#27: 30 classic films: 3 down, 27 to go

It would have been better to make headway on this challenge in the winter; now the clocks have gone forward and I’m no longer getting up at 5am for my job, I can feel the call of London nightlife grow louder.

1. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

The opening sequence of this film hasn’t dated at all. There’s something clean and modernist about the block colours and the silhouette horses running across the screen.

As someone who loved earlier Westerns like High Noon and Stagecoach as a child, it took me a while to get used to the long, slow shots and lack of dialogue for the first five minutes. Also everyone looked blatantly Italian and it was hard to remember we weren’t in Sicily. But why shouldn’t they look Italian? If the characters in earlier Westerns look more northern European (ie blonde haired and blue-eyed) that probably says more about Hollywood than it does about the immigrant population of the Wild West. Continue reading

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Jazz freestyling, Chinese art, urban greenhouse and The Artist: In praise of the Barbican Centre

Where can you get live improvisation from Soweto Kinch, a Chinese art installation, a tropical garden and The Artist all under one roof? In the Barbican of course.

I’ve been going to The Barbican Centre since before I could walk – literally. On rainy days my parents used to take us to the sprawling concrete complex to let off steam. I’ve seen everything there from Tony Allen to Matthew Herbert and a full choir making percussion with copies of the Daily Mail to interpretive dance. I even performed with school in the foyer once (electric guitar and cello since you ask).

What better place to seek some culture and hide from the pouring rain and howling wind then? Soweto Kinch was first in the foyer – an amazing saxophonist as well as MC and producer. He asked the audience to write words they associate with London onto cards and drop them Continue reading