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September 2017

10 Films We've Outgrown (But Were There For Us When We Needed Them)

Grosse Point Blank

We were inspired by this terrific piece on Film School Rejects, discussing the importance of respecting films we've "outgrown". The article points out an unlikely hypocrisy: we uncritically adore our childhood nostalgia, but we're utterly vicious to those films that 'mean something' to us when we're coming of age.

With that in mind, here are ten movies (mostly) that we've outgrown. They were there for us when we needed them, but, um...

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A Tale of Two Khans

Khaaaaaaan by Caspian Whistler

Spoilers ahead for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and S1:E22 of Star Trek the Original Series.

It was the best of Khans, it was the worst of Khans. It was the film that redeemed its predecessor, and the film that tarnished its predecessor. It was the voyage that went where many others had gone before.

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Growing Up On The Ice: Tillie Walden's Spinning

SpinningTillie Walden (A City Inside, The End of Summer) says of her new autobiographical novel, Spinning - covering her teenage years as a figure skater - that "it ended up not being about ice skating at all".

Instead Spinning ends up being one of those rare books that's not particularly about anything, but potentially about almost everything. This quality means that what you get out of this book really does depend on what you bring to it.  In writing about it, therefore, you may end up revealing more about your own preoccupations than you'd really like to.  With that in mind, let’s delve into just what I thought Spinning was all about.

The graphic novel, published by SelfMadeHero, written and drawn by Walden, covers the years of Walden’s life between 12 and 17, the prime teenage years, and so sits firmly into the ‘coming-of-age’ genre. While it is mainly set on or around ice rinks, its first movement features the 12 year old Walden discovering her family is moving from New Jersey to Austin. This unexpected and life-altering change is, I believe, characteristic of much of a child's life. So often children face massive, inexplicable upheavals and go through their lives without control or consent. Coming-of-age stories can be seen as a move from the lack of control a child has, subject to the whims of parents, teachers and (as we see) ice-skating coaches. 

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Fiction: 'Jade City' (Extract) by Fonda Lee

Dragon-jade-from-BM

Even in the shade, sweat trickled down the backs and faces of the year-eight students. Ten of them stood nervously, each behind a short tower of hot bricks. “One more,” said the master, and the assistant year-threes hurried to the fire pit with tongs, carefully but quickly removing bricks from the flames and placing another on top of each of the ten smoldering stacks. One of the waiting year-eights, named Ton, muttered quietly, “Ah, what to choose, pain or failure?”

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Venus is a Man's World (1957)

Venus Transit

Thoughts Before Listening

This radio drama is called ‘Venus is a Man’s World’ or as Illustrious Acquaintance is calling it, “Weenus is a Man’s World LOL Weenus Hahahaha What a Funny Word is The Word Weenus”. I know I’m going to regret this, but I’m also wondering exactly how bad a show called ‘Venus is a Man’s World’ can be. And isn’t it racist or PC culture or something to assume this is going to be bad just because it is called ‘Venus is a Man’s World’? What if this is amazing? Let us find out.

It’s probably going to be really bad tho.

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Sweet Savage Love, Romance and Realism

Sweet Savage Love

I've been reading a lot of vintage romance novels.

Incidentally, you get a lot of very special looks on the Underground when you're reading a well-worn copy of Sweet Savage Love. Especially, I suspect, as a thirty-something dude.  

My romance reading is pretty new, it only started around three years now. What began as curiosity blossomed into, slightly unexpectedly, a genuine passion for the books. That's a metaphor for you. They're a lot of fun, they're culturally interesting, and - I don't want to gloss over the key point here: I really enjoy them.

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The End of the World(s) as We Know It

I'm fascinated by instances where the creators of video games, RPGs, or comics change their worlds. The joy of fantasy is that everything is completely malleable. The history, the politics, the very physics of the universe - all can be changed at the creators' whim.

But what happens to the readers and players who are committed to that world? How do they deal with the upheaval?

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