By the time you get this, we will be off on our second team getaway in just over a month. With the potential risk of the Delta Variant (now that’s the title for a seventies SF movie if ever we heard it) threatening to scupper the easement of restrictions, we figured we’d better take the chance while we had it. Therefore, expect a lighter Cut next week.
However, it’s business as usual for now. We’re looking at the joy of the SF ensemble cast, barbecue sauces to die for and how much skill it takes to make a ton of mistakes.
This now here time place yes Cut.
Stylistically, Disney movies can be sorted into several eras, all of which were heralded by new forms of technology. There’s usually a blurring of the edges—for a while CG was used as a way to animate the elements in a scene which would be too difficult to do by hand, like the clock-tower sequence in our favourite, Basil The Great Mouse Detective. Most of the character work then was still very much hand-drawn. The most marked shift in Disney’s style came about in the fifties and was brought about by a much more humble kind of labour-saving device…
Posts on sport are rare here. We have not the knowledge nor, to be brutally honest, the interest. But we were drawn to this piece by England football manager Gareth Southgate as the Euros kick off today. Whatever you think of racism, of Black Lives Matter, of politics in sport… if you’re prepared go to a match and boo the members of your national team before they kick a ball then we wonder what kind of a fan or indeed a patriot you are. We take a knee alongside the lads, and hope they prove the gobshites wrong this month.
The best SF has little to do with science, but chooses an oblique point of view with which to better examine the human condition. Family and a sense of belonging to a unit which supports and loves you is an essential part of that. Is it any wonder we’re so drawn to shows like Star Trek and Firefly, and books like Becky Chamber’s Wayfarers series? Space is a very big place and we all need something and someone to hold on to…
How Science Fiction’s Ensemble Stories Humanize Space
The Book Desk has just closed the covers on Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi and recommends it to The Readership most highly. The latest novel from the author of Jonathon Strange And Mr. Norell is an astonishing work of fiction, a puzzle box rich in rococo detail. It also, as this long interview with The New Yorker makes clear, has resonance to Clarke’s own life and difficult times…
Editor Rob has history in the field of video editing, and still uses those skills in his other existence away from the cluttered, noisy Cut office. He notes:
‘The more things change, the more they stay the same. Clips which used to take dedicated and very expensive editing suites staffed by skilled technicians can now be cut together on a phone with very basic knowledge. This is no bad thing—it shows how at a basic level film-making is story-telling. It doesn’t matter what tools you use as long as you can get that story out of your head and in front of people.’
It takes a lot of skill in a particular discipline to be able to make a deliberate mistake. The comedy pratfall is no accident—it’s a cleverly executed stunt which if done correctly brings the laffs without landing the artist performing it in hospital. As illustration, we present The Mistake Waltz, Jerome Robbins’ clever short dance piece that escalates mis-steps and fumbled cues to hilarious effect.
The Mistake Waltz: Watch the Hilarious Ballet by Legendary Choreographer Jerome Robbins
While we’re on the subject, any excuse to show Les Dawson in full flow. Yes, we’re showing our age.
There is so much to parse in this brilliant Eater article on Black barbecue tradition and the secret sauces which make the food so delicious. Secret recipes chefs will take to the grave with them rather than share? There’s drama for you! Also, we are very down with the notion of the ‘lessipe’—a recipe with one key ingredient or technique missing to throw potential rivals off the scent. Man alive, this is heady stuff!
We still mourn the passing of cook, author and traveller Anthony Bourdain. His work transcended boundaries and his world view was one of acceptance, exploration and the joy of discovery. A bit like The Cut, you might say… David Simon, best known as the creative force behind The Wire and criminally under-rated New Orleans drama Treme offers up this tribute to his fallen friend. We miss him too.
And finally. SF writers are fascinated with the idea of non-human intelligence, from aliens to AI. Perhaps we need to shift our focus when searching for species which could rival us. We already know how playful and clever aquatic creatures like dolphins and octopi can be. But it’s important to keep an eye on the crows. They know more than they’re letting on…
Exit Music this week is delighted to present the very groovy Nancy Sinatra in a clip from an Elvis movie, Speedway. She shows off all the effortless cool which has made her such an icon and the song, written by regular collaborator and serious dude Lee Hazelwood absolutely slaps. Dangerous Minds brings context (and another track from the film which we also urge you to crank up).
See you next Saturday, groovers.