renewing beer glass), and I do have to say that the pace is a little slow. However, the continual Obama/Bush presence in the background TVs and radios keeps hinting at the underlying message of the film throughout, and it’s easy to think of national-scale parallels to the story being shown. There’s some really technically clever scenes with flying glass, rain drops, blood, etc, but the violence in places is a little over the top and unnecessary. Point made – why keep going on? See Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels for a contrast, where Vinnie Jones leaves you with the feeling that you’ve seen someone being brutally killed by having their head slammed repeatedly in a car door… until you realise you saw absolutely nothing! You made it all up…

Don’t go and watch it if you’re looking for action or to just turn off your brain. But if you’re looking for a cheeky comment on what the US has become… go. Leave your preconceptions at the popcorn stand, and listen to the message…

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