Recommending…Every Frame a Painting

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Anyone with even a passing interest in film should check out Every Frame a Painting, a YouTube channel set out like a university course with sort of video lessons, but much less dull than that sounds. Each episode focuses on a different part of the film-making process, or maybe a specific director and their style, it’s all very short and simple to follow, and cut with loads of film clips to make the videos both fascinating and entertaining. Unbelievable news.

Some favourite episodes include this episode on how the best visual comedy is created (includes a cracking explanation of why British comedies rule over their American cousins), or this one about Chuck Jones, the legendary Looney Tunes artist.

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Recommendations in brief…January

Luckily there were some things to enjoy this month to distract us from the impending end of the world as we know it…

Every few years a film comes out with such a torrent of euphoria that it’s hard to actually sit and enjoy without the pressure of watching the-film-that-everyone-loves. However I thought (unlike King’s Speech and The Artist) La La Land does just about do itself justice. It’s very good fun, has some superb musical set pieces, and enough depth/plot to prevent it slipping into tweeness or cringeworthy American shmaltz. There’ll be a backlash at some point but I say ignore it.

Tickets went on general sale last week for political historical rap musical theatre show HamiltonI’ll post up a review when I’m grey and old, having secured tickets for some time in 2018.

Last week was the 75th Anniversary of Desert Island Discs which was marked by 2 hour special show with highlights from the archive and some clips from previously lost interviews. Hosted, as ever, by the dreamy voice of everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure, Kirsty Young (no? just me..?), it was BBC documentary-making at its best. Also while you’re there, I thoroughly recommend checking out Gareth Malone‘s from back in December.

This month I finished Book 1 of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s ‘My Struggle’ series. It’s apparently an autobiography, but Knausgaard’s memory for detail makes it read just like any novel. I loved Knausgaard’s ability to find the tiny nuances and small moments in life that make us act the way we do, the things you would normally completely overlook, identify them and describe them so well. But while I didn’t quite have the same instant love for the entire book as many of the rave reviewers, I will definitely try the next one in the series.

Finally, this article popped up in my Twitter feed at some point this month. Makes you wonder a) how good would it be to be this bloody amazing at piano?! But then b) how good would it be to be this good at piano criticism?!

Recommending…RAM Album Club

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The concept of Ruth and Martin’s Album Club is this: each week, a famous guest listens to an iconic album they’ve never heard before, and writes a review of it.

Contributors have included the likes of JK Rowling, Chris Addison, Ian Rankin and Al Murray, listening to legendary albums from Bob Dylan, Madonna or Elvis Presley for the first time.

With contributors like that, the album reviews were already bound to be fascinating and entertaining in themselves, however what really marks the brilliance of RAM Album Club is the introductions written by the host, Martin Fitzgerald. His writing is just so good. He manages to be entertaining, very very funny, whilst also somehow managing to uncover fascinating and unique insights into the albums, the story of the artists, or how the music was made. Try out The Beatles edition for size – see link below – then go from there.

Links:

One of my favourite editions – Help! by The Beatles (guest listener Stephen Bush)

Homepage of Ruth & Martin’s Album Club with the archive of posts