Weeknote, Sunday 15 January 2023

This was quite a busy week for work, with many meetings and even a day in London at the new offices (the first time I have visited, and very nice). It was a little bit less of a week for other stuff, apart from reading and watching interesting things.

I think I have a trapped nerve in my back though, which isn’t going away and which is proving to be a bit of an issue as it limits the amount that I can easily walk and stand. The good news is it doesn’t affect cycling – different muscles, different posture – but at some point I have to talk to the doctor about it and probably get to an osteopath. I can tell its a trapped nerve and not muscle strain as, a while after it has kicked in, I get a numb feeling down the front of the thigh on the same side, which is where that set of nerves heads to. The pleasures of getting old.

What I’ve been writing

To be honest I have done more farting around with technology than I have done writing. Something I have to fix in the coming few weeks. I have ideas, but ideas are ten a sodding penny.

What I’ve been watching and reading

This week I dived headlong into watching The Rig on Amazon Prime and it is fair to describe it as poor. Some of the acting was good – Iain Glen and Owen Teale are proper pros – but the plot had so many holes in it it looked like a pure wool jumper in a house full of clothes moths. The CGI was second-rate, despite apparently being quite expensive, probably because every external shot from the rig and of the rig was CGI. It ends on a cliffhanger that’s obviously a desperate attempt to drum up enough interest to make a second series viable, but without ever really making the characters believable enough to care about them. When a writer throws in the Hail Mary pass of making a character pregnant about two-thirds of the way through the series, you know it has reached the point where no one cares about these characters, and they are just throwing the kitchen sink at the page.

My bad reading habit of putting aside one book and starting another (often something I have read before) reappeared this week, when I temporarily dropped Becky Chambers’ A Closed and Common Orbit in favour of picking up M John Harrison’s short story collection Settling the World. The good bit about short story collections is that I race through them quickly. The bad bit is they are like getting all my calories from sugar. Although, to be fair to me, Harrison’s shorts aren’t always easy meat: a story about how embedding an axe into your face becomes fashionable is… well, weird.

The biggest “watch” of the week is Empire of Light, Sam Mendes’ new film, which would be a shoo-in for the Best Picture Oscar in another year. However, because St Steven of Spielberg has released a film which is not only semi-biographical but a love letter to making movies, he will win, and everything else will get consolation prizes.

In this case, those consolation prizes should include a bunch of technical Oscars – the lighting is amazing – as well as Olivia Coleman getting a second one, Micheal Ward getting at least a nomination for best actor, and you can take your pick of Toby Jones and Colin Firth for best supporting actor. Everyone in the supporting cast is excellent. A little shout out to Tom Brooke, who you might recognise from his role in Preacher and who turns in a lovely little performance full of kindness and light.

This is definitely cinema season, with both Tár and Enys Men coming up soon, plus More than Ever. Lots to see.

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