Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Two Lois Weber silent films, live

A rare treat for Mr Robot and I last night: we went to see two silent films at Chapel Arts in Bath, as part of the Bath film festival. We saw The Blot (all the photos accompanying this post are from that) and Suspense, both directed by Lois Weber, one of the earliest and greatest female film directors. It's not the only silent film showing for the festival, as Pandora's Box, Louise Brooks' most iconic film, is being shown tonight, but Pandora's Box is so popular I know I'll get other chances to see it on the big screen, whereas I can't say the same for Weber's films.

Monday, 5 November 2018

The retro style of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Given it was aimed at young people in the late 90s/early noughties, I'm guessing most people who read the Robot won't have watched Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I never really did - caught the odd episode here and there, but I was probably a good decade older than the target audience. Netflix has turned the old Sabrina the Teenage Witch comic books into a TV series again, and while I'm probably definitely too old to be the target audience, I really enjoyed them. Called The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, it's darker and more complex than the older series.

"C'mon Mim," you're saying, "The original comics might have started in the 1970s but is this really an appropriate topic for the Robot?"

Well, yes, actually, because one thing that really struck me is how the programme's designers have used retro styles and elements to create a strange not-modern-but-modern world.
Aunts Hilda and Zelda – Zelda channels a 1940s femme fatale.
No single element is authentically vintage styled, yet there's very little that feels utterly 21st century. Sabrina Spellman's vampish Aunt Zelda, with her Veronica Lake waves, heavy metal jewellery and slinky dresses, is a film noir femme fatale. (Quite literally fatale as she's prone to killing and resurrecting her sister.) Aunt Hilda, scatty and constantly making preserves, is a curious sort of midcentury housewife, with Yoothalicious blue eyeshadow and baby pink lipstick. You know instinctively that Zelda is the older and more dangerous, because of the vintage tropes the designers are playing with.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

The dress of dreams

We got our annual bonus at work last payday, and while I was sensible with a chunk of it, putting it in savings, and bought presents with some of the rest (work gets hectic in the run-up to Christmas so I like to prepare things early), I already had a good idea what I'd be treating myself to: the Evelyn dress in ebony crepe from House Of Foxy. Yesterday it went up on their site (I knew it was in the works thanks to their Instagram feed) and this morning I ordered one.


Thursday, 25 October 2018

Pan-tastic!

Three volumes of The Pan Book of Horror Stories
Here's one to delight anyone who likes something spooky at this time of year (and if you don't, October is really not the month to be reading this blog because I love it): all next week – from Monday 29 October – BBC Radio 4 is going to be broadcasting stories from The Second Pan Book Of Horror Stories in its 15-Minute Drama slot at 10:45 am, repeated 7:45pm. There's also an omnibus of all five on Radio 4 Extra the following Saturday at 1pm.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Caro Emerald in concert

Caro Emerald live at the Forum, Bath, October 2018
Yes, I'm back! Did you miss me? (Don't answer that…) It's been a funny few weeks, and one of my magazines has been closed which made me pretty sad. When you create things, it's hard to accept they're not a commercial success, but people simply don't buy as many mags nowadays and I can see the business side of the argument. But last night Mr Robot took me to see Caro Emerald in concert in Bath, and that would cheer anyone up.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Bloofer Lady: Winona Ryder

 I'm dragging us into the 1980s and even *whispers* the 1990s for this year's spooktacular saucepot. She's still acting, of course; Stranger Things, in which she plays an uncharacteristically dowdy single mother, is a massive hit. But I want to salute the Winona we first knew, the one so many girls wanted to be, the Winona of Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and Bram Stoker's Dracula, who dated movie stars and rock singers and wore a slip dress better than anyone before or since (and yeah, that includes Kate Moss).

Monday, 17 September 2018

Been to That London

The Liberty store, LondonSaturday saw me off to London again, to visit my friend Sam once more. Because we're about to go into my busy period at work, I probably won't see her now until the New Year. Of course, the British railways being what they are, I was sensible and pre-booked a ticket to get it cheap... and then the staff on that part of the network (South West Trains) decided to have a day's strike, so I had to get my money back and book a more expensive one with Great Western. And because part of the South West network wasn't running, everyone had to use the same route, which meant the train was heaving and I had to stand all the way to London.

I have travelled on trains in Europe, I have travelled on trains in Asia, and British trains are the worst. By far the most expensive, and definitely the least reliable.

Anyway, I got there.