looking forward to the e17 art trail

On Your Marks! At the E17 Art Trail Warm-Up

This will be the first year that I am going to take an active interest in the E17 Art Trail.  This isn’t really a surprise as it is less than a year since I first started gettign more involved in what was going on in and around Walthamstow.  I remember picking up a guide last year, but didn’t really have anyone to go round with – and I was sulking cos my mate had just moved out from the area.  this is actually the 7th year though and I have absolutely no excuse at all for why I haven’t ‘done’ it before!

This year, I have heard so much more about it as I know quite a few people who will be exhibiting and i am really ratehr excited – I have even taken 3 days off of work when I COULD have got someone to look after The Girl on the last days of her summer holidays  if I’d really wanted to!

So, what is the E17 Art Trail? It is an opportunity for local artists (of all types) in Walthamstow to display their work – whether it be within a local business premises or their own home over a period of 10 days. You can read more about it here.  It is amazing what an arty lot of people there are in Walthamstow though – over 1200 artists are displaying their work in this time – from sculptors to painters to photographers to knitters to filmmakers and poets, a real bringing together of all that’s arty!

How amazing is that??

Fabien's gorgeous dog promoting his exhibition - WOOF!

Even more amazing, The Girl is a guest blogger on the offical E17 Art Trail blog, and has made her first post today – proud mum moment 🙂  PLEASE do go and have a look (and comment) – she would love to feel she’s ‘famous’!!

I went along Sunday before last to the warm-up in the town square, where there was the opportunity to pick up a guide and meet some of the artists who were going to be exhibiting.  It was a beautiful day, and Mark Burton (the photographer whose exhibition I went to a couple of months ago) took loads of photos which you can see here (and I am actually one of the ‘people in frames’!).

It is really hard to decide what to go and see – the guide is full of intriguing stuff, and there’s even a fantastic E17 Art Trail App that I’ve downloaded for my phone!  Of course, I will definitely be visiting exhibits by people I know (obviously) – and here is a quick snapshot of those:

limitless – alan glynn

Limitless (or The Dark Fields)

I saw the trailer to the film Limitless some time ago, and thought “Cool – that looks excellent” and then didn’t get a chance to see it at the flicks, so when I saw the book cheap on Kindle (a cool £1) I thought I’d give it a bash.

I didn’t realise that the book had actually been re-released under a different name to tie-in with the film.  The book was originally published in 2001 and was called The Dark Fields.

I have to admit, I was completely drawn in right from the very beginning.

Eddie Spinola is a bit of a noone.  He’s working on a rather dreary book that is part of a wider series, but he’s finding it hard to meet his deadlines.  He is single, living in a small messy apartment and not exactly realising his dreams.  After a chance encounter with his ex brother-in-law he tries a new designer ‘smart’ drug (MDT-48).  This focuses his mind in such a way that anything seems within his grasp (hence the title) – like ‘Viagra for the brain’.   Nothing could have prepared him for what happens next.

The over-riding moral of the story I guess is “Don’t do drugs kids!”, but I couldn’t help reading the whole book thinking “Oh my God – I NEED this stuff.  I need it NOW!”.  The idea of being able ot take a pill that literally spurs you into action without feeling mentally, emotionally or physically drained is just so appealing.  OK, so there were rather tragic side-effects, but the whole point of drugs is that you believe that YOU would be able to control it.  I’d at least like the opportunity to try!

I obviously haven’t seen the film (yet), but I can see why the book was chosen to be made into one – the writing is extremely fast-paced right from the beginning, and draws you into Spinola’s world effortlessly.  It’s not a great literary masterpiece, but it is extremely enthralling, and a real page-turner (or button-stabber in my case).

Would make a great holiday read – but was also fab for the Tube, although I have to admit that I was so engrossed at one stage, that it was only when a cleaner actually got on the train one night that I realised we’d been sitting at Walthamstow for about 3 minutes.  I could’ve ended up on my way back towards Brixton!!

mr 73 – france (2008)

MR 73

This is a rather grisly French cop film starring the always wonderful Daniel Auteuil.

I’ve just found out that it is the third in a trio of films that starts with Gangsters (which I think I have recorded from Cinemoi) and also includes 36 Quai Des Orfevres which is apparently the best, and I have added to my Blockbuster list.

An MR 73 is apparently a type of gun, which is shown in the film and I have since read that it was a revolver issued to the French elite police.

Louis (Daniel Auteuil) is a cop who has rather gone off the rails – his young daughter was killed in an accident, which also left his wife on a ventilator, near enough a vegetable.  This is never really explained in that much depth and I’m now wondering if the accident happens in one of the other films.

He is on the case of a serial killer rapist (some not very nice scenes) but is taken off of the case.  In the meantime, the daughter of a couple that were brutally murdered 25 years previously contacts him as he was one of the first officers on the scene, and her parent’s murderer is about to be released from prison.

The two stories don’t seem to sit very well together, with Louis the only common factor.

However, I did like the film, and am very interested in the other two now that I know of their existence!  the ending, although quite obvious once the scene set in motion, was extremely well-acted, and quite heart-wrenching even though rather gorey.

My rating – 7/10

them – france / romania (2006)


I picked this little film up for the grand price of one english pound from Computer Exchange.

It takes a lot to make me jump, but jump I did during this film.  It did help of course that i got into the spirit of it – turned all the lights out and watched it on my own.  Although the bloke from British Gas did come around while I was watching, and the doorbell going frightened the life out of me!

The story is of a French couple living in Romania, in their dream home – a large, sprawling old house in the middle of nowhere.  One night, they hear sounds outside, and then their car is stolen.  Soon after this, they realise there is something/one actually in the house, and a night of panic and terror commences.

The suspense through the most part of the film is brilliant, which is why it was quite a relief that it is pretty short – just a 77minute running time I believe!

However, I was quite disappointed by the ending.  In the same way as I was disappointed by the ending of the fantastic Rec.  it felt like the last 5 minutes let the rest of the film down.  I’m not exactly comparing it to Rec (which is a masterpiece throughout…apart from the last 5 minutes), but just the feeling of being let down by an ending that could have been SO much better!

It was a good watch though.  I like jumping!  And who can complain for £1??

My rating 7/10

l’appartement – france (1995)


I have had this DVD sitting on the shelf for a couple of years, I think, and for some reason forgot all about it!

I’m kinda embarressed that I’ve never seen this before, as I know that it is a film that epitomises French cinema.  All the elements are included – chain-smoking, male-hugging, brooding looks, casual chic fashion, women friends that always seem on the verge of lesbianism, deep-rooted envy, stalking, devastating misunderstandings and a splash of casual sex.


Vincent Cassel is one of my favourite actors, and it’s great to see him 15 years younger playing Max, a Parisian playboy type who has just decided to settle down and propose to his current girlfriend.  However, a chance encounter sends him chasing after Lisa, the big love of his life.

And who would blame him, as it is the infinitely beautiful Monica Bellucci (who he married in real life a few years later).  All is not as it seems though, and him, Lisa, his friend Lucien, Lucien’s girlfriend Alice and a widower called Daniel become embroiled in a web of lies, intrigue and heartache.

My rating 8.5/10

he loves me, he loves me not – france (2002)

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

All girls like a good chick flick, but this isn’t all that it seems.

The always charming Audrey Tautou plays Angelique, a young art student who is in love with a married doctor – all very French!

However, this is a love story told from two sides.  The first half of the film is shown from Angelique’s point of view.  It focuses on her growing frustration as Loic refuses to leave his wife and starts failing to turn up to see her etc.

Halfway through the film an important event occurs and then we rewind back to the beginning, but this time seeing the story from Loic’s viewpoint – and that is when everything starts to fall into place.

What at first seems to be a well-written love story soon proves to have much more depth, be far more captivating and is far more clever than your average love story.

My rating – 8/10

the wave – germany (2008)

The Wave

This film really explores how fascism and (for example) Nazi Germany have been able to happen.

Rainer Wegner is a liberal and popular high school teacher who has been landed with the task of teaching a project class about autocracy.  Both he and his students aren’t happy about it, so he decides to teach them in the form of an experiment, showing them how easy it is to fall into the easy trap of ‘wanting to belong’.

However, the experiment soon gains a momentum that moves out of his control with some dramatic consequences.

This is a really powerful, dramatic film, with some fantastic acting.  It probably feels even more poignant, being German – I’m not sure whether it would have been the same made in another country.

And that in itself is a contradiction as the book that the film was adapted from (The Wave by Todd Strasser) was based on a real life experiment by a Californian teacher!

This is a brilliant film, with a real ability to grasp how individual personalities work within a group.  An unsettling must-see.

My rating – 9/10

tell no one – france (2006)

Tell No One

I watched this French thriller last weekend, and was really drawn in.

It seems a lot more ‘glossy’ than many French films that I have seen – a bit Hollywood in its execution and production, but the story was intriguing to say the least, and I am now plannign to read the book by Harlan Corben that it is based on.

Alex and his wife Margot are having a romantic night by the lake when she is suddenly attacked, he is knocked unconscious trying to save her, and when he comes round a few days later in hospital, he learns that she was horrifically and brutally murdered.

Eight years later, he receives an email containing CCTV footage of a woman who bears an uncanny resemblence to her, together with the message to ‘Tell noone’.

I personally didn’t guess the real story behind it all, but I’m not sure that’s because I wasn’t paying close enough attention, but that there was no way of guessing.  I don’t think there are clues throughout the film, and so it’s not altogether clever – just something to sit back, enjoy and be entertained by.

Oh yeah, and Kristin Scott-Thomas comes across far better in french than she tends to in English.

My rating – 7/10

timecrimes – spain (2007)


“I had a call from myself just before I left”

When I think of time-travel films, I tend to think of slick, high-budget, special-effect rich offerings, but this Spanish film is completely the opposite.

With a cast of just four, and covering an area not much more than a couple of miles, this is a very simple but intelligent and thought-provoking film.

Hector and his wife have just moved into their new house, and while he is settling in, he looks through his binoculars to survey his new surroundings, and sees a young woman slowly removing her top in the nearby woodland.  He looks again, but she has disappeared, although he thinks he can see other movement.  Intrigued, he goes to investigate and finds himself embroiled in a nightmare.

The plot is intriguing, the sinister deja vu is fantastically crafted – and personally I had to stop thinking too much and just enjoy it, as I kept thinking “But, if he did that then, would that have happened in the future/past?”

My rating:  8/10

alternative? to what?!

Today I watched the video below in which Miranda sawyer (The Observer’s Radio Critic) gives her argument for why BBC 6Music should be saved.

What was the most interesting thing for me in this video (apart from her obviously brilliant and eloquent way of arguing the point – put so much better than my blog post a few weeks ago!) was that she suggests that ‘alternative’ is a mindset that you can’t get out of.

I’ve never really thought of myself as ‘alternative’ before – but I’m thinking perhaps I am in my mind.  It’s not a conscious decision but big Hollywood blockbusters don’t interest me.  I watch a hell of a lot of foreign films (especially J/K-horrors) – in fact I have a couple of French ones to watch this weekend from Blockbuster.  And theatre-wise, I am always more likely to go and watch something a little ‘odd’ at Barbican than go and see something like Cats (which I hated every moment of).  In fact, I would only really consider something like that because I’m taking The Girl or going along with somebody else (eg when i went to see Oliver! back in January).

I guess that also accounts for the fact that the thought of going to Disneyland/world fills me with a sense of absolute dread, makes me feel nauseous and therefore I’ve never really considered it.  Although that could be just because I’d probably stab someone.  Probably someone dressed up as an animal of some type.

Does that make my friends alternative too then?  Do they have to be alternative to like me?  Do THEY have to be alternative for me to like THEM?  Or is everyone alternative to something?

My brain is now confused.

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